How to build data-driven customer profiles that turn visitors into customers

January 5, 2021

Alexandra Growth Marketing Trainee
Read more Read more Alexandra's life creed is: If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. Looks like she got a partner, because she amassed the serious accomplishment of being in featured in Forbes 30 under 30 Romania. She founded The Experiments Factory, where they run fun science classes for kids, but for herself, Alexandra majored in business and social science. The only science she focuses on is the marketing kind. Once you’re too old for kid-friendly classes, you just have to do the financially prudent thing.
Magda Founder & Head of Strategy
Read more Read more Magda started marketing for friends by stealing candies from her mom’s shop to distribute. She now does the grown-up thing and studies data science at Oxford University. She’s quite overfocused on marketing, statistics, and data. Between that and her hobbies in learning genetics, understanding psychology, doing exercise, and watching pandas, she doesn’t have much time left for the latest movies. Throw a Harry Potter her way – and super-educated Magda won’t get it at all.

Intro

More and more people and businesses agree on the importance of defining the customers and understanding their needs before marketing a business. However, these profiles are usually done (best case scenario) but abandoned somewhere in the “Customer Research” folder. 

Why aren’t customer profiles built in a way that can be leveraged across all business departments? How can we make them more relevant to advertising, conversion optimization, content creation sales, etc.?

This article will discuss both qualitative and quantitative approaches to defining comprehensive customer profiles, helping your company communicate the right way, and market to the right people.

Jobs to be done, Pains and Gains

The Value Proposition Canvas developed by Strategyzer is a great tool that can help you focus your customer discovery journey. We will fill in the template as we go through the below research tactics. The model features: 

Customer Jobs – which are the things your customers are trying to accomplish or problems they need to solve. The Customer Pains are the “noise” that disturbs the customer when she tries to get the job done, anything that prevents her from getting the job done. And Customer Gains are the positive outcomes and benefits that the customer wants. They can be desired or come by surprise.

We will discuss both qualitative and quantitative research approaches that will uncover Customer Gains, Pains and Jobs.

Starting with qualitative data

Interviews

Starting with the most common technique to find out who your customers are, interviews are a great way to understand the customer’s attitude towards your product in-depth. Here are some questions that Startegyzer uses to discover customer pains and gains.

Pains
What are the main challenges/difficulties that your customer encounters?
What does your customer categorize as risky?
What is keeping your customer awake at night?
Gains
What would make your customer’s job life easier?
What outcomes does your customer expect and what would go beyond his/her expectations?How do current solutions satisfy your customer?

It’s also essential to consider the sample. Having diverse interviewees will help you get a more accurate customer profile, and you won’t remain trapped in your assumptions.

Try to get to the interviews clients who love you, some who hate you, those neutral ones, old and new ones, potential customers, and competitor’s customers. Moreover, it would help if you also considered asking people in your organization about the clients. More customer-facing departments such as sales and customer support might give you additional insight into how they picture clients and describe pains and objections. You will have much more diverse insights this way!

Here are some more aspects to pay attention to in to design a great interview:

Aspects to pay attention toWhy?
Leading QuestionsThey make the interviewee respond in a biased way, usually towards the opinion of the interviewer.
❌ How good was your experience with ordering a bike from us?
✅ How was your experience with ordering a bike from us?
Use the right orderMake sure the questions are in the right order. Start with demographics and go from general to more specific. If you use multiple-choice questions, randomize the options to increase the results’ validity.
❌ How was your experience with ordering a bike from us?How old are you?
✅How old are you? How was your experience with ordering a bike from us?
Use clear languageTry to use simple words to avoid confusion. Avoid buzzwords and jargon that the respondents might not understand.
❌ How was your convo with tech support?
✅ How would you rate your experience with our technical support representative?
Be presentPay attention to the interviewee. Try to balance following the script with going more in-depth; you will discover insightful pains/gains.
Don’t generalizeInterviews are part of qualitative research, and just because some of your clients have a confident attitude doesn’t mean everyone feels the same. The insights you get from interviews must be complemented by qualitative data to be accurate and helpful.

Online Reviews 

Getting to know how people feel about your brand/products can reveal customer jobs, pains, and gains. You can be surprised to find out that maybe some customers found some funky uses for a product that was initially made to serve another purpose.

Social media and platforms where you sell your products/services can be great places to find honest reviews. Moreover, by researching the reviews for competitors’ products, you can figure out features that appeal more to your customers and improve your offering. You also need to pay attention to their language and learn it so you can better create content that sells. When you look at online reviews, we recommend you to select the most relevant quotes from the customers and include them in the customer profile.

Example 1 of review on Amazon

Negative reviews should be extensively analyzed. The most critical issues (such as health-related) must be prioritized as they can lead to much more negative publicity and even legal action.

