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Jul022012

The Search Box: Are You Really Listening To Your Customers?

Listening to what your customers really desire is the continuous exercise of any serious marketer.  The more you listen to your customer, the more you gain insights into what they want.   

Technology has made this exercise easier and simpler.  Online polls, surveys, and feedback tools can be worth their weight in gold.  If you are looking for some great services, check out Feedbackify & KISS Insights.  

But the most powerful feedback tool I know is the search box.  Someone searching on your site is actively giving you live feedback.  Which is why it's so powerful.  Search Reports are a raw feed into what your customers are looking for.  

I learned this valuable lesson when I stumbled upon my company's search report.  It was a report of our webiste's top 500 search terms per month.  It amazed me.  Five of the top 10 searches on our site were for "CATALOG".  It was by far the most popular search term on there.  We had decided not to include the Catalog online, but quickly realized that the policy we had adopted was not what our customers wanted.  They were clearly screaming for a catalog to learn about and purchase our products, and we were denying them the opportunity.  We reasoned that since we were a party plan company, customers would see our offerings from a Consultant, or at a show.  Not to show the Catalog online had seemed like good marketing philosophy internally, but it was terrible sales philosophy, and we had to remedy that immediately.

That same search report revealed we had a product category everyone was searching for.  It was another revelation.  Apparently we offered this category of product, and few others did.  So this caused us to plan an extension of the product offering in future catalogs.  

You can be a better listener, too.  If your website has Google Analytics tracking code installed, then you can listen to what your customers are trying to find.  Help them find it.  Create it or invent it.  Innovate.  A search report of all the terms being searched for on your website can be a goldmine of information if used correctly.  You now have a window into your customer's mind.  Use it to help propel your business forward.  

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