Most existing businesses want to (need to) find new customers on an ongoing basis.
When planning branding, marketing and communications activity, an obvious question to ask is where am I likely to find customers?
Makes perfect sense and with some decent detective work mixed with a bit of common sense we can quite quickly make presumptions about where these people are hanging out.
Once this is established, we have problem #2, how to get them.
When we start a new project there are two options:
- Innovate = Create something genuinely new (not seen before).
- Iterate = Create something newer than what already exists (improve what we already have).
No prizes for guessing which is quicker, easier and comes with far less risk attached!
Iteration (a favourite approach amongst us designers) is great because we start with a ton of information. Iteration encourages us to look at what we already know is working, or part working, and ask how can we improve this?
Let’s apply this design thinking to an existing business looking to attract new customers. Rather than asking where can I find customers, flip it and ask:
- Where have I found customers before?
- Where have customers come from?
Now we are working with known information, not presumed information. Gone is the maybe (at best likely) and we can begin to plan a strategy based on what we know, rather than what we think.
The History Channel(s)
The places to uncover where customers have come from are existing marketing and sales channels. Here are a few to consider:
- Website Traffic – Analytics will show you if your customers come via search, social media or direct to the website address.
- Website Engagement – What sort of enquiries have you had via the website in contact forms, emails, chat boxes?
- Social Media – What sort of questions are people asking? How are people rating? Who is sharing? Do you get a lot or little engagement?
- Sales Team – What do your front line staff know about where from and why people have come to you?
- Networking – Are you getting referrals or recommendations from within your digital and physical networks?
- Advocates – Are your existing customers championing your work?
When we start looking at the facts, we’ll find ideas and threads to all sorts of places. Take for instance Website Traffic. If you get most of your traffic from search, you could decide to:
- Put more resources on search to maximise this successful medium.
- Leave search working well and put your efforts into building a social media audience to increase website traffic from that channel.
Once we’ve learned from the past and understood the current, we can be much more selective and effective in making our future moves. We know what is working, and what isn’t, and can decide if we want to enhance successes or improve poor performers.
Greasing the wheel, stoking the fire, taking the path of least resistance. However we frame it, iterating previous successes (and identifying weaknesses) will show us where the customers are coming from and how to get more of them!
PS – If you’re thinking strategically. I great place to start is defining who your customer is.