Example 2 of review on Amazon

Reviews like these are very insightful as they speak about what is essential for the customer, besides the product itself. The company should understand if other customers feel the same about the topic (in this case, sustainability) and analyze the benefit of rethinking their packaging for their image and profits.

Example 3 of review on Amazon

Some reviews can give you insight into maybe more niche/newly formed customer segments (e.g., VSCO girls). Knowing about these groups in time allows targeting them, using specific terms such as “VSCO girl,” and reaching the right customers.

Chat transcripts 

The chat is where people usually complain, aka the best place to find out customer pains, in some cases, better understand customer jobs and, if you are lucky, stumble upon some customer gains. 

If you analyze those conversations (from social media and your website’s chat), you can also understand the client’s language and approach, use the information to adapt the response strategy to complaints, and tailor the content and targeting to match the customer. It’s essential to look for patterns and further test the insights using quantitative data.

If the chats are dense, you can use text mining techniques, which will help you extract the most relevant data from text.

A great example of how you can use chat transcripts to get insights about the pains of your customers is WallsNeedLove and their samples issue. WallsNeedLove sells wallpapers and samples of wallpapers. However, because they don’t make it easy for the client to buy samples, many of the customers use the chat to complain about the difficulty of buying samples. Below you can notice how the difficulty to buy samples is a recurring issue among clients which signals the importance of the product for them.

PS: Analyzing chat transcripts also allows you to spot any website bugs or issues and try to fix them as soon as possible.

Surveys

Surveys are a research method where you can combine both qualitative and quantitative approaches. You can check if the pains and gains you discovered in the interviews apply to a larger sample and further get more quantitative data to find trends and test the statistical validity of specific insights.

Qualitative vs Quantitative

By asking open-ended questions, you can understand people’s extensive opinion (like in the interviews). In contrast, if you ask questions like “on a scale from 1-5, how satisfied were you with the customer experience?” you get quantitative data. You can also transform qualitative answers to quantitative data by assigning a set of variables to specific categories of responses.

Programs like TypeformSurvey Monkey and Hotjar have simplified the process and improved the UX for surveys, helping you create a beautiful experience for the customers. In this way, you can increase your surveys’ response rate and use the data to perform descriptive statistics and regression analysis. 

Website vs Email

On your website, you can personalize surveys for specific audiences using Hotjar and Google Tag Manager. You can use Hotjar to set surveys, polls, and build heatmaps and get more insight into how customers navigate your website. 

You can use Google Tag Manager in combination with Hotjar if you want to survey a specific audience. For example, new or returning visitors or even customers from particular countries. Additionally, it’s insightful to display surveys to different audiences based on what they did on the website (subscribed to newsletter, started a freemium, etc.).

To increase the response rate to these surveys, you can use a “3 question survey” format to tailor the questions to uncover specific pains and gains. As you already know, using Hotjar you can show tailored surveys to specific groups of customers. However, sometimes you need to go beyond their apparent concern to find the root of the pain/gain which will give you great consumer insights. To incentivize its completion, you can offer a coupon that gives them a discount to your products/services.

When it comes to surveying clients through email, you need to have a different approach because those people already interacted with your company. They are either former clients, people who want to stay updated about your offers, or just curious individuals. For them, you can use Typeform to build a more comprehensive, but creative survey that addresses one of your specific business needs. For example, you can try to find out more about the clients’ experience with a particular category of products focusing on pains, gains, and jobs to be done. The email surveys can be denser, and you can also find creative rewards that can engage the customers after completion.

Complementing with quantitative data from Google Analytics (or whatever tool you use) 

Now it’s time to back up the insights from the qualitative research with data! It’s crucial to test the assumptions with some quantitative analysis, so you achieve the expected results. Let’s take a look at the data!

What people are looking for on the internal search bar

First, having an internal search bar not only helps customers get to the desired part of your website but also helps the company understand what the customer is interested in the most, information that could guide how the company organizes the content on the website.  

However, you need to set the right parameters in Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics, to begin with. We hope you track this!

To access the most popular searches, you need to go on Google analytics and press behavior – site search – search terms. This path will give you a list of the most searched words on the internal search bar.

Here is an example of how the searches are displayed. In this situation, you can see how “wood,” “floral,” and “peel and stick” are the most popular, indicating that the business should make sure they have related products handy to the visitor.

Using Google Analytics to analyse the search behaviour of your clients

How do clients get to your website? To find out, open Google Analytics and go to Search Console – Queries. Here you can choose a time interval that you want to analyze.

At the Search Query, you can see the main search engine results that got the user to your website. In this case, you can notice some non-branded results such as “removable wallpaper” and “temporary wallpaper,” which indicate the company should invest in those keywords because they bring traffic to the website. However, there are also branded keywords, for example, the company’s name, which can tell you about how sought for and well known the company is. 

