What Users Need: Filtering User Needs During Customer Discovery
Aligning a digital marketing strategy to deliver customer journey milestones will not only help your brand edge out competitors, but it will also improve the lifetime value and loyalty of your customers.
Customer discovery models are often built for start-ups and entrepreneurs, but it’s an important part of a content strategy for established B2B and enterprise-level businesses as well.
A Forbes article states, “Customer Discovery simply begins with gaining empathy — that is, developing a deep understanding of a customer’s needs and motivations.”
Uncovering these needs and motivations and using the information to guide the content strategy will ensure that prospects not only find your website, but it will also prompt them to interact with your brand, take the next step, and move into the sales funnel.
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Customer Discovery & Social Media
Internet marketing is an equal-opportunity success machine for today’s brands. Social media is part of this machine – it gives brands a chance to promote surveys and gather data from a targeted audience.
Consumer Products and Services: A Facebook Survey
Paid Facebook ads offer an affordable, far-reaching opportunity for B2C brands to promote their survey to people who meet specific demographic criteria. A 2017 social media survey shows that Facebook has 1.9 billion unique users per month, making the channel difficult to ignore.
Snapchat or Facebook?
While Facebook leads in regard to number of users, Snapchat may top Facebook for engagement and fun factor (Search Engine Watch). Snapchat now allows links, giving brands the opportunity to link to a customer discovery survey.
B2B Customer Discovery: LinkedIn
It’s no secret – LinkedIn is the channel of choice for B2B targets. The best part? Several people from your company can post the survey on their feed, attracting attention from industry connections and the target market.
The Survey: Thoughtful Design
Survey Monkey provides in-depth survey creation tips and best practices for mapping the customer journey. Some highlights and takeaways from Survey Monkey:
- Create a Before, During, and After Survey. Connect with customers before the sale or conversion (social media survey), during the sale or conversion (from the customer service team), and after the sale or conversion (follow-up email or newsletter).
- Questions and Obstacles. Customer journey mapping focuses heavily on actions and motivations, overlooking two valuable touchpoints – questions and obstacles. Identify key questions and obstacles in the customer journey and create content for each one.
Customer Discovery & Online Communities
Did you know that the inspiration behind Etsy was born of discussions between creatives who voiced an overwhelming consensus on the need for an alternative to Ebay?
Etsy was created by using comments and discussions from their target market – crafters (i.e. customer discovery data), and creating the exact service that potential customers were after.
Online communities are available in almost every niche and space. If you sign up with the intent on asking questions or posting a link to your survey (if the guidelines allow), be sure to follow standard community guidelines and give helpful contributions before you ask for feedback.
- Active Rain – Forum for realtors and mortgage professionals
- Automotive Forum
- City-Data Forum – Known as a relocation forum, the site also has general topics. City-Data has been active and growing since 2003.
- Career Forum at Indeed.com
- Health Forums
- LinkedIn Groups – Your competitors are probably in these groups as well, proceed with caution
- Motherhood and Parenting forums
- Quora.com – Search for discussions by topic or create your own
Customer Discovery Data from Website Interactions
Customer journey website tracking is available through a variety of tools with free and paid options. Interactions can be tracked from the first visit through the conversion, return visits and retention behavior, and lifetime value. Even better – access to granular user data helps you identify and filter user needs.
Before setting up KPIs and Analytics, do a bit of brainstorming to ensure you’ve identified the correct discovery points.
Customer Discovery Website Research – Brainstorm
- Identify customer problems and solutions. What are the main customer problems? Where does the customer go on the website to get solutions?
- Identify and define personas that are involved in solving or finding answers to the problem, and align keywords to each persona.
- Identify features and/or benefits that will help the customer move forward and continue in the sales funnel and align keywords to each stage.
- Competitor research: How will customers identify your brand product or service among competitors? What’s the unique feature? How do customers react when presented with this unique feature?
- New customers vs. Retention customers: Separate new customers from existing customers who are making additional purchases and set up website content for both types.
- In the B2B space, multiple decision makers are often involved, and a decision isn’t likely if the gatekeepers won’t share the information or the influencers aren’t aware of the product or service. Identify gatekeepers, influencers, and decision makers, corresponding personas, and content that speaks to each person involved in the process.
- Validation and demand. When customers are validated in their search for a product or service, what types of messages reinforce these feelings and keep the demand in place?
Once your customer journey brainstorming session is complete, it’s time to identify keywords and KPIs to set up proper tracking.
Internet marketing is an equal-opportunity success machine for today’s brands Click To Tweet
Customer Journey and Advanced Reporting – Google Analytics
Once you’ve identified customer pain points, research topics, and main objections, align the website action items with proper tracking within Google Analytics.
Tracking the customer journey to uncover user needs requires more than traditional brainstorming and surveys; marketers must embrace the use of personas and define KPIs accordingly.
When tracked properly, the website customer journey can reveal one or more of the following data sets:
- Track customers from the first website visit through to the conversion, giving you a glimpse into the overall journey from start to finish
- Identifying the channels and content that lead to the conversion
- Track geographic data for high-value conversions
- Lifetime customer value (conversions from customer retention content)
- Attribute conversions to specific digital marketing channels and content
- Identify the most valuable referral websites
- Download and sign-up options that lead to sales
Regardless of whether you are a start-up or an established company, make sure that your analytics account or tool is set-up to help you filter user needs with customer discovery data. For established brands and websites, A/B testing may be helpful to uncover the data without bias or assumptions.
Finally, customer journeys are influenced by the outlets on which the products or services are available. Therefore, marketers should plan on testing research results on a regular basis with a healthy distrust of counting on one small set of milestones or keywords. After all, we’re talking about websites and content in today’s digital transformation age, and the content that customers were searching for and interacting with just five – ten years ago is completely different than it is today.