How Do Your Customers See Your Brand?
We’ve seen countless “how to improve your marketing” articles over the years, often with a paragraph on the importance of noting click-throughs and other impression statistics. I’ve even written some, myself! While realizing that your marketing efforts need a boost can be a step towards improvement, considering how your customers currently view your company, products, and services ultimately serves as a much-needed step in the right direction. A first-hand perspective can provide a variety of insights, and expose some of your blindspots as a company.
Consider this: You’re craving some waffles while social distancing. The ones you’ve ordered off Uber Eats are soggy by the time they arrive, and the frozen ones from the grocery store just don’t cut it. You don’t know when your favorite brunch establishment will re-open, and so you are ready to hone your cooking skills by purchasing a waffle-maker online.
The questions you ask when making this all-important purchase aren’t that different from the questions your prospective buyers are asking when they come to your website. They might wonder about any of the following:
- Is this a legitimate website, or a scam?
- Are the products/services easy to find?
- Will this product’s capabilities be fully explained, or am I left to trial and error with a complete lack of support?
- Can I make a secure payment on here, or will my bank account be compromised?
- If I have an issue with my product, can I turn to a supportive customer service team that will respond in a timely manner?
- What are other people saying about this product/company?
Take an honest look at your website and see how these answers stack up. High traffic is great, but if it’s because web viewers are clicking everywhere, trying to find the answer (and potentially giving up), then your sales goals won’t amount to much. You likely had some say in designing your website, but Prospective Client X did not. Clicking a certain tab and scrolling to the bottom of the page to find an answer might seem intuitive to you, but not to a stranger.
Endless walls of text might not be a good idea, either. Tell users what your products/services offer and why they are valuable, but don’t overwhelm them into “too long, didn’t read” territory.
Find out what your customers want, and listen to them. If you have a loyal set of clients (or even a few), congratulations! You’ve already managed to achieve some level of success, and they will be able help your brand complete some market research in pursuit of furthering your targets.
Get in touch with current clients, and ask how they found out about you. Discover their highlights in working with you, and determine where you should re-focus your efforts for improvement. What is the best way to reach them/future customers in future marketing campaigns? They were once prospective clients, and it’s important to see the business world in their eyes, too.
A connection must be made with your customers, and nurtured over time. It has to be authentic and embody what your brand stands for. Putting in effort to learn more about your clients will create value for them as well, and show that you’re willing to improve your company and it’s offerings.
So, what if you’re just starting out, don’t have much of a client base, and can’t ask what they want from your company? This is where having a strong knowledge of what your brand and staff stand for comes in. Photos of your team at work, staff bios that aren’t “corporate walls of text” but show off their interests, passions, hobbies, and a look behind the scenes on social media can all give prospective clients an idea of who you are – and is a good idea regardless, even if your company has been well-established for years.
Some companies fall into the trap of thinking, “I have all the customers I need; I don’t need to do more.” Yes, I’ve heard this one. Having backup plans, new leads, and paths for new business are extremely important; just look at how this pandemic has flipped the world on its head.
Another trap? “Our board of experienced executives discusses everything and we think X is fine.” This is code for, “We don’t like your idea, so don’t expect anything to change.” I’ve experienced this one before, too. If you’re not open to receiving feedback or consulting a diverse set of audiences to improve your brand, you’ll be trapped within the confines of your boardroom in the years to come.
How else can you determine how your customers see you? Check out the competition. What makes them a competitor? Why are they an appealing choice? Perhaps it’s their location, product offering, or interactive staff? Their success might not surround what they are offering, but rely upon how they position themselves. Seeing how your company stacks up can provide some insight as to your level of success compared to theirs.
Thinking back to my waffle-maker example… What did you end up buying? Did you choose the one from a big-box retailer that was on sale for $19.99? Or perhaps the one shipped from Belgium with a set of interchangeable plates and recipe book looked tempting. You’ll realize that in the end, you’re getting a waffle-maker. But the company you chose to do business with was affected by a number of influences – much like how your consumers (and prospective ones) are viewing your website right now.
Customers want to know exactly what they’re getting themselves into, and want to feel supported throughout all steps of their client journey with your company. Taking time to reflect and improve your marketing efforts will go a long way, and show that you are indeed taking their feedback into consideration. Feedback can be scary, but it exists to help us better our brand.