How to Connect with Customers

Knowing your customers is the key to business success. When people come to me asking my help, one of the questions I ask them is, “Who are your customers?” and often I get answers like: “anyone who needs a photographer,” “anyone who has a computer,” “anyone in business,” “anyone who sells health products”. “Anyone” tells me that you don’t know who your customers are”.

When you are developing your website, writing content for your website and social media networks, it should be focused around your customers; they should be first and foremost on your mind.

By knowing your customers, it becomes easier to sell to them, easier to tailor your message.

If you are someone who is building your career, the same rules would apply;  your potential employers are your customers.

Who are your customers?
You should be able to describe in detail who they are?

Let’s take a cell phone company for example, who as products that is for everyone. First they would determine what type of people would use a cell phone. Teenagers, busy professionals, travellers, grandparents etc. They would then determine the pain of these market segments, by asking “What is their problem? “What are their needs?” “Why do they need a cell phone?” “How do we solve their pain”? “What are the benefits to using a cell phone?”

Now each of these market segments would communicate differently, would behave differently, dress differently, and have different social behaviours. The cell phone company would then create marketing campaigns to communicate with their market segments.

Example:
They could have adverts for teenagers using funky coloured cell phones, chatting with their friends, keeping up to date with the latest gossip. They would also make use of social networks where young people hang out.

For the busy professional, they could have an ad that focuses on being busy, a fast paced lifestyle, having the benefit of keeping up to date with industry news, keeping in touch with your network, managing appointments with ease. Managing your busy lifestyle at the touch of a button.

For the older generation, our grandparents. They would tailor their marketing campaign with ads where cell phones are easy to use and using a cell phone in an emergency situation.

By understanding your customers in detail, you can now tailor your communication message to a specific target audience. Knowing your customers, helps you to niche; which helps you to target a market that your competitor may not be targeting. This is especially useful for small businesses.

Finally, knowing your customers also helps you when you are deciding which social network to use. Let’s say you are a professional consultant, a lawyer, an accountant. You may find that using Facebook is not really where your target market hangs out and so LinkedIn would be more beneficial to you as it is business focused.

Again, I ask can you describe to me in detail, “who your customers are?” Can you describe to me what they like, what they don’t like, where they live, what their social behaviours are and what communication tools they would be likely to use? What is their pain? What are the benefits you have to offer?

If you don’t know who your customers are then how are you going to communicate with them? How are you going to find them? How are you going to communicate the benefits of what you have to offer?

Do you have something further to share relating to your customers? Have you got a question for us? Share your views by posting your comments.

 

When you leave your home to go to a party, down to the shop, to the office or down to your local pub, you don’t leave your face behind or put on a mask to disguise who you are so why is it that so many people fail to upload their photos to their profile?

If you use social media as one of the tools for your business to increase your visibility, create brand awareness and build relationships, not having a photo of yourself can actually defeat the object of what you are trying to achieve.

I feel that someone who does not post an image of themselves convey the message that they don’t care about the people around them enough to take the time to be visible and transparent.  It also conveys a message of distrust.  You would seriously need to impress me for me to hang around and read your profile or pay some form of interest in you.  If I’m shopping in a store and a faceless person came to serve me I would be wondering what they were hiding and why they were hiding instead of focusing on the reason why I visited in the first place.

If your argument is that it is for security and safety reasons and to avoid shady and creepy characters online, then I have to ask, are you not creating an image of being shady yourself by not posting a photo of yourself?  In the real world, whether you walk down the street, attend a party, visit the pub, you are never 100% sure that there are no shady characters. In fact, there are shady characters lurking in families.  Watching Dexter last night reminded me of this.  Here you have a serial killer who has been killing for 20 years, but here he is a normal person with a family, a deacon in the church, a teacher at a university who hides his true character so well, moving around real people and no one is the wiser, so the risk is the same..

If you have experienced abuse or harassment from certain online people, then they have violated that privilege of connecting with you and with others. Surely, this gives you the right to expose them?  I would politely reply to them and say to them that they are out of line and that you do not appreciate the tone of the message sent and, if they persist or continue communicating in this fashion, that you would be left with no choice but to report it to the community leaders and to expose them publically.

