What actions do you need to take in order to make your small business more successful? Some owners would say they need to improve the quality of their products or services. Many will say they need to invest in a stronger marketing campaign. We tend to forget about a crucial element that connects all these actions: listening.
How will you make your offer better? When you bring it to a point where it meets the demands of your potential clients. How will you do that? By listening. This is an essential skill that every business owner should have. It shows that you’re not only interested in making profit, but also in giving the customers what they need.
The good news is that you can learn how to listen. You just need to make some effort.
Be Active on Social Media
This is where many of your customers will share their feedback. When someone is interested in your offer, they will probably check the social media pages of your business. They will look for social proof. However, they will also ask questions through social media, and they will expect a quick answer. The people who already used your products will share their feedback. Listen to it!
According to a report from Aberdeen Group, listening is the initial stage of the social maturity model, which is applicable to service, sales, or marketing. Thanks to this method, the organizations are able to analyze and monitor the customer sentiment. From there on, they can implement changes to improve their products or services.
Use Google Alerts
You have to know exactly what people are saying about your small business. They won’t share their feedback solely on your social media channels. They will also mention it on forums, Quora, blog posts, etc. The name of your business can appear anywhere. It’s important to stay on top of these mentions.
Google Alerts is a great tool for that. Set it up to send you alerts whenever the name of your business appears in the online world. Mention is a great alternative to Google Alerts. It sends you real-time updates about the most relevant mentions about your brand.
Research Your Competitors
Set up Mention or Google Alerts to inform you when your competitors’ brand names are mentioned, too. When you’re learning how to listen, you shouldn’t focus solely on your audience. You should also see how the competition is listening. How are they trying to solve the problems of your target audience? How are their solutions being perceived?
Keep track of these mentions and use them to provide better solutions. Do not copy! Just be better.
Offer High-Quality Content that Solves Problems
How exactly will you solve the issues you hear about? Of course you’ll use the information to improve the products or services you deliver. But what about the people who are not using them properly? What if they don’t know how to choose the right product for them? What if they are not using it to its full potential?
You’ll show that you listen when you start providing useful content. That’s how you prove that you don’t care solely about making more sales. You care to provide solutions and you’re doing it through free content.
Survey Your Current and Past Customers
You want your customers to tell you what they thought about your product or service? Why don’t you just ask? If you ask through social media, you’ll get responses that are not easy to track. If you do it through a survey, however, you’ll get relevant answers that you can quantify.
You can create and send great surveys through Survey Monkey, Typeform or Zoomerang. Make them short and easy to complete. Most of all, show you’re listening. Once you implement certain changes based on the results you get from a survey, inform your audience about them.
Let’s sum things up
What do you need to do in order to listen better?
- Engage in relevant activity on social media channels
- Use Google Alerts or Mention to analyze the online reputation of your business
- See what your competitors are doing
- Create problem-solving content
- Survey your customers
When you take all these steps, you’ll get lots of information you can use. You’ll understand how your audience perceives your business, but you’ll also see what they need you to improve. From there on, they will expect precise action.
Olivia is a young journalist who is passionate about career, self-development and digital marketing. She constantly tries to learn something new and share this experience on different websites. Connect with her on Twitter.