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How to define your ideal customer to improve your marketing

There are so many ways of marketing your business. Whether you want to use digital and social media marketing, or face to face and traditional techniques, before you do anything it’s really important to start with a good understanding of your ideal customer.

Why do you need to understand your customer? I can think of four great reasons which are at the heart of growing a successful business.

  1. So you can get your product or service offer right
  2. So you can get the pricing right
  3. So you can get your messages right
  4. So you can put those messages in the right place

And the ultimate reason

  1. so you can sell more of your product or service to those people

Preparing your ideal customer profile

So before you start marketing, write your ideal customer profile. What do you need to know about your ideal customer? This will vary depending on whether you are a product or service business, and if you are selling to consumers or to other businesses. Much of it may seem very obvious at first. But whatever your business, the easy place to start is with the demographics. Is your ideal customer male or female? What age are they? And are they in a particular geographic area, a particular sector? Are they parents, grandparents or single people?

Think about their life stages. Are they about to become parents, or in the process of moving house? Maybe you do your best work with entrepreneurs who want to take on their first employee or grow their business? Some of this information you can gather from your own data, from your experience and from your team’s knowledge of the customers they work with every day.

Once you have covered the basics, you can start to think about what motivates them. What are their pain points and what problem are they trying to fix? What are their relevant opinions and attitudes? Why should they come to you to solve their problem?

You may have many different customers and may struggle to work out who to focus on. When you are doing this exercise, look at the customers you consider to be the “best” – maybe the ones that spend the most, those who are repeat customers or those who you feel you make the most difference to.

Defining the ideal customer

So let’s take an example of a small practice based business.

A financial services business may analyse their clients and discover that the “best customers” are those that they have helped with a one off situation, for example, a mortgage, but have then returned for help with pension advice or when looking to buy life cover. They may also have recommended the practice to a friend.

Their customer analysis shows that these customers are both male and female, maybe a couple, probably in their late 30s to 50s, from within a 20 mile radius of the practice. They are intelligent people but don’t have the time or expertise to do detailed comparisons of different financial products. In their working lives they are used to using experts for financial, legal, IT or marketing matters so in their personal lives they are happy to use the services of an expert advisor. They are people that are driven by a need to have their affairs in order, and to have peace of mind around their finances.

Creating your service to fit your ideal customer

Understanding that level of detail about a client means the practice can start to look at their service. They can offer annual reviews to help clients ensure they are always up to date with their financial planning. They can focus their marketing messages on a particular age group in a geographic area.

They know their clients will trust them with advice and are happy to receive occasional messages where it is of help – for example if a legislation change means their pension needs a review or if they may benefit from a new mortgage product. The practice can also target messages around life stages such as moving house and retirement.

Benefits of understanding your ideal customer

Conducting this process has a number of benefits. It means there are no assumptions about customers, everyone in the business is clear about who they are targeting. It means any new staff can be fully briefed, and any consultants working for the business eg a web designer, knows who the target audience is. It also ensures marketing budget is focussed on reaching that audience, and any opportunities can be evaluated for their ability to deliver that audience.

Download my free 2 page tool to help you define your ideal customer

Preparing your customer profile is the first step in developing a comprehensive marketing strategy for your business. If you would like help with this or any other aspect of marketing strategy, please get in touch.

 

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Jenny Procter Bondfield Marketing

Marketing for experts and introverts.

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