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How well do you really know your existing and potential customers? (Feature image courtesy of Markus Goller, Flickr)
As businesses and marketers, we spend a lot of time getting people to our website, talking about the nature of the business, and ensuring a smooth transition from acquisition to transaction.
The biggest thing we do as growth hackers to inspire better conversion rates is experiment, measure and learn, but what if there was a secret to having the answer literally given to you by the very people who make up your target market?
Theres is, and it’s something relatively low tech in nature, that we’ve already been doing as humans even before we could communicate:
It’s not a new approach, yet one often forgotten. Listening to prospective customers can yield tremendous insights and help guide new business growth. It can also go a long way to help you understand how to better persuade greater volumes of sales.
Even away from the digital world where we spend the most time, effective communication starts with listening. In a social situation, we experience poor listeners all the time. They think more about speaking than actively taking in what is being said, they fidget, stare at their phones and are simply working out a way to turn the conversation about them rather than supporting the person speaking.
Great listeners however, captivate their audience by speaking less and asking more questions. It’s a great social skill to have, and can translate beautifully into our online endeavours. It’s called Active Listening, and involves three main elements to get it right:
This is all about sensitivity in the nature of how others are communicating with you, and reading between the lines to determine hidden meanings. Awareness is about ensuring the notes and pain points of the person speaking to you are heard loud and clear, and sometimes what they’re implying but not actually saying. It’s about relating to how they’re actually feeling when talking to you, and perhaps even body language cues if they’re available to you.
Taking in what is being spoken at you is the next challenge. It’s about memorising key points of their argument and then generating your point of view in agreement or disagreement with their statements. It’s also about determining hidden meaning via body language. If there’s more than one person in the conversation, this becomes even more of a challenge.
This is the greatest indicator that you’re a great listener. Using verbal and non-verbal signs you’re listening and open to their discussion assures the speaker they’re not falling on deaf ears. Asking questions that directly relate to what the person just said ensures the speaker has complete faith in you and what you have to say in response.
Listening for business:
So if this is the key to listening in the real world, how do we apply this to our online environment where we cannot simply engage every person that lands on our site in conversation? There are three important environments in which we can execute strategic listening and responding.
This is perhaps where the majority of your information collection should occur. You should be asking for visitor’s candid opinions about the design and experience with your website, as well as any feedback on commonly performed processes (such as adding items to cart, checking out, reading a blog, sharing to social etc). This can happen in a multitude of ways:
If you’re collecting email addresses, you’re onto a winner. By far, the largest conversion rates occur by email, well over social and search. Apart from driving conversions, using email is a brilliant way to incentivise those subscribed to you to help you clean your business processes up and end up making more money. You could send an email that says: ‘Answer three questions and get 25% off everything’. It’s simple, easy for someone to participate without assuming it’s hard work, and you could generate more sales as a result of their discount.
Being active on the major social networks, especially if your demographic audience is there, is critical. You can easily generate responses from your existing and prospective audiences by strategically asing questions in multiple ways:
Once you’re beginning to collect valuable data about user experiences with brand, it becomes critical to thank users for their input, and to begin to action feedback that significantly improves user experiences with your online business model.
Do you have any advice on customer listening approaches that have worked for you in the past? Leave your responses below!
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