We’re no longer in the age of ‘push marketing’ where flashy ads and outrageous claims were used to sell a product to a customer, any customer who would buy. We’re now in the age of ‘pull marketing’ which is where you target the right customer with the right product or service at the right time. It’s a longer process, but absolutely worth it in the end, because you would have developed a genuine relationship, built on trust over time.
I’ve outlined a comprehensive process you can follow to help you understand and profile your ideal customer and I’ve included some examples of what you can do with this invaluable information.
If you remember, last week I talked about my 4 Part growth framework, The Clockwork Principle.
It’s made up of 4 elements
These 4 elements or gears work together to help advance the clock (your business) forward. Understanding who your ideal customer is is vital part of developing Element 1- your identity. Knowing who you are, who your business serves and how you set up your business to deliver that product or service builds the identity gear that helps drive growth.
If you haven’t read it yet, go check it out here.
Knowing who you serve is absolutely key to growing your business.
And let’s get this out of the way now,
YOU DO NOT HAVE TO SELL TO EVERYONE TO HAVE A THRIVING BUSINESS.
Repeat after me;
I DO NOT HAVE TO SELL TO EVERY TOM, DICK AND HARRY TO HAVE A THRIVING BUSINESS.
Did you repeat it? Great! Now, I want you to do a little exercise with me:
Think about your favourite client (N.B. anyone with money is not the answer)
Think about why they are your favourite client. What did they do or what characteristics did they have specifically that made them a good fit for your business?
How old are they?
Are they married?
Do they have children?
What do they wear?
What is their personality like?
Where did you meet them?
What is their favourite thing in the whole world?
What were they most frustrated about before they found you?
Does anyone come to mind?
If yes, great!
If not, honey, we have some work to do.
You may have been in business for years, and still not know who your ideal client is because you just assumed that anyone who paid you for your product or service was ideal. However, we are not in the business of throwing spaghetti at the wall and hoping it sticks. You need to have way more information about the people who do business with you so that you can target them better.
It’s ok if you don’t know who this ideal client is, because now is the time for you to get it down on paper (or virtual document! #savetrees). Read on below to find out what you need to do to develop this profile:
Research, research, research!
If you know me by now, you know I’m always talking about research. It informs so many business decisions and this is why it’s very important to do thorough research. You can get information directly from the source and it usually involves using questionnaires, calling someone or having a focus group. You can also get information from other sources such as as market research, articles and reports. Doing research on your particular industry helps to identify the many different types of customers that you could possibly come into contact with and who might be a fit for your business based on your past and current customers and whether they match up with the industry profiles created.
The best place to start is by researching your own customers. You can have a small focus group with a few of your most loyal clients or schedule a short 20 minute call with them to find out some more information. Listen to the language they use to describe your business, their frustrations and how they feel about your products or services.
Next, if you have a website you can look at your analytics (a fancy word for data analysis) to track customer behaviour. Look at which pages they visit, what products they looked at; if they favourited or saved anything, if they added a product to their cart and then abandoned it and so on. You can also use email marketing analytics to get an idea of how your customer behaves as well.
Social media can also be a great tool to find out more about your ideal customer. You can ask them questions directly to get answers or you can again look at the analytics to see how your customers are interacting with your business. For example, look at what kinds of posts are popular, how often you post, what time of the day you post.
Even your products or services can tell you a lot about your customer. Look at your sales data and see which ones are most popular and what time of the year they were popular. Have customers ever told you why they love your products? Looking at feedback and reviews can also give you a great idea about your customer likes and dislikes and preferences. Even customer complaints can help.
You need to know intimately, deeply that person who is the right fit for your business. The reason why you need to have a complete understanding of your ideal buyer is because all your products, services and marketing and even your business model will be geared towards them. If they’re the ones buying, doesn’t it make sense to focus your efforts on them? When you know who that Perfect Patty (or Patrick) is then you’ll know what products or services to direct her attention to, you’ll know where to reach her and what medium to market your services to her. Knowing your ideal customer informs basically all your business and marketing operations.
What problem do you solve for your customer and how
So, what exactly do I do with this information Renée?
Well you use this information to:
Create a customer profile
(or a customer avatar or buyer persona. Lots of different names that do the same thing: provide an extensive description of who you ideal customer is).
Your customer profile will answer questions such as
What kind of job they have
Economic status- e.g Income levels
Location- where they live, work or go to school
Where they hang out- online and offline
What their personality is like
What kind of music, food or decor they like
Who and where they look for reviews and information
Their major problems (pain points)
Their hopes, dreams and desires
Their core values
Their buying habits
Organisations or groups they belong to
Improve your product or service
All this information can help you to improve your product, the kinds of products and services you offer and even how you operate your business. For example, your customer might like efficiency, in which case a delivery service can work for them. For others, they might prefer a more high touch service, so you can look at doing some type of concierge, on site or on location service to maintain that level of personal connection with them.
Here’s another example: if your ideal customer is very hands on and likes to try before they buy, perhaps you can make product samples available, where they are able to test, taste or touch the product.
Tailor your marketing
Whether you’re marketing in person, on social media or through another channel; now that you know so much about your customer and their behaviour, you now know what kind of language to use when trying to attract and maintain the attention of your ideal client. Based on their preferences you’ll know what visuals and what imagery to use, you’ll know what kind of emotions you want to evoke and how you want them to feel after interacting with your business.
Create more targeted content
When you know what your customer’s pain points are, what their likes and dislikes and preferences, the groups they’re part of, you can now create and curate content on social media or elsewhere that your customer will like. For example you can create how to articles or videos explaining how to solve a specific problems, make product or service recommendations to help solve a particular problem your customer has; you can share content from other sources that you know your customer follows. In this way you benefit twice; by producing content your customer will love and by having information that a future customer will also appreciate.
Now you know exactly how to go about developing your ideal client profile and how to use that information to help grow your business. It takes some work, but I assure you (again) that it is absolutely worth it in the long run.
Until next time,