Staying one step ahead of your competition is something most business owners list as a priority. One of the keys to making this happen is to understand your customer. Chances are good that most of your competitors know this too. So how do you pull ahead if you all have the customer figured out? The answer is pretty obvious when you think about it: change and grow with your target audience. Many businesses are stuck in the status quo and fail to evolve their understanding of their customers, so if you can keep reevaluating, you can stay one step ahead.
Know the marketplace. Research your competition and understand their offerings and how they position themselves in the market. This information will help you understand what they are doing right and where there are opportunities for you to differentiate your products or services. And don’t forget to check out their social media profiles, they are full of great competitive data.
Learn all you can. Speaking of social media, don’t simply look at the posts made by your competition; use the online world to do some customer research. Read their customers posts, taking note of any trends in opinions. Interact with your customers to glean more information on features and benefits that are important. Use data on your website traffic to understand what pages people are visiting and for how long and you can see if there are areas of particular interest that can be improved or expanded.
Jump on the persona train. A technique that is quickly gaining popularity is creating buyer and customer personas. Segmenting your entire customer universe into different groups based on different criteria will allow you to tailor content and marketing campaigns to them and their interests. This will increase engagement and conversion as you address their specific needs or interests. You will be able to create specific email campaigns, online ads, newsletters and social media posts for multiple audience segments.
These tactics are all valuable in understanding your audience in order to differentiate but remember that in order to stay one step ahead of your competition, you need to revisit these on a regular basis. That way you will not only understand your customers in the beginning, you will be able to understand them as time goes on, keeping you out in front.