Knowing who your customer is (and is not) is critical to your ability to acquire more customers, to retain the customers you acquire, and to grow your business.
THE CUSTOMER PROFILE
A customer profile is an understanding of who your customer is and what makes them tick. This is slightly different than a customer segment in that a customer segment looks solely at attributes rather than attributes and reasons for those attributes.
Understanding who your customer is and what drives them empowers you to engage them, find more of them in their “natural habitat”, give them more of what they want, and to build authentic relationships with them. In turn, all of this “understanding” helps you to scale your business.
HOW I VIEW A CUSTOMER PROFILE
Understanding a customer profile can be broken down a few ways. I like to dive into the details of customer profiles by first looking at the traffic source (i.e. how did someone get to the site) then I like to use qualitative information and analytics to answer the following questions for that traffic source so that I may understand the type of customer that visitor may be:
- Why are they visiting the site?
- What gets them excited to come back to the site?
- What gets them excited enough to share the site?
- What is the point of conversion?
The questions above can be answered both via analytics and qualitative feedback.
On the qualitative side of things tools like Survey i.o. and Zopim give you a way to understand what a user/ customer is thinking and feeling about your site:
- Zopim is a live customer support tools that allows you to talk with customers in real-time. Zopim leaves a history of conversations so you can go back through and understand trends in feedback.
- Survey i.o. is a customer development tool made up of eight questions that help you understand how someone got to your site, what they like, and how it can be improved. Click here for an example.
Qualitative feedback takes time to go through. Unless a process is built around analysis qualitative feedback can also be dangerous because it can allow us to see what we want to see rather than what is being said. As such, building a process is very important!
On the analytics side I’ve used Google Analytics, KissMetrics, Facebook Interests and Likes, and expressed user preferences to understand the traffic sources customers come from, what segments of customers like what features, engagement paths, what segments of customers are likely to convert into customers (and at what rate/ likelihood), what “hot” points of conversion are, etc. In case you’re not familiar with the tools mentioned above here’s a brief description of them:
- Google Analytics is a free tool “offered by Google that generates detailed statistics about a website’s traffic and traffic sources and measures conversions and sales.”
- While Google Analytics tells you what a user is doing on your site, KissMetrics tells you who is doing what. KissMetrics lets you know how people get to your site, what they do, and which people make purchases.
- Facebook Interests and Likes are gathered by asking people to log in to your site using Facebook. There are varying levels of information you can ask for when someone signs in using Facebook. I found there is very little difference in sign up drop off when asking for the basic information and all the information.
THE BIG PICTURE
When you understand where your customers are coming from and the profiles of the customers that come from those sources you understand what is (and is not) driving your business. Below is high level graph of what this looks like:
A business cannot be all things to all people. Understanding who is passionate about your business and why they are passionate about your business is critical to developing strategies to grow your business.
My next post will provide an example of compiling a customer profile via one referral source of traffic.