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Have you ever heard the saying that you can’t be everything to everyone?
You can spend every penny you have on marketing and advertising, but if your message doesn’t reach the people who want to buy what you’re selling, then that money isn’t being spent wisely. For small to mid-size businesses, it really isn’t feasible to try to market to everyone, everywhere. You need to focus on getting your message in front of people who buy what you’re selling–your ideal customers.
Here’s what you need to do to reach your ideal customers, and it starts with creating an ideal customer profile.
What Is an Ideal Customer Profile?
Developing your ideal customer profile allows you to tailor your products and marketing materials to the people most likely to buy from you. You’ll have a better idea of how to reach them. Plus, understanding your ideal customer will help you develop a stronger relationship with your existing customers. That’s scalable.
An ideal customer profile is simply a description of the type of person (or company if you’re B2B) who would get the most value from the product or service you’re offering and who has the resources to buy what you sell. Creating one is a three-step process:
- Identify your best customers.
- Research who they are and what they’re like.
- Use this information to build a hypothetical customer profile.
Identifying Your Best Customers
If you’re just getting your business started, ask yourself what problem your products or services solve and who needs that solution. If your business is already up and running, simply look at your existing customers–particularly your repeat customers.
Look for patterns. For instance, are most of your best customers people in their 30s? Or small manufacturing companies? Are your customers mostly local, overseas, or elsewhere?
Gather all the demographic information you can: age, gender, family status, geographical location, income, etc. For a B2B, your list might be location, size of the company, age of company, budget, or image or brand values.
Understanding What Your Ideal Customer Wants
Next, figure out why they keep coming back to you. Look at customer feedback (the good and the bad). What do they like about your company? Understanding what you’re already doing to get and retain their business is critical to understanding what your ideal customer is looking for and showing them why they should want to buy from you.
If you can, try to ask your best customers directly (by doing some phone interviews or sending them a questionnaire). Getting to know your customers personally will give you even more insight.
Create a Hypothetical Customer Profile
Take the information you’ve gathered and create a basic profile. Every company’s ideal customer profile will be a little different. For instance, if you’re a contractor specializing in home renovations, your ideal customer might be local men and women in their 40s with growing families and middle to upper class incomes who live in older homes.
Or if you operate a janitorial service, your ideal customer might be small and medium-sized business with offices staffed by 50-200 employees, involved in creative services like architecture, advertising, or design.
Aim Your Marketing at Your Ideal Customer
Once you understand who your ideal customer is, you can focus your marketing efforts directly on that customer. Focused marketing doesn’t mean you won’t reach customers who don’t quite fit your ideal customer profile. It simply ensures your message reaches the people most likely to buy from you.
Your ideal client is out there waiting to hear from you. Get to know them so you can share your message with them.