Digital marketers all over the globe are unanimous about one fact: data rules. If you have a fertile data bank about your customers and information about potential customers as well, you have done much of the field work right. There are various ways in which a digital marketer collects data. The more obvious ones include gleaning through keywords, analytics and other data sources. Seldom would you find online marketers talking to actual buyers about what they like in the product or what improvements would suit their tastes.
More than Dry Data
This is where internet marketers are missing a valuable trick. Dry data collated from online data consoles help you in differently, like providing you with the right set of keywords and the like. However, their reach is ultimately limited. If you want to break through that glass ceiling and acquire more customers or drive up sales, you need to speak with people who actually cough up dough and buy your products or services. Talking to such people, through interviews, can open up a Pandora’s Box for you, providing you insights that were unimaginable to you till date.
Before I get into what questions you might be asking, here’s a quick point. Data collected from search intent studies, keyword research tools and analytics reports offer statistics on the buyer’s online behaviour, etc. However, to find answers as to why this behaviour is such, you need interviews. Talking to users will answer questions on what influences them, motivates and drives them towards hitting the ‘Buy’ button. With their concerns and preferences known, you can customize marketing messages like never before.
The Questions to Ask
There are different levels of questions that you can ask your users. All of them must typically have a common objective: bring out as much information from your users as you possibly can. To make that possible, open-ended questions are a great idea. Questionnaires, if you must use them, should leave ample room for users to write in a line or two whenever they feel like. Answering in binaries of Yes or No doesn’t leave much room for interpretation after a particular point.
To begin with, you must interview people across the spectrum, even if you feel that they do not ideally fit your customer profiling. It can well be that you can attune your product or service to a wider customer base, except that you have never thought about the existence of such a market! Moreover, potential customers may have the wrong ideas about what you sell and how they can simplify their lives. When you bring them on board for these interviews, you can involve them in a discussion and change their perspective.
Once you get a handle on what the user is trying to convey, you should dig deeper and get to the core of what influences their buying persona. Is it just about the cost of the item? More often than not, it is not so! Invite them into discussions and opinion-sharing through your questions. Their opinions can go a long way toward offering ground-breaking ideas for your business.
However, try not to influence their answers. Leading questions often spoils an impartial perspective. For example, if you sell durable sunglasses, you may ask, “Talk to me about your experience of buying sunglasses online!” Don’t opt for something like, “Talk to me about your experience of buying sunglasses online! Were they durable enough?” This stance of questioning clouds the rationalizing of the user and coerces them into thinking along your expected lines, thereby defeating the purpose of the interview.
Finally, do not rush through the questions. Keep the questions flexible. If you hear an answer that sounds interesting, probe deeper. Hurrying to the next question will probably bury an interesting observation that you may not have known otherwise. Even when the answers sound vague or uninteresting, be a good listener and let the user complete the answer.
The Final Word
Some of you may have tried interviewing and failed because you got the obvious replies with nothing new to add to what you already know. It might have prompted you to believe that such exercises are a huge waste of time!
It may also be that you had asked the wrong questions all along! Try again with these insights and let me know.