A customer usage model is comprised of three important buying processes. You do not truly know your customer till you know each step of their customer usage model like the back of your hand.
1. How your customers search for your product
If you’re a towing company your customers will search in phonebook. If you’re a lawyer your customers will find you via referrals. The key is to find the channels that people look for your product. These channels people are dependent on your type of customers and product.
So how do you do this? Ask the right questions. Whenever you make a sale, make sure to ask where they came from. Whether it’s on an online form, a question over the phone or a one-on-one question. This has to be a frequent question to each one of your customers. Think about it. If you’re spending $5,000 on SEO and everyone finds a local towing service in the phonebook rather than Google, don’t you think you’re wasting a heck of a lot of money?
2. How they use your product
So, you found out how people find your product. Great, now what? You have to figure out how they use your product and what benefits they’re seeking.
This will effect your marketing messages and how you develop your product
Let’s say you are selling energy drinks to truckers who use the Red Bull to stay awake for those long cross country trips. Your marketing messages would convey being able to stay up longer and staying in the zone. You would also redesign your packaging to better fit in a rig and cans that best fit in a truckers’ cup holder.
How the heck are you going to figure out how they use your product? It’s all about having close communication with your customers. You must consistently encourage feedback on your products. What’s that you say? You have never met any of your customers before because you have a remote online business? Setup user generated reviews of your product. Provide incentives for your customers to fill surveys and send feedback.
3. How they choose
Wow, so far so good. You know how people find your product and how they use it. Should be a guaranteed sale after that, right? Not quite but almost there. You have to find out how your customers choose to buy. What is their process of evaluation? Do they compare multiple competitors? Who are the competitors? Are the alternatives not even competitors? Are they buying complimentary goods? Do they look for user reviews, coupons and/or search your company name in Google?
All are very important questions that will take market research. This will be a combination competitor research, analytics interpretation and direct research. The key is to get inside your customers head when they are at the brink of buying your product. This will help you find out those little things you can do to push them off the fence and buy your product.