Leveraging your Relationships with Clients
Good consumer insights start with getting to know your audience. As an independent service provider you may not have a team of data scientists at your beck-and-call, but you have something better - a personal relationship with each and every one of your clients.
So how can you leverage that relationship to improve your branding, marketing and product offerings?
Get to know your clients on a personal level - what they like and dislike; where they hangout in real life and online; what kinds of products and technologies they consume. Get to know them on a professional level - what are their goals; how did they hear about your service; why did they choose you. Additionally, when you have successfully completed working with a client, conduct and "exit interview." Ask what they liked about your service, what you could improve on, or even just for general feedback. If someone seeks to discontinue your relationship or chooses to go with a different service provider, ask them why, or if you could have done something differently. When you have managed to gather enough information you can start building user personas, a tool used to represent a certain subsection of your audience and journey maps, which help you identify audience pain point and new opportunities. (I will be writing more about these tools in future posts but there is a lot of great information available online if you want to get started.) These tools help you visualise your customer base and target your business strategy to the real needs of your audience. We tend to make a lot of assumptions about who our audience is and what they want based on our own experiences and perceptions. When we gather evidence and piece together the full puzzle we are able to make targeted decisions based on our customers' actual needs.