Who is the perfect customer?
While we all start out wanting to market to everyone, we can’t due to limited homepage space, time, money, staff, and overall resources. So it’s important to save ourselves as small business owners a step by getting right to either dreaming up the perfect customer and testing our thoughts (assumptions) if we haven’t started the business or finding the type of customer we want more of and learning how they tick.
In this article we are going to discuss target markets, customer personas, and resources on how to get the information you need to make smart decisions moving forward to get more customers in your store in person or online and get more money in your pocket with increased purchases.
I won’t lie the information you gather may be surprising and lead you to rethink your entire business (mismatched product-market fit) or will confirm that you are going in the right direction. So if you want to increase your success rate, increase your profits and get more paying customers to continue reading.
The first topic we are going to cover is the target market these are your people, the people who will buy your product, love your product, rave about your product and come back for more.
What is the target market?
Target marketing speaks to customers who are most likely to buy your product or service. The concept of target marketing can be applied to any kind of business, direct sales or business to business.
To start defining this group, it helps to ask a series of questions: Who are you selling to? Why should they buy your product? What do they stand to gain?
Focus on how your product or service benefits your customers. Once you understand the value you bring to your target customers, you can get the biggest bang for your marketing buck.
CONSIDER TWO RESTAURANTS
Imagine if you owned a restaurant and tried to serve dishes that suited every taste imaginable.
Just in my family, my daughter is loyal to the classic fast-food burger and fries, to me you can’t beat a nice Italian meal and my husband will pick spicy Thai every time. We value different things in our favorite restaurants.
The restaurant that tries to market to EVERYONE is going to end up running out of kitchen space, time, money, skilled staff, and overall resources pretty quickly. Plus, it won’t be memorable. It won’t stand out.
The same rules apply to all small businesses. Target marketing saves money, time and resources. It also helps your brand stand out from your competitors. It sets you up for lasting success and can change how you run your business.
Here’s an example of target marketing in action. (you may consider designing a small ad to stand out using these examples.)
Great food, great service. Restaurant #1 will deliver a tasty meal every time.
There is nothing wrong with this ad copy, but it’s generic. It misses what makes this business different.
Now consider this copy for Restaurant #2.
Visit our stylish restaurant for a contemporary made-from-scratch Italian meal. Fall in love at Restaurant #2.
This ad copy is targeted. Restaurant #2 has done some market research and found that their customers are primarily couples out for a special evening.
Restaurant #2 knows that there are few options for modern, homemade food in the area. Their marketing can set them apart and make them a go-to spot for date night.
Bottom line: Win over your target customers and you will grow your business and find lasting success.
GET STARTED GROWING
The first thing you need to know is where to look for information. By using real data instead of guessing, you may be surprised at what you find. It may cause you to change the way your business operates in big ways. Or you may be able to make some small changes in the right areas to get big results.
If you are ready to try something new that will increase your success rate, grow profits and attract more loyal customers who love what your business offers: You are in the right place.
9 STEPS TO FIND YOUR PEOPLE FAST
From my experience working with small business owners, I’ve found that defining your target audience is the hardest and most overlooked aspect of marketing.
I know it can be overwhelming — that’s why I have broken down my process into nine steps that will make it easy to start. Put your answers in writing so you have a resource to build on and to share with your team to get their ideas.
- Get in the right mindset by remembering why you started your business:
- Who did you want to help?
- Who did you think about when you imagined your customer?
- Who are you speaking to when you write an ad or a post, etc.?
- Why are you passionate about this product or service?
- What problem does your business or product solve?
2. Figure out what you already know. Look at your current customers. What do they have in common? You probably know more than you think.
3. Look for patterns. Speak to current customers or go through your reviews. You will start to see patterns emerge. What benefits are your customers getting from your business? What comes up often in reviews? Which areas get complaints?
4. Check out your competition. Look at your three biggest competitors. Who are their biggest fans? Who is engaging with their social media? Who is giving them reviews?
Don’t go after the exact same market. You should have your own brand identity and may find a niche market that they are overlooking.
5. Give your customer an identity. Figure out who has a need for your product or service, and who is most likely to buy it. There are many factors to think about:
- Demographics (facts about customers): age, location, gender, income level, education, marital or family status, occupation, ethnic background.
- Psychographics (their personal characteristics): personality, attitudes, values, interests, hobbies, lifestyles, behavior, and preferences.
6. Start to understand where you fit in. Ask how your product or service fits into your target’s lifestyle. How and when will your target use the product? What features are most appealing? What media do they use for information? Where do they hang out online?
7. Assess what you have found. This is your chance to consider the big picture. Make sure your target market makes sense. Are there enough people who fit your criteria? Will the target benefit from your product or service? Do they see a need for it? Can they afford the product/service? Can you reach them with your message?
8. Create a customer profile. This is where your target market will really take shape. Looking at the information you have gathered, you should be able to answer the following about your target customer:
- Who they are.
If you sell directly to individuals, find out your customers’ gender, age, marital status, and occupation. If you sell to other businesses, find out what size and kind of business they are. Are they a small private company or a big multinational?
- What they do.
If you sell directly to individuals, it’s worth knowing their occupations and interests. If you sell to other businesses, it helps to have an understanding of what their business is trying to achieve.
- Why, when, and how they buy. If you know why customers buy a product or service, it’s easier to match their needs to the benefits your business can offer. And if you approach a customer just at the time they want to buy, you will massively increase your chances of success. Some people prefer to buy from a website, but others prefer a face-to-face meeting.
- How much money do they have? You’ll be more successful if you can match what you’re offering to what you know your customer can afford.
- What do they expect of you? If your customers expect reliable delivery and you give that to them, you stand to gain repeat business.
- What do they think about you? Treat your target customer the way they want to be treated and they’re likely to buy more. You can only tackle problems that customers have if you know what they are.
- What do they think about your competitors? If you know how your customers view your competition, you stand a much better chance of staying ahead of your rivals. Pay attention to their biggest critics – what complaints come up again and again? Then you can highlight these features or strengths that you offer.
9. The final step: Dig deeper to get to know your target market. (this may be a good place to add graphics to illustrate these tactics)
- Add forms to your website that include fields for important information. Or create email or social media surveys for current and hopeful customers. Listen to your customers tell you who they are and what they want.
- Conduct interviews with customers and potential target audience about your product or business. Learn more about their interests and needs. These are more time-intensive than surveys but have a bigger payoff with the in-depth info you gain.
- Look at the contact database and nurture stream to identify how your customers are making decisions and the type of content you need to get more leads.
- Pull social media data about your customers. Listen to what they are putting out there and learn.
- Go where your customers hang out online. Is there a Reddit forum devoted to your product? Do you have access to reviews? There are many places you can mine online for future copy.
Finding your target market and learning how to market to them well takes time. But these nine steps are a great start!