Many businesses fall into the trap of marketing to everyone because they think their products and service are needed by them. Reaching an audience of this size can be very expensive and time consuming. No business – especially a young start up – can be all things to all people. The more you narrowly define your market, the more effective you’ll be at reaching them and getting your message across.
Here are the 6 questions to ask yourself so you can identify your ideal customer.
1 – What are your business objectives?
Refer back to your original business plan and identify your business objectives. This will clarify how aggressive you need to be in reaching your target audience and desired market share. Are you open to other suppliers reselling your products?
2 – Who are they?
There are two main markets you can target. You can sell to consumers or businesses. For some businesses both channels are worthwhile avenues that need to be targeted. You must first identify which potential customers are your primary target markets. Consider their demographic traits such as age and gender. Psychographic traits such as lifestyle and behaviour are also important and need to be identified. You may also have a secondary target market that takes second priority when allocating your resources.
3 – What’s their problem?
Every person on your list of target customers have a problem they are trying to solve, or a desire they are hoping to fulfil. Most customer problems belong in one of four areas. It is either a necessity (a need), or a desire (a want), which is required immediately (urgent) or in the long term. Identifying which quadrant your customers belong in will help you determine their motivations and their likely purchase path. You can use these motivations to craft a relevant and targeted advertising and marketing campaign that will resonate with your target customers.
4 – Where do they get their information?
Are your target customer’s avid consumers of television, radio, magazines, and websites? Which media do they consume most and at what times during the week? Remember that most people consume different types of information depending on the problem they’re trying to solve. For example, a person looking for a legal solution to a problem will not use social media to find that answer.
5 – What alarms their BS detector?
Consumers are exposed to many advertisements and claims every day. You need to build trust with your potential customers. Back up your claims with proof and reviews, where possible
6 – Who do they trust?
Who do your target customers listen to? Their peers? Colleagues? Perhaps others they can directly relate to? Once you’ve identified the people that have influence, you can use them to get your message across to your target customers through testimonials, opinion pieces or endorsements.
Getting to know your ideal customer and developing buyer profiles takes time to get right. It is well worth the investment and will benefit every aspect of the business. From product development, to content marketing and sales prospecting – an in-depth understanding of your customers will ensure your efforts are not wasted on those people who were never going to buy your products or use your services.