In our small business marketing, we tend to plow headlong into ideas and initiatives for one of two reasons:
- The competition is doing it;
- We like the idea.
Hang on, though. Does this approach make sense?
It’s important to state the obvious here: neither the competition nor our internal personnel are the intended audience of our marketing efforts. The goal of our marketing is to attract new customers and serve our existing customer base in the best possible way. So, it makes sense that our focus should be on creating and executing marketing plans that appeal to the correct audience.
Identifying Your Ideal Customer
Who is your ideal customer? Before you can answer that, you need to understand what an ideal customer is.
The person whose specific needs are met by your products or services is your ideal customer.
Simple enough, right? However, in order for this concept to be useful, we need to further define who that is. There are some questions you can ask yourself to help you narrow in on a profile of that ideal customer.
- What is it that you offer?
- What problems do you solve?
- Who benefits from your products or services?
- How does what you offer differ from the competition? (think in terms of both scope, price, and delivery)
- Who are your best customers now? Why? And what do they have in common?
- What past customer relationships didn’t go as well as you would have liked? Why?
- Perhaps a portion of your current customer base is not in line with your goals for the company. If so, in what ways do they not line up?
- What future customer is in line with your growth goals?
Based on the answers to these questions, you can begin to draw a profile of your ideal customer. You can narrow in on a profile that might include demographic profiles, interests, business size, industry, and price tolerance.
I ran across this interesting article on what you can learn from selling to the wrong audience. She describes a case study and some great takeaways that came from the company’s assumptions about their ideal customer.
“Our audience and marketing language would have to change in order to reflect this new, unexpected customer profile.” – Forbes.com article
Craft Your Marketing to Your Audience
Once you have defined your ideal customer, how does your marketing match up? Does one serve and appeal to the other? If not, it’s time to spend a little time bringing things in line. Both the message and the delivery of that message should be crafted to speak to the specific concerns and behaviors of your ideal customer. What is their unique set of problems and in what way can you offer solutions?
If you need an idea partner in reviewing and planning for your audience, we’d love to talk with you. Creating that match in a creative way for small businesses is what we do.