With online sales scooping up more and more market share every year, it has never been more critical to have an idea of your ideal customer. Indeed, most marketing plan templates encourage business owners to spend time to establish what their ideal customer looks and thinks like. Some even go as far as to encourage the owner to draw a picture of them! There are so many sales and marketing channels out there today that you’ll either burn out or run out of cash if you attempt to target all of them. Fortunately, advertising channels and other business tools have evolved to keep up, and if you know who you want to sell to, it has never been easier to find them.
1. Start with the Ideal Customer
If you don’t have a marketing plan, you may never have considered your ideal customer. Without that – either on paper or at least as a mental image – the additional tips below are unlikely to have much of an impact on your sales and marketing.
The procedure can be as long or as short as you like. You may want to target a broad range of potential customers, mainly if your products are mainstream or general-purpose. Indeed, for some of our readers, it might be quicker to eliminate the wrong customers than to focus on the right ones. This approach should still yield excellent results and reduce your marketing spend, especially if it takes over from a more scattergun, hopeful attempt to get your name out there.
2. Renovate Your Sales Page
Too many business owners and marketers attempt to make the sale with the advert. Ideally, that would be the case – if every sale earned more than the advert cost and anyone that clicked was guaranteed to buy, everyone’s job would be much more comfortable. However, that is not how it works, and your landing page, together with the rest of the website, still has plenty of work to do. Our focus here is on acquiring visits and leads – converting them into paid clients is down to you.
3. Push Towards Targeted Marketing
Different advertising channels will present various opportunities to those seeking out their perfect customer. Facebook famously knows quite a bit about members. Privacy concerns aside, their targeting features are excellent if you have narrowed your ideal customer down. If you know where they live, their age and their hobbies and interests, an hour spent on Facebook marketing can often ensure you get yourself in front of the right people.
4. Use Your Customer Profile for more than Marketing
It is all well and good targeting your ideal customer through your marketing efforts, but do your products and services measure up? Before you blow your marketing budget on getting your name out there, make sure that what you offer meets the profile criteria too. Your existing products and services may well have driven your ideal customer profile, in which case you’ll have no issues. However, if there is a disconnect, it can often be to the detriment of your sales effort.
5. Don’t Forget Branding
No matter how direct your marketing and how well-researched your audience, brand recognition always plays a part. If you’ve decided to pay to get in front of the right sets of eyes, make sure to get your name out there. They may not buy today, but if they see your name again in a few days, the fact that they recognise the name and logo means that they may buy then – and with even more confidence than before.
6. Use Customer Profiles to Drive Content
You’re probably quite biased about your business. You think its great and are happy to tell everyone that. It may well be correct, but is it what your customers want to read? If you can refine your customer profile to the point that you know their likes and dislikes, the more opportunities you’ll have to target them with laser focus going forward. Also, if your audience consists of certain types of people, it should also drive the tone of your online and social content.
7. The Ideal Customer Profile is Never Finished
The only time when a customer profile stops being useful and relevant is when it is so specific that such a person no longer exists and there is nobody left to sell to. If you reach that point, you should shift your efforts to the creation of new products that appeal to a different audience – potentially under a different brand. Businesses rarely reach the point where they can claim to have reached this level, so take every sale and learning experience as an opportunity to refine your targeting.
8. Try to Avoid Guesswork
You might not know your ideal customer yet, especially if sales are low. That means that you’ll have to make a few guesses and assumptions. However, you should try not to go overboard. The nature of a guess is that while it can be right, it can be very wrong. One misstep in your customer profile can lead to targeting the wrong audience altogether – and that means a waste of your marketing budget.
9. Implement Ways to Learn More
The more you know, the more authentic your profile becomes. It can be unprofessional to ask too many questions as part of the sales process, but you should give some thought to any more than a name and email address you can pick up to further mould your offering. You might also consider surveys, polls and other forms of data collection if you find that your ideal profile has remained stagnant for a while.
10. Let the Ideal Client Do Some of the Work
A client that works for you goes beyond ideal and becomes almost perfect. Crucially, they probably have a lot in common with those around them – so they also qualify as ideal customers. Incentivise them to spread the word, or do such a good job in your interactions with them that they have no choice but to do so.