How well do you know your customers? Their important characteristics, their pain points, their needs, their desires, and their priorities.
The process of discovering this information is often called building a customer profile or avatar – a fictional character that embodies your ideal customer’s key characteristics. We agree, it’s more fun to jump right into the marketing stuff, but if you don’t know who your customer is, how is your message going to reach and resonate with them? The more you research, understand, and clarify who your customers are, the better you can develop and implement a plan to meet their needs.
There are many good reasons why you should really dig deep to get to know your customers. Here are some key points:
Determining your target market
The process of learning your customer’s profile may be time-consuming but the biggest result is that you will know who your customer is: their characteristics, their problems, their preferences, their desires.
There are lots of ways to gather this information (and it should be an ongoing process of continual refinement), like industry reviews, market surveys, focus group data collection, talking with your existing repeat or long-term customers, etc. All of these strategies will help you to know just who in the market will have the greatest need and therefore use for your product or service. You may even find out some things that surprise you, that you’d never considered, that will help you reach customers you never connected with before.
Identifying an under-served market
Did you know that no matter the size of your business, you can still compete favorably with other businesses to win customers over? If you dig, you will find which section of the market is under-served and needing help.
Instead of doing blanket marketing to reach every customer who could use your product, having a focused marketing plan that fits a smaller and under-served section of the total market is the best way to carve out a niche for your product, as well as establish loyal customers. Everybody wants to stick with the one service provider that went out of their way to reach them and serve their needs.
Crafting customer-centric messages
Did you know that sometimes you miss out on great customers because they do not necessarily understand how your product will change or impact their life?
The beauty of knowing the true identity of your target customer(s) is that you can then more effectively and strategically package the information you send out to them during your marketing campaigns.
Each of your customers has a unique preference and special need, and it would go a long way if they felt like you are talking to each of them directly.
Using precise business strategies
Once you are clear on who you are targeting, it is much easier to make decisions on your business activities. Be it marketing, production or any other logistics, understanding your customers will help you focus your business strategies. For example to know which channels to reach them by or what way to package their products best. This precise way of approaching business processes will not only make sure you achieve maximum returns on your investment but it will also reduce the chances of missed targets.
Increasing return on investment
You may be operating on a limited budget. But, even if your budget is large, you do not want to be wasting money or other resources on missed customer opportunities. Having the right demographics for your target audience will keep your budget in check because you will focus your efforts on the section of the market that is most likely to purchase the product and guarantee the highest profit potential. In this way, you will maximize all possible returns for your business by managing costs.
How well do you know your ideal customer? Have you written out a customer profile (or avatar) that you then refer to when you’re working on your marketing and/or share with your sales and marketing team? If you have a few different ideal customers, have you done the same for each group? When did you last review and update your profile (remember, this should be an ongoing process)?
One final comment… creating or updating your customer profile(s) is a vital step in the success of your marketing and business. But we all need to be continually reaching out to our customers. I’m not suggesting you stop your marketing until you have a completed profile. But I am strongly encouraging you to also carve out some time to focus on your customer profile(s) so that you can refine and maximize your upcoming marketing plans. Seriously… this is one of the most important things you can do for your business today.
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