You can also notice short-tail keywords such as “wallpaper” and “fake wallpaper,” search results that are usually broad. However, you can get more insights from the long-tail keywords such as “best peel and stick wallpaper” and “floral peel and stick wallpaper” because they are more descriptive, and they can be used in the content creation strategy.

This tool helps you understand your customers’ primary needs (jobs to be done) and point out some areas that your business can leverage, given that the client is interested in. To understand the motivations behind those searches, you can design interview/survey questions that can provide additional insight.

Complementing with search trends

Google trends

You can use Google Trends if you are looking to understand global trends and research about how people’s search behavior unfolds historically. This tool is useful if you are interested in topics that have a high search volume. Moreover, it can help you correlate different events, for example, new progress in the COVID-19 vaccine development, with the search trends in various countries.

However, for more niche topics, you should try using more specialized tools.

Google Keywords Planner and Semrush

Tools that analyze keywords such as Google Keywords Planner and SemRush can help you discover the audience’s awareness level and find out more about how users look for your product or service. This is relevant because those keywords represent how your clients express their pains/gains and jobs to be done. 

Besides tailoring the content to address those needs, by understanding the keywords, you can also discover the stage of awareness your clients are in and think about strategies to bring them to higher awareness levels.

Google Keyword Planner is a strong yet limited tool. While it provides information on keyword popularity, which is strongly related to your customer’s value and how they express themselves, it’s power stops there. You can use it for your search campaigns, to see how popular your keywords are in a particular area, or get very brief recommendations on what other keywords you could add to your campaign, based on your initial ideas and your website. However, when it comes to customer profiling, you can get an idea about what pains/gains and jobs to be done customers have and further research to see if it applies to your customers.

There are two relevant options to customer profiling in Google’s Keyword planner – Discover new keywords or Get search volume and forecasts. We’ll focus today on discovering new keywords, as the second option is mostly used to plan your ads budget, and that is a more in-depth story that we will address in a separate article soon. 

Discovering new keywords through Google Keyword Planner

After inserting your main keyword (feel free to add more), language, and location, it’s good to use your domain as a filter so that you will receive recommendations according to your website’s content.

Your keywords will then be displayed, along with their average monthly searches and competition (in regards to google ads). You can also use this tool to see how much a bid on a certain keyword would cost you. 

SemRush – the go-to tool 

SemRush is the go-to tool when you need to do your research and plan your content. It has a lot of useful features, even in the free version. 

Here are two ways you can use SemRush for completing your customer profile (of course, there is much more you can do with it, but today we’re sticking to customer profiling, hence seeing what these people are interested in).

#1. Topic research – this tool helps you research the topics your audience may be interested in, based on a relevant keyword. Let’s see what it can do when we try out “google tag manager,” for instance:

We get various categories to choose from and see essential Headlines and Questions related to our main topic. This is especially useful for creating customer profiles and developing content for your audience as you know what questions they ask and the channels they use to get answers to those questions.

#2. Keyword Magic Tool

They mean it; this tool is magical. It helps you group interests under the form of keywords, based on different aspects. Moreover, it would give you many related searches to your main keyword and provide insights on volumes, trends, and even CPCs.

Why would you need this tool when customer profiling? Because you can get more ideas when you understand the different language (jargon, abbreviations, etc.) your audience uses to find what they need.

Using Google Keywords Planner/SemRush, you can also discover details about your market and explore other similar markets where your product can succeed.

As for now, good luck with your research!

Combining qualitative and quantitative research techniques and complementing those with data from Google Analytics and tools that use keywords can give you a holistic perspective upon your clients. Using the methods described in this article will make your customer profiles more relevant as you will be able to use them to increase awareness, sales, and many more!

Author

Alexandra Growth Marketing Trainee
Read more Read more Alexandra's life creed is: If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. Looks like she got a partner, because she amassed the serious accomplishment of being in featured in Forbes 30 under 30 Romania. She founded The Experiments Factory, where they run fun science classes for kids, but for herself, Alexandra majored in business and social science. The only science she focuses on is the marketing kind. Once you’re too old for kid-friendly classes, you just have to do the financially prudent thing.
Magda Founder & Head of Strategy
Read more Read more Magda started marketing for friends by stealing candies from her mom’s shop to distribute. She now does the grown-up thing and studies data science at Oxford University. She’s quite overfocused on marketing, statistics, and data. Between that and her hobbies in learning genetics, understanding psychology, doing exercise, and watching pandas, she doesn’t have much time left for the latest movies. Throw a Harry Potter her way – and super-educated Magda won’t get it at all.
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