Do You Really Know Your Customer? What You Need to Know Before Preparing Your Annual Plan

It’s the start of a new year which means it’s time to start putting together your annual plan for your business. But before you can do that, there is one important question you need to ask: How well do I know my customer? If you only have a vague answer to this question, it’s time to stop and get a clear picture of who your customer is so that you can better create a plan that focuses on how you can best serve your customer.


Without a clear customer profile, your marketing efforts are going to fall short of the mark. That means you are missing out on the chance to create strong, long-lasting relationships with your customers. Knowing your customers really well gives you the opportunity to engage more and build a bond that lasts long after your initial transaction is complete.


Want to start discovering more about your customers so that you can create a plan with more impact for the year? Here is what you should be doing:


Create a customer profile


Do you have the basic demographics of your target customer, including age range, employment background, education, socioeconomic status, and shopping behavior? Who are the people that will benefit the most from your business’s products and services? Having a clear picture of your target customer makes it easier to shape your marketing plans to make sure they hit the right mark and don’t fall flat. Revisit this profile each year to note any changes based on who has been a customer this year.


Never assume


What worked for you last year may not be the right plan for this year. Always revisit your annual plan and take a closer look at your customers from one year to the next. The people using your products and services change as often as advertising campaigns so don’t assume that your customers are the same every year. Spend time getting to know your customer base each year so that you are prepared to shape your plan around them.


Make social media one of your required tools


If your business does not already maintain an active presence on social media, it’s time to get started. Every market out there makes connections with their customers through social media channels. Do your research to find out where most of your customers spend their time online and set up a profile there. Spend time making contact on platforms like Facebook and Twitter and you will soon get a better understanding of your customers, what they like and don’t like, how they feel about your products, and where they see room for improvement. This is all valuable feedback about your customer that helps businesses grow.


Talk to the customer directly


Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Most customers are happy to provide feedback because it makes them feel like a valued part of your business. Ask them what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong. Ask them why. Ask them how you can improve their experience.


Look for honest reviews


Many businesses are reviewed on sites like Yelp, Google, and even your company Facebook page. If you haven’t done it yet, get online and see what your customers are saying about you. They might not all be good reviews, but you can still make use of the bad. This is where you learn what customers want, what they liked and disliked about their interaction with your company. Not seeing any reviews? Ask your customers to write some honest reviews for you online. Some businesses offer incentives such as discounts for customers who submit reviews online, so this may be something to consider.


There are so many ways to get to know your customer better. When you have a clear picture of your customer, it is easier for you to create a business plan that aids in creating stronger connections and helps you better serve those customers.

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