Get to Know Your Customers

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The best source for great customer data is your customers themselves.

The better your database, the more relevant your messaging and the better your results. But what is the best way to get that data? You can purchase a mailing list and third-party data, but it’s always more effective if people are willing to provide that data themselves. Here are five ideas for getting your target audience to share more information about themselves.

Survey them . . . with benefits. People are more willing to share personal details when they think it’s going to benefit them. If you’re a clothier, for example, you might woo them with the promise of customized style suggestions. “Take this quiz and find out more about your personal style!” Once you know what types ofclothes they like, offer to keep the suggestions coming. “Want more like this? Sign up for new introductions you’ll love!”

Make the most of address updates. When you ask people to update their contact information, it is a good time to ask for other demographic or psychographic information, too. “Tell us a little more about yourself so we can personalize your experience and better serve you.”

Tap your pop-up registration forms. What better time to ask people to provide more information than when they are already on your website looking for something? “Help us get to know you, so we can give you exactly what you need!”

Maximize post-sales follow-up. People love to provide feedback, whether positive or negative. Follow up the sale with a short questionnaire. “Thanks for shopping with us. How did we do?” Then throw in a few demographic or psychographic questions while you’re at it.

Understand the mindsets. Understanding how consumers think about sharing data helps you craft your messaging. Different studies have identified different categories of consumer attitudes, but regardless of which you follow, just understanding that not everyone feels the same way about providing data helps you be sensitive to different personalities and motivators when you ask.

Learning more about your customers and prospects is an achievable goal—and it doesn’t have to be difficult. Sometimes it can be as easy as, well, just asking.