We often make this mistake of using the term User and Customer interchangeably, and withal focusing more or I’d say only on the customer. As we think, the customer is the only king.
But could these two terms be used interchangeably?
Well, to your surprise they should not be. They definitely have reasonably good distinguishing aspects stringed along with them which make it criminal for a marketer to think of them as same. And the same applies to user engagement and customer engagement.
Understanding the Major Difference
Let’s straighten these two out-
Your User is someone who sees your message. Someone whom you think might be interested in even knowing about your product or your service. This person could be anyone. He might just be someone who is visiting your website, strolling through your store, glancing at your social ad, the flyer that you published last week, or maybe just hearing about you from a friend (Word of Mouth). This person might never have made any purchase from you so far, but there are chances that they might.
Your customer, on the other hand, is the one who is buying from you. Someone who has a deep and genuine need for the benefit that your product or service provides. Someone actually willing to give you cash for what you sell. If they have no interest in what you sell, and will never make a purchase, they are not your customer and never will be. And that’s fine. Remember, no one can be all things to all people. So there is no business that can say, “Everyone’s our customer!”. Your customers will always be in direct contact with you. You might even have some of their personal details like- email ids and name. You can say, “We know this person”.
Simply put customers are usually a refine segment of your users, which are most likely to become buyers. Obviously, your users are going to be more diverse and possibly larger than your customer base. There will be people in your users who aren’t your customers.
As a marketer, we are well aware of the fact that we need to engage with our audience at each stage of buyer cycle. We know, we have to follow the golden rule of marketing- Attract, Convert, Leads, Close, and Delight. We have recited this in our heads zillions of times that engagement is the key to a successful marketing plan.
With lots of effort do we craft a communication that assures engagement but, the question that lies here is, whom do you need to craft your messages for?
Customer is the king. Is that true ?
Here, we all have a confession to make, we commit a mistake and we do it all the time. The mistake of keeping customers above users all the time. We say it all the time-Your customer wants this, Your customers will like that. But today we are vowing to change that. We had a change in my thinking and there is no going back now.
You know the old adage – the customer is king, well there’s a new king and every business today must shift their focus to the much broader world of the user. A large segment of this user community may never buy from you, but in today’s increasingly digital world they do influence how your brand is perceived and, in the end, who does or does not become a customer.
So, we need to change this mindset of focusing our engagement strategies only to your customers and immediately shift to establish an enhanced user engagement.
Converting your Users into Customers – Why and How?
- When you make the shift in thinking about your customers instead of your users you make a shift in driving people towards sales instead of towards content consumption only.
- When you communicate to your prospective customers, you can get much more focused on the type of communication that will work best for them.
The trick is to become indispensable, through content and interaction to a large group of users, those that may never spend a dime with you, and your customers will naturally fall from this group. The larger the user group, the larger the customer pool. If you’re looking to acquire a customer base for your online business, you need to go where the people are.
To know about the best practices for audience/user engagement, read our next post – The Science behind User-Engagement.