It is a simple question but one that doesn’t have a simple answer: How do I find more ideal customers? I am defining ‘ideal customers’ as customers who love you, and you love them as customers too. They refer often and continue to support your business, while at the same time are great to deal with. Ideal customers are a joy to have and we want more of them – right? Then it’s time to do some homework:
Finding your ideal customer
Have you defined your ideal “customer”? If you haven’t, you will be attempting to be all things to all people, including those people who don’t really know what they need and those who waste their’s and your time. Not all customers are created equal, you will be surprised to learn.
Your business cannot serve every customer profitably. You need to invest your limited resources attracting those customers who bring you the most value and who you can satisfy their needs easily with your normal business strengths and competencies. And you need results from your marketing efforts which take time and resources away from the actual ‘doing’ of your business.
So how do you define your best customer? We can begin with examining the needs of your most loyal customers, either when dealing with them, calling them or doing an email survey. You can use your business data to identify which customers spend the most, use your satisfaction surveys to know which are happiest because they tell you and tell their friends. In a nutshell, loyal customers use the broadest range of your business offerings, purchase on a regular, repeated basis and provide the best profit margins.
Identifying customer needs and concerns
Your next challenge will be to understand why these customers have chosen your product or service. Which of their needs and wants have you been able to successfully meet?
If you have frontline staff, ask those people who know your customers best. Part of this process, is finding out as much as you can about how your customer’s business works and how your products and services met their needs and in what context. Who makes the purchasing decisions and who influences it? How long is the buying cycle from initial identification of needs to purchase decision? What information do they need to do that and when?
Your best sources of data will be your customers themselves. There are a number of ways to engage customers in a dialogue to learn why and how they buy. Simple two-way dialogue directly with current customers, via social media platforms, establishing users’ groups, customer e-newsletters or interviewing customers for case studies, articles; and conducting surveys or focus groups.
Compare customer needs to your strengths
The reality is that 80 percent of your customers buy from you for one major, or no more than three major or minor reasons. What are they and how well do those reasons match your business strengths and competencies?
Beware though, as one customer’s perception of their needs being satisfied, may be different to another. It’s important to know which is which, and for whom. Test all your assumptions.
In the course of this analysis what matters, however, is what your best customers think and feel. If something is important to them, then it’s an important benefit. Once those benefits have been identified, you should be nurturing them, refining your ability to deliver them and promoting them to other potential customers.
By defining your ideal customers’ needs, their buying behaviour and their benefits, it will help you determine the best marketing message and your most cost effective marketing promotions. If you want to make marketing easier and more effective, please contact me and let me help you through the process of identifying your ideal customer, differentiating your strengths, and creating a clear benefit focussed message that you can communicate clearly and consistently.
As always, I love to hear your thoughts on the subject – so, please leave a comment below?
About the author: Teresa Bassham is the Boss Lady and Chief Coach of Zenworkz Authentic Marketing, and is passionate about educating small and medium business professionals to create their authentic marketing and brand message, attract more ideal customers and create a marketing plan to achieve success. Visit my website for free resources and subscribe for e-News updates on all topics related marketing.
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