When was the last time you profiled your customer? I’m not talking basic customer demographic information, but rather really taking the time to understand who they are, what their needs are, where their interests lie, who they interact with, etc. As we all know, the web can be a very fragmented place.
Don’t get me wrong, it is steadily becoming more interconnected, but we still have a ways to go before all of the bits and pieces align. In the meantime, there are several services that have popped up in the past couple of years aiming to connect the dots, and essentially profile people based on web content they have either produced or are mentioned in.
What does this mean for Businesses?
Well, it’s now easier than ever to grasp a sense of who your customer is. After all, if I can see your tweets, Facebook profile, LinkedIn page, Flickr photos, blog, comments, and usage of other social platforms, then I can better tailor my product or service to fit your needs. On that note, here are three great services you can try to help you dive in and better understand the needs, thoughts, interests, friends, and lifestyle of your customer.
Perhaps you are like me and have a few emails lingering around your inbox from conversations that you have had with customers in the past. If so, I would definitely suggest you check out Gist. While it is more of a contacts manager, this will really help you step into the world of your customer and mash-up a detailed profile of their web identity. If someone has emailed you, friended your business on Facebook, and is an avid Twitter follower, then Gist will build you a profile for that person. There is then a high change that this is your person of interest for a potential sale.
Flowtown is a very similar service to Gist, but operates with a slightly more effective interface. Aggregating information from across the web, it builds detailed profiles that allow for you to connect with your customers through the social media network of their preference. One of the nice distinctive features is it also reveals to you a customer’s Klout score, so you have a better idea of who your true influencers are. Unfortunately, it is only free for the first 50 imported contacts, so you can’t grow too dependent on it unless you are willing to cough up the money to pay for a regular account.
While Spokeo may be limited in the ability to search and track numerous profiles, if you have a few lead customers you are looking to learn more about, this can be the one-stop shop to gain a sense of who they are. These guys really do a solid job at explaining themselves as a search engine that is specialised in organising people-related information from a large variety of public sources.
After sifting through these options, what tools do you use to understand your customers better? Have you found any that are particularly effective or ineffective? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!