Who do you think your products or services appeal to?
If your answer is “everyone” keep reading. Businesses with too large a target market (i.e. every household in America) struggle to get any customers at all, and here’s why: not understanding who your customer really is keeps you from being able to better serve that customer.
Paint a Picture
If you’ve never completed an exercise on identifying your ideal customer, I encourage you to do one now. Grab a notebook or start typing. Answer the questions fully, and get creative if you’re not sure of the answers. The goal is to paint a picture of who your ideal customer is. You’ll likely have other types of customers, but focus on the ones that you enjoy serving, and who you want more of:
- Who is my ideal customer in terms of age, gender, education, location?
- What other sorts of products do they buy that relate to mine?
- If you’re B2B, what role does your customer have in their company?
- Where do they get their information about brands? Online? Print? Television? Friends?
- How did they find your company?
- What’s important to them?
- What do they think of the value of your product?
Next, take a tip from Ivana Taylor of DIY Marketers, who suggests modeling your ideal client profile on an actual client. Consider what makes this customer perfect in your mind. You can physically draw a person or cut images and words from a magazine to visually define this person. When you’re done, your profile may be similar to this example:
“My ideal client is a male small business owner. His budget is small, but not tiny, and he understands the value of marketing, though he may not have the skills or time to work on it himself. He also invests in an accountant, as well as web-based sales software. He reads small business blogs (which is how he found my company). He values customer relationships and trust over just getting more web traffic. He finds my prices a little high, but knows that the investment is worthwhile.”
Shedding the Rest
The purpose of this exercise is to ensure that all your marketing, web copy and messaging targets this specific type of customer. Again, if your branding is too generic, and you’re trying to be all things to all people, you’ll fail. Zero in on writing your messaging directly to this ideal customer, and you’ll find that you instantly attract more of them.
The secondary purpose of the exercise is to get rid of the client types you don’t want. You know the ones – you lose money working with them simply because they take up a lot of your time. Or they try to nickel and dime you on projects. These customers aren’t worth your time, and by better targeting your messaging, you’ll send subtle signals that send them the other way.
By properly identifying who your ideal customer is, you set your company on the right track to getting more (and better) business.
Identification Photo via Shutterstock