Understanding your customers better isn’t as complex as you might think, but it does require a thoughtful analysis of where and how you can collect meaningful data. By better defining which aspects of their behavior or profiles are most significant to your business, you can start to measure and analyze better ways to engage them and ultimately sell more.

Here are a few things that make the job more efficient:

Collect Demographic Information. To create targeted communications and offers that wow your customers, you need relevant details such as gender, age, marital status, hobbies, income, business type, and maybe even shoe size. To collect this type of information, you can utilize questionnaires or database appending services such as Dunn & Bradstreet.

Follow Customer Data and Behavior. A good system of keeping notes allows you to track everything about your customers. A high quality customer database or relationship management system (CRM) will track demographics, interests, past purchases, behaviors and more.

Conduct a Survey. To gather valuable data, send out an email survey. The survey responses will show interests, how they feel about your products and services, what products they may be searching for and much more. This type of data can assist you in addressing individual customer needs as well as giving you a view of your future ‘big picture’.

Listen to Your Customers. How many times have you heard this statement? “The absolute truth is that listening is the best way to develop better relationships with your customers by soliciting their feedback.” With local customers, you can host a live customer appreciation event, or hold a virtual event (via social media) if you have a larger list.

The more detailed a picture you have of your target customers, the more effective and targeted your marketing can be. And if you know which individual customers are the most valuable, you can go that extra mile to encourage them to spend with your business.  Leveraging customer data can lead to happier customers, reduced client churn and bigger profits.