Fortunately, there are tools available to give you more insight than ever before. Use these tools to help you know your customers better.
1. Source Your Online Traffic
You can gain tremendous insights by tracking the sources of your online traffic. You may get people linking in from your Facebook page, professional blogs, or myriad other sources. By learning where they come from, you can start to get a profile on some of the people who visit your site most. This lets you focus your marketing efforts more on the people most likely to buy, and in the places that give the most referrals.
2. Give Customer Surveys
Sometimes, understanding customers just comes down to asking. If you provide surveys on the customer experience, you give people a chance to tell you exactly what they think. The feedback won't always be good, but that helps you. A negative survey provides a roadmap to what you need to do to improve. Take the time to work through any feedback you receive, and work to shore up any weaknesses you have.
3. Plan for Your Customer Base
When you build out a business plan, part of what you develop is a marketing strategy. Test different marketing messages from early on, and keep doing so while you grow. You can learn relatively quickly how your customers are responding to your advertisements, and from this get a sense of who your most likely customers are. Over time, you should refine your messaging and your understanding of who is buying from you.
4. Run Website Analytics
A website is more than a tool for bringing people to you or letting them purchase from you. You can collect a great deal of data on your customers' online behavior: the pages they visit, the time they spend on each page, how many simply click through instead of lingering on your site and much more. Collect this information and use it to refine your approach.
5. Use Transaction Data
Finally, the electronic transactions you run give you information: where your customers live, how much they spend, how often they shop with you and much more. When you collect and analyze this data, you have the opportunity to understand your customers' behavior where it matters most: actual purchasing behavior.
Getting to know your customers often starts the same way it always did: taking the time to meet and get to know them. In the online world, though, the electronic tools you have available can go a long way toward filling in a more complete picture. Use what you can to understand those who buy your products and services.