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Talk to your clients: Step 5 for developing an effective marketing strategy

Effective marketing strategies are based on thorough research – and an element of that research should be finding out why your current clients buy from you.

If you’ve followed our step-by-step guide to developing an effective marketing strategy, you will have already worked out who your ideal clients are (if you haven’t, we suggest you do this first – you can read our blog on this here). 

Your existing clients may or may not match your ideal client avatar, but whether they do or not, they’re a great resource to turn to for insights into how to build a successful marketing strategy.  Talking to your existing clients makes a lot of sense: they have already like what you do and have invested in their relationship with you – they are therefore probably more than happy to give you a bit of their time to help you become even more successful.

There are several ways in which you can gather your clients’ views on what they think of your brand, your products/services and the customer experience that you offer, including:


Surveys are a great way of getting a broad overview of what you’re doing.  They don’t have to be complicated; in fact, the simpler they are, the more responses you are likely to get.  You may have survey capacity within your CRM software, alternatively SurveyMonkey offers free surveys of up to 10 questions and up to 100 responses.


If you run an e-commerce business, you have a wonderful opportunity to get extensive customer feedback through your reviews. 

Social media

Social media is not just for putting your point across: it’s also a place for listening!  If you’re doing social media properly, you should be engaging in two-way, real-time dialogue with your followers and targets, so nothing out there should come as a shock to you.

Social media will also give you insights as to why some of your ideal clients are choosing to go elsewhere – looking at your competitors’ profiles can be as insightful as drilling down into your own.

Depth interviews 

Great for getting under the skin of your relationship with key clients, preferably those who most closely fit your ideal client avatar.  But as well as interviewing your current clients, it can also be really insightful to talk to the ones that got away – if they match your ideal avatar, it can really help to understand why they are no longer with you or why you didn’t win your tender to them. 

You’ll get the best results if you structure the interview and approach your customer beforehand to agree a mutually convenient time when you can talk uninterrupted over the phone or a coffee.  Be realistic about how long this will take, and ask them to set aside time accordingly, allowing for the fact that you may want to go off-piste with your questioning if they say something you hadn’t anticipated that you want to follow up. 

Your exact questions will depend upon your company structure and offering, but some of the basics that will help you devise a successful depth interview include:

  1. When did you first start using our products/services?
  2. Which of our products/services do you use? (Has this changed over time? How?)
  3. What research did you do when you were first making this purchasing decision?
  4. What factors influenced your decision?
  5. What has influenced your decision to stick with us?
  6. What has influenced your decision to take more products/services from us? What factors made you decide to stop taking certain products/services from us?
  7. We offer the following products/services that you don’t use; why not? (They may not need them, or they may buy elsewhere – in which case you really want to understand why! What’s the competition got that you haven’t?  Are they even aware that you offer these things?)
  8. What do you think we do well?
  9. What do you think we could improve on?
  10. Would you recommend us?

Understanding why your clients buy from you – and why they don’t – will give you key insights to help shape an effective marketing strategy.

To discuss how Sharp Minds Communications can help with your marketing, email communications@sharpminds.agency

Want to know more? Read the rest of our series on developing an effective marketing strategy:
Step 1: Set your goals
Step 2: Set your budget
Step 3: Know your competition
Step 4: Know your clients


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