Understanding your customer is the critical starting point when it comes to generating leads and increasing conversion rates. Your customers' needs drive company growth, which means you must recognize those needs before crafting or adjusting strategies. Capturing these needs, however, isn't always easy. Fortunately, there are many customer insight tools available to help you out.
Facebook Business offers insights and tools you can use to understand the market in general, compile data on people who like your page, track conversions (e.g., content consumption and sign-ups) and more. Facebook's Custom Audiences tool can also generate a Lookalike Audience based on a customer list or data from your site. This way, you can identify new customers with behaviors and demographic characteristics similar to your existing customers. With almost 1.6 billion users (as Tech Crunch points out), this data management platform (or DMP) is robust.
Twitter's audience insights dashboard also offers strong demographic data with an array of dimensions, and lets you reach prospective customers. Google Analytics, AdWords and DoubleClick ads, which will give you data — including demographics, user engagement, user flow (how a user travels through your website), content consumption, interests and conversions — can help paint a picture of your website visitors and the users clicking your ads.
There are also a number of free services available to help you conduct data research to help you better understand your customer. Think with Google's Marketer's Almanac will show you how customers' behavior changes, and how they browse and buy across different seasons and holidays.
Nielsen's MyBestSegments offers tools to help you understand demographic information and lifestyle habits based on specific areas, so you can use this data to identify which areas would be more receptive to a particular campaign.
SurveyMonkey is a great tool, too: Surveys can help you understand your market and your customers' preferences.
Understanding your customer makes your sales and marketing efforts more effective, and using these tools makes research more accessible than ever — but all the options and data can be overwhelming. I mean, you're trying to run your business, right? Who has time for all this research? Working with an established marketing partner that can help you gather and analyze data, and craft solutions that are hyper-targeted to your customers is sometimes the most efficient route. After all, you've got a business to run.