Finding your ideal customer

The most important activity of any business owner / entrepreneur is to clearly identify the best customers for your product or service, and then focus all marketing, advertising and sales efforts on this particular type of customer.

The greater clarity you have with regard to your ideal customer, the more focused and effective your marketing efforts will be. Identifying your ideal customer can seem like an overwhelming and daunting task. However, it’s an important step in growing and improving your business as well as growing your customer base with people who value what you do.

But – how do you get to this point of clarity? Here are some tips to help you find your business’s ideal customers:

Look at past clients: Make a list of the clients you enjoyed working with most and why. Re-read their awesome reviews about you or go over the highlights of doing business with them. Try to recognize a pattern – did they all have the same type of problem that you were able to fix with your product or service?

Now also go over any failed interactions with customers (I know, that is NOT fun!)  can you find any common thread in regards to the interactions/incidents/complaints that  these customers had? Were there particular miscommunications? You want to identify these “customer fails” as well – because then you may be able to narrow down your list of customers you are not going to spend time targeting and will allow you to focus on the right customer.

Build a Customer Profile: Create a few fictional individuals; give them names, ages, personalities, descriptions, etc., to represent customers with those characteristics. These are your personas. Make sure you think about all important characteristics like: his or her age, education, occupation / business,  income / financial situation, etc.

Target customer profile, example: Linda is 40 yr old mother of 3 boys. She is married and has a successful home-based business where she sells handmade items. Her husband is a CFO in a corporate office. They are both college graduates and have a combined income of +200k. They love camping trips with their kids and outdoor activities – they also lead a very healthy lifestyle and enjoy eating clean.

Know Your Product or Service: Take some time to jot down exactly what you offer to your customers. What needs of your customer does your product satisfy? How does your product improve your customer’s life or work? Why should people buy from you instead of your competitors? What sets you apart? Who actually benefits the most from your product or service? Identify who is actually finding value in your products or services right now.

Determine Your Goals: Are you happy with this current type of customer and are they happy with you? Do you feel that you are not already targeting the right customer? This is the time to outline your goals and determine what specifically you want to achieve that will help you alter your strategies when it comes to your customers.

How do they shop? (when and where): What time of year, season, month or week does your customer buy? How does your customer buy your product or service? How has your customer bought similar products or services in the past? Does your customer make the buying decisions for your product(s)?

When entrepreneurs aren’t clear about who their target customer is – they may end up overspending money and wasting lots of time trying to sell their product to people who really are not potential customers.  Clearly identifying your ideal customer will help you focus in on the customers who will most rapidly buy your product or service.

Have you started on your detailed customer profile? Did you realize you have been targeting the right or wrong customer all along? We would love to hear about your target customer profile in the comments below!

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