In-person, on the phone, through social media, via chatbot … there are seemingly infinite ways you connect with your customers. But communicating effectively takes time and effort.

As a small business owner, you don’t want to spin your wheels pushing content with low engagement or following up with confused customers. Here’s how to improve communication with customers by taking a data-driven approach.

Get the 411

To efficiently converse with your customer base, you need to know exactly who they are. To gather this information take the time to build out detailed buyer personas. These are profiles of fictional people that represent your ideal client.

These personas should combine demographic and geographic information with interests and behavioral traits. You can compile this data in a variety of ways, from reviewing social media analytics, breaking down demographic data in Google Analytics or surveying existing clients.

When put to use, personas will allow you to create marketing messages, social media posts, email blasts and more that focus on the desires, interests and challenges your ideal customers face. Tapping into this data allows you to tailor your message to a specific type of person while highlighting the benefits your products or services can provide uniquely to them.

Remember: The wants and needs of your ideal customer may change over time. For instance, in the last few years, with post-COVID sentiments, the way people want to communicate, shop and pay has shifted.

Show Up in Search with SEO

Believe it or not, you’re communicating with your customers before they ever make it to your website. That’s right, we’re talking about your online listings.

Nearly half of all searches on Google are looking for local information.

To give Google credit, it is always updating its algorithm to ensure searchers are finding exactly what they’re searching for. This brings us back to those buyer personas you created. By understanding who your client is and the challenges they face, you can curate the content on your site to fit their search intent.

In combination with understanding what your audience is looking for, researching keywords and working them into your content can help you move up a spot or two in rank. But remember, keyword stuffing is a thing of the past.

Google’s algorithm doesn’t just care how many people end up on your site, it cares how long they stay, too.

Want to brush up on the latest SEO trends for 2022? Read this.

Dig into Social Media Analytics

Social media offers businesses a unique way to improve communication with customers. From Facebook to TikTok, these platforms can grow brand awareness, build a community and even sell your products and services.

With people spending hours a day on various social sites — it’s an avenue you can’t ignore.

There is more to social media than simply posting aesthetic images or silly videos — you can access a lot of data that can make your posting process worth the effort. Unfortunately, for the analytics novice, knowing what to track can be overwhelming.

You might just want to let people know about your products and services, so how can data help?

By tracking KPIs (key performance indicators) you can see which content your audience is vibing with. Do you get a lot of comments on posts with photos? Are people saving your how-to videos on Instagram? Are they clicking that link you tweeted out?

Here are some basic metrics to track to get you started:

  • Engagement. This is the number of times a person takes action on your post by clicking a link, commenting, sharing it or liking it.
  • Reach. This is the number of individual people who see your content via organic or paid efforts.
  • Impressions. This is how many times your post was viewed, including if it was seen multiple times by the same people.

Metrics vary from platform to platform so take time to understand what they measure and their impact on your brand. Use the insight you gain from these metrics to create more content that works for your brand and less of what has lackluster results.

Statistically Speaking

Customers want to chat on their own schedule. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always line up with your 9-5, especially if you’re a service-based business owner with a small staff. You can’t be picking up the phone to answer FAQs while you’re in the middle of retiling a bathroom.

Recent studies have shown that you don’t need to be physically speaking to your customer to be providing the communication they want. 9 out of 10 consumers say they want businesses to chat with them via text message. When your customers are happy to communicate via SMS Text, you open the door for automation.

This allows your business to communicate on your behalf while you’re working or sleeping or taking a vacation. And there is the data to prove that customers want this:

  • 65% of people say they want their accounts, billing, and payment reminders sent as a text
  • 88% of customers want their order updates, reminders, and order confirmations sent as texts

All of these things can be automated, further improving communication with your customers.

Not All Data Is Numeric

We’ve talked a lot about analytics and percentages but some of the most valuable data you can gather is directly from your customers. By asking for reviews you can gain insights that you simply can’t get from software or a system.

Go check out your reviews and see what your patrons are saying about how you communicate. Do people love your service but it’s hard to book an appointment? Do they think you are a great contractor but wish you would be more responsive over email?

By gathering these insights straight from your clients, you can make the changes that take your business from a good one to a great one.

If you’re worried that asking for reviews feels a little awkward, here are two ways to streamline the process:

By infusing data into your processes of connecting with customers, you can ensure that you’re sending the right message, to the right audience in a way that resonates with them. This allows your team to provide an exceptional customer experience, each and every time.