Either they will get the message or they will be stupid enough to continue. Whichever way, you have sent a clear message to stop them in their tracks.  If they do persist, then I would take action.

One, however, also needs to be wise and distinguish between abuse and harassment; having a tiff or a fall out with someone or having a bicker about something does not constitute or give you the right to publically humiliate someone just because you do not agree with things or because you are not communicating in the same language.
What are your thoughts and views on this subject?

Being a virtual assistant who helps busy business owners manage their social media activities.  I tend to read a lot of other blogs and recently I have come across some really great ones, especially inside some social communities. While it has tremendous value to blog inside a community, it is also important that you, as the author, have your own launch pad to build your own identity.

By placing all your content in one location, such as a blog, you make it easier for readers to learn more from you and they can bookmark your site for future reference. As readers begin to learn more from you, they begin to trust what you are saying and you build credibility.

Blogging from your blog site also makes your blog more authentic giving it an identity and a personality for people to learn more about you and your business.  If you are using social media as part of your marketing strategy to increase your online visibility you will also want a place for your visitors to see more of who you are and what additional great value you can provide for them.  Your little piece of the web is considered the storefront of your business.  It is where you will keep all your blogs and content and it is from this location that you will then distribute the content to the various social media platforms.

There is one downside of posting in social communities in that everyone tends to comment on the social community site but not on your blog.  One of the benefits of using social media sites is to get people interested in what you have to say so that they want to hear more.  I have posted in social community sites and have received some very useful comments in these sites and I think to myself, ” if only I could have those comments on my blog site”.

Remember not everyone uses social communities but do still surf the net for relevant content.
Generating traffic to your blog site is very good in terms of ranking and gaining popularity for your site.

Romany Thresher

Personal Assistants are very well known for being the Gatekeeper and this means they can have a very strong impact as to whether or not a business owner or an executive will make use of your products or services.

Working in a corporate environment I recall a managing director of a corporate company saying to his graduate surveyors  “The golden rule to getting connected with any member at executive board level was to get to know their personal assistants and to be friendly to them especially if you are just starting out and depending on your attitude toward them they can either be very helpful and useful to you or they can make things extremely difficult for you”.

As a gatekeeper I would make decisions based on which calls I would put through and which calls I would reject.  I would go through the post and sift through relevant content and chuck out content which would be of no use.  This means that making an impression with the personal assistant can get you in or keep you out.

There are a number of areas where a personal assistant or virtual assistant will be responsible for making the decision depending on their level of experience.

  • Printers and graphic designers
  • Web designers
  • Travel agents
  • Cleaning companies
  • Stationery
  • Mobile phone contracts
  • Technology
  • Organising venues
  • Caterers
  • Photographers
  • Courier companies

Other areas where they play a very important role is determining who they will recommend to a director or business owner when it comes to services required.

I had two guys who were starting a new business and needed to have a few things organised.  They needed to have email access via web, PC, laptop and mobile phone.  They required certain software packages for their laptops a new mobile phone contract, business cards printed and a brochure designed.  I had all these things arranged for them.  They did not care where or who I used as long as it was organised as they trusted me implicitly.  I had access to credit card details in order to get the products and services they needed.  To date they still don’t know which printer I used for their business cards and brochure.  I manage their exchange server account which I chose.  If they have any issue they just get on the phone or email me and I get it sorted.

There are times when my clients require copywrite services, caterers, photographers, graphic designers and many other types of services and they will always ask me to find and source the best quotes and the best people.  Again there is a form of decision making which lies with me as a virtual assistant and former Personal Assistant.  I base my decisions on quality, price, presentation, whether I have used them before, know them personally or have been recommended.  I will then put together a short list of what I feel are the best options and submit this list, it will generally be only one or two people.

When you are finding ways to get companies to use your services the first point of contact may be to get to know the personal assistant or in some cases the virtual assistant.

Romany Thresher

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