Let me ask you a question: Do you know who your target customer(s) is? Have you identified who fits perfectly with your business? Believe me this is just as important as buying clothing or a piece of footwear, if it doesn’t fit there will be pain, disappointment and refunds. Worse still if the end result left your customer with a bad taste in their mouth you may have tarnished your reputation too for good measure (see my Brand blog post).
Another reason, to spend some time exploring who your ideal customer is, is to enable you to save both time and money on your marketing efforts. Marketing to the masses just isn’t smart on a limited budget. Especially if you are a sole trader or small business owner. Your time is precious so make it count.
Effort (time) + Investment (money) = Return (earnings)
It’s all about you!
So, you’re now convinced spending time on this is a good thing, great, now what do you do? Well firstly you need to consider a few factors:
- What product are you selling?
- What price do you sell or want (need) to sell it at?
- How much time do you have available / want to spend providing your service per person / business?
- Based on above factors “How many customers do you need to generate?”
- How many prospective customers do you need to turn into enquiries and ultimately paying customers in order to break even or (yes please!) make a profit?
Unless you understand this you are in danger of spending too little or too much time on your marketing activity and maybe even on the wrong things. Worse still you will be attracting the wrong kind of customer who will take up your time but not help to grow your business.
Customer Profiling – A whistle stop tour
At this point you may be saying, hang on, I can’t whittle all of my customers into one target customer! My customers are all completely different and all of them help me to pay my bills. To this reasonable questions, I have 2 thoughtful answers:
- Which of these customers would you like more of? There will be some customers you like (or even love) working with more than others. Spend a bit of time working out why. Is it because: they pay more promptly, it takes less time to do their work or you enjoy spending time with them? Whatever it is, make a note of it. This is now your criteria. You can use this to filter your target customers and enquiries to make sure you end of working with the customers that best fit you.
- If the above doesn’t work for you, I have a second suggested approach so don’t panic. Looking at your existing customers, can you pick 3 at random? For each of these customers make a note about their characteristics (this list gives you an idea but isn’t exhaustive) e.g.:
- How old are they (if it is a business then how long they have been established for)?
- What type of business are they?
- What is their personal situation e.g. married, single, children?
- What is their problem and how did you solve it?
- What did they like best about your product or service, are they likely to buy from you again and are they happy to recommend you?
- What else do you know about them e.g. interests?
Now you have a reference guide
By doing this you are profiling them, which means you are recording what your ideal customers should be like. Use these 3 profiles as a way of filtering your target customers. If the ones you have profiled don’t appear to be profitable or beneficial for your business then select the ones that do. The point is to have something you can use as a reference so you don’t have to start from scratch every time you receive an enquiry or want to create some marketing material. If you find any of the above a bit daunting and would like some help from me then please do get in touch.