May 11, 2017

Using Customer Feedback to Improve Demand Generation

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Demand generation means different things to different companies, but many marketers treat it as part of the awareness phase of the customer journey. This includes all of the strategies that get your product in front of customers before they become a lead. It also includes the strategies your team uses to keep leads engaged as they move down the funnel, including leads that leak out of the funnel.

ALSO READ: How to Influence Customer Need Recognition

While companies rarely have time to actively engage their customers for feedback, customer opinions and first-hand stories can provide critical insight into what works and what doesn’t. Those stories can translate into monetized value for your company. HelpScout reports that it can take 12 good experiences to make up for one bad one, and that bad experience stories travel twice as far as good ones. If your team doesn’t have a plan in place to collect, analyze, and act on customer feedback, you could lose valuable information that will improve your customer journey.

Customer feedback:

  • Gives you insight into what your target customers look like
  • Gives you insight into what your ideal customer does not look like
  • Reveals which features customers actually use (and those they don’t use)
  • Defines the expectations customers bring to your brand

Many companies will aggregate customer feedback from online reviews, customer surveys, and social media mentions and comments. In addition, I suggest putting together an interview strategy where teams systematically identify and interview current and former customers to gain targeted feedback on what keeps customers around or why they leave your company.

More importantly, your team needs to use those customer opinions and stories to build a better demand generation strategy and lead funnel. Here are some tactics you can improve using customer feedback.

Remarketing

Remarketing/retargeting uses specific personas and criteria to help you grow brand awareness. Customer feedback that defines your target customer and explains how certain people interact with your content should transfer directly to your remarketing strategy.

If you find that those who downloaded a certain whitepaper tend to convert faster, use remarketing tools to target visitors to your site who don’t convert with ads for that informative whitepaper. Continue to measure and test the movement of these visitors toward conversion.

Tighten your Funnel

While demand generation often focuses on increasing brand awareness, that awareness should extend throughout your funnel, through the interaction and decision phases and even to retention/advocacy. By using customer feedback to map the interactions your customers choose to engage in throughout each stage, you can better understand how to shore up weak points and draw stragglers back into the fold.

Spend less money targeting those who don’t convert and focus on the decision-makers.

Customer feedback also gives you insight into who you waste time trying to target. If you know you should focus on VP-level executives and above, you can spend less money targeting those who don’t convert and focus on the decision-makers who make sense for your product. At the same time, if customer feedback shows that lower-level employees and middle managers tend to drive adoption, you can build funnels, content, and ads that target these prospects as well.

A/B Testing

A/B testing is an effective way to smooth the transition from a site visitor to potential lead. While customer feedback can’t give you the statistical certainty of an actual A/B test, it can go a long way in helping your team build hypotheses about what needs to change.

A/B Testing helps you smooth friction on your site that you might not otherwise recognize because 1) you built the website, and 2) you know how to navigate through your own pages. Customer feedback on site usage can help you figure out where buyers get hung up on UI issues (“I really wanted to sign up for the newsletter, but there wasn’t a form on the page”) or navigation (“I searched for best email provider, but your ad link took me to email automation”). Customer feedback regarding interactions with your site will help you build a better overall experience by A/B testing specific suggestions.

Lead Scoring

It sounds judgmental, because it is. Lead scoring looks at a bunch of different factors that turned your brand visitor into a lead and helps your team understand how much time and effort you should spend on those visitors. The higher the engagement with your brand, the higher the score. Although we normally see sales teams using lead scoring criteria, the same tactics can be used to inform your understanding of brand engagement.

Customer feedback can improve your lead scoring process by clarifying which triggers actually move a lead down the funnel. For example: while all your research may indicate that a whitepaper download shows readiness to convert, customers may tell you it was your live webinar that provided them with the tactical knowledge they needed to make a purchase decision. Your team should take this information and refine your lead scoring strategy, giving webinar attendance greater weight than whitepaper downloads.

Customer feedback can improve your lead scoring process by clarifying which triggers actually move a lead down the funnel.

The lead scoring process should, in turn, inform your demand generation efforts, giving you a better understanding of the types of customers who are likely to convert.

Expand your Product Offering

Who better can tell you what kinds of products your customers need than your customers themselves? If your team has the time and the resources, use customer feedback to build new products or features that you can offer for free or on a freemium basis, depending on your service model. These sorts of products

  1. Offer customers immediate value
  2. Increase brand awareness in the broader marketplace
  3. Increase customer satisfaction
  4. Increase customer advocacy

Not every company will have the resources to build and deliver free stuff, but your customers can provide a lot of insight into the types of valuable information and education they need. Maybe you can’t build a complimentary site audit tool, but if your customers need to improve their websites, how about writing a comprehensive guide to using site audit tools? This is the type of content you can share, market, and use to generate demand.