As a marketing lecturer I always tell my students that it makes no sense to develop a product with the best packaging and design and don’t know who will purchase the product from you and continue to give you repeat business.
An ideal customer to your business is one where your product or service is able to satisfy their specific need(s).
Part of a successful business plan includes defining who your ideal customer will be. In marketing we go a step further and ask that marketers design and keep a customer profile. A customer profile essentially includes information about the buying characteristics and other demographics of your customer. It breaks down the profile into specifics such as the age or age range of your customers, gender, income and location. The profile can also get even more specific with softer factors than help determine why customers purchase from you:
- What other sorts of products do they buy that relate to yours?
- How frequently do they purchase your product?
- What do they think of the value of your product?
As an entrepreneur if I asked you who do you think your products or services appeal to? I hope the answer is not everyone! I’ll tell you why.
If your answer is “everyone” you may be in trouble. Businesses with too large a target market struggle to get ANY clients at all, far less repeat customers. Here’s why: not understanding who your customer really is keeps you from being able to better serve that customer. What’s equally as important here is that once you have clearly defined your customer you can craft a communications strategy on how to reach them and keep them coming back for more.
So how do you find your ideal customer?
For any entrepreneur already in business, I ask you to carry out the following steps:
- Understand your product or service well
Your product or service should be satisfying your customers’ needs. The product or service should be solving some problem and distinguishing you from your competition.
- Develop and evaluate business goals as it relates to your core customers.
Are you satisfied with these customers? Is this market sustainable or large enough for your business to grow? Do you want new and different customers? What will you have to change about your offering to meet changing customer needs?
- Create an Ideal customer profile.
At one time all your customers were prospects, by defining your ideal customer you are in fact identifying your ideal prospect. The kind of prospect you want to attract and convert into a paying client.
- Identify Patterns in your customers.
It is important to identify patterns and trends in your customers purchasing habits. This is the only way to design strategies to keep them coming back for more.
By properly identifying who your ideal customer is, you set your company on the right track to getting more (and better) business.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Debbie-Ann Jollie is a Marketing Strategist and the principal Director of HashSpace Limited. She is a certified trainer with over 15 years’ experience in marketing management both in public and private organizations as well as through consulting.