10 Ways to Gain Valuable Customer Insights for Business Success


"You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward." This quote by Steve Jobs applies to many scenarios in business, one of which is customer insights.

For any business looking to attract and retain customers and differentiate themselves from competitors, it is essential to gather customer insights using historical data. In this article, we will discuss:

- What are customer insights, and why are they important.
- 10 methods to collect customer insights.
- Over 30 ways to apply them to marketing and growth.

What are customer insights?

Customer insights are interpretations and patterns of all customer data collected through all touch points. Some are directly acquired, such as through customer feedback and form submissions, while others are inferred, such as through website analytics or behavior from loyalty programs.

There are countless quantitative and qualitative metrics behind customer insights, and which metrics are important depends on your business and audience. However, research by GetApp found that 16% of teams have the correct amount of data but lack the right insights.


The importance of customer insights in marketing

Customer insights are essential for shaping buyer personas - fictional roles representing your ideal customers - who they are, their demographics, pain points, what impresses them, what disappoints them, what products/services they frequently purchase, what influences their purchase decisions, and more.

The more you know about your audience, the better you can:

- Deliver the right information at the right time.
- Showcase the right products at the right price.
- Highlight the exact features customers are seeking.
- Develop empathy and emotional connections.
- Reinforce your unique selling proposition.
- Segment markets, target audiences, personalize your activities.

This, in turn, can lead to higher customer satisfaction, reduced churn, increased loyalty, and more - all of which are part of effective growth marketing strategies.


How and where to collect customer insights

Collecting customer insights may feel like finding a needle in a haystack, but if you know where and how to find it, you can separate signals from noise. Here are 10 resources and tips on how to use them.

1. Online Reviews

Online reviews are the most authentic source to understand how customers feel about your products and services. Use them to identify what customers think you're doing well, areas that need improvement, and where they find better options in the market.

Examples include specialized SaaS provider SellingPilot. By deeply mining into Amazon and Newegg customer reviews, it provides AI Analysis from "Customer Profiles", "Pros & Cons for Most Mentioned Topics" and also "Purchase Motivations" insights.

How to use customer insights from online reviews:

- Learn about little things that interest customers and use them in your customer service.
- Pay attention to complaints and product/service defects.
- Understand the terms customers use to describe their problems and needs and incorporate them into your copy.

2. Competitor Reviews

Similarly, you can gather insights about your audience from competitor reviews. You can find these products in the same places as above or in online communities of users of these products on social media channels. Furthermore, utilizing the SellingPilot plugin can provide you with a simple and efficient way to gain insights from competitor product reviews. By installing the plugin and accessing it on a competitor's product page on Amazon, you will have the opportunity to uncover their strengths and leverage that knowledge to enhance your own strategies.

How to use customer insights from competitor reviews:

- Identify their weaknesses and determine your positioning accordingly.
- Find out what advantages they have that you don't have (here's where you can find our SWOT analysis template!).
- Get ideas for features or gestures that resonate with your audience.

3. Website Data

To effectively collect your website data for customer insights, you can use tools like Google Analytics. By analyzing metrics such as website traffic, bounce rates, time spent on page, and conversion rates, you can gain valuable insights.

How to use customer insights from your own website data:

- Tailor your marketing strategies to focus more on social media platforms to drive additional traffic to your site.
- Optimize product pages to decrease bounce rates and increase conversions.
- Use data-driven decision-making to continuously improve your website and enhance the overall customer experience.

4. Competitor Website Data

Of course, you can't get more detailed information from a competitor's website, but SEO tools like Semrush and Ahrefs can provide you with a lot of information. For example, if you're a design company, Ahref will show you the targeted keywords for Vennage, a competitor, and their content and advertising.

How to use customer insights from competitor website data:

- Identify a strategic product information and positioning in your market.
- Provide ideas for target keywords - both paid and organic.
- Look for potential target domains for link building.

5. Preferences and Purchasing Activities

Understanding customer purchasing patterns can provide valuable insights into popular products and services, both on a general and individual level. SellingPilot utilizes AI Analysis to extract customer purchase motivations from customer product reviews, aiding in a deep understanding of consumer needs and market trends. This analysis can help improve product competitiveness and ultimately drive business growth.

How to use insights from customer preferences and purchasing behavior:

- Utilize seasonal patterns to inform inventory management.
- Personalize communication and marketing strategies based on customer preferences.
- Identify new products and services to develop based on consumer demand.

6. Customer Surveys

Customer surveys have been a valuable tool for businesses since the days of door-to-door marketing. Today, online survey tools make it easy to gather feedback through email, social media, apps, and other channels. Surveys can take various forms, including point-based, multiple-choice, and open-ended questions. To maximize the effectiveness of your surveys, it's important to segment your audience and tailor your questions to specific groups, such as new customers, loyal customers, or potential referrals.

Some good questions you could ask in your survey include:

- How did you hear about us?
- What do you like the most?
- What do you think we should improve?

Another option is a Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey:

"On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend our company to a friend or colleague?"

How to use customer insights from surveys:

- Understand the general perception of your business.
- Identify strengths to leverage and weaknesses to improve.
- See if starting a referral program is worth investing in.

7. Customer Interviews
Compared to surveys sent in bulk to multiple customers, customer interviews are conducted one-on-one. They can be face-to-face, over the phone, or through video calls.

This way, you can get more detailed answers that customers may not provide in survey responses. You can discuss things like:

- How did you hear about us?
- What made you choose us over other options?
- What features of our business do you use the most?
- What could make our product better?

How to use customer interviews:

- Identify subtle differences and nuanced moments you can improve.
- Establish a relationship with customers.
- Get ideas for new features or products to add to your roadmap.

8. Success Stories And Case Studies
Success stories, testimonials, and case studies are another form of customer interviews. However, while the focus above is on customer feedback, this one is about how they use your business to solve their problems. These are written materials, videos, or audio forms for public consumption.

Typical questions a success story aims to answer are:

- What problem did you face, and what were the consequences?
- How did you find and why choose us?
- What product or service did you use to solve your problem?
- What were the results and benefits?

How to use customer insights from success stories:

- Provide in sales pitches and marketing communication.
- Publish them on your website for visitors to browse.
- Create and sell persona-specific use cases.

9. Partners
The digital economy has made it impossible for most products and services to exist independently. It is necessary to shake hands, or in technical terms, seamlessly integrate with other services and applications.

For example, SaaS payment solutions may want to collaborate with invoice, proposal, accounting, and sales software. Not only can you increase the appeal of your product, but you can also share insights with each other.

How to use partner's customer insights:

- Find creative promotional activities and gifts.
- Find adjacent topics in your blog posts.
- Get ideas for additional features and components.

10. Social Media
People on social media are not shy about praising or complaining, making it an excellent place to gather customer insights. You can monitor comments and posts to stay alert, but you can also openly solicit feedback through posts and polls, such as on platforms like Zhihu and other websites.

Your social media analytics are also a treasure trove of customer insights. Just remember, your social audience may be slightly different from your actual customers.

How to use customer insights from social media:

- Understand the language your customers use.
- Emotionally understand their viewpoints.
- Determine product preferences and interests.