The vast majority of business owners reading this will not have an ideal customer profile, they will have heard that they need one but they will tell themselves that they can service all types of customers and so an idea customer profile isn’t of any use to them. I know this is true, because for many years I said exactly that, and only once I developed my own ideal customer profile did I truly realise the importance of doing so.
Create an ideal customer profile, buyer persona or whatever you call it, will help you market better to your target audience, create better products and services, as well as improving your existing ones. Not only will it help you with your marketing and product production efforts, it will also help you with improving your delivery systems by learning more about how your customer chooses what to buy as you learn about their product buying process.
Understand Your Products and Services
The first step to creating an ideal customer profile is to truly understand your products and services. You need to know everything there is about each product or service that you offer. Whether you outsource some of the work or not doesn’t matter; you need to be able to walk the walk and talk the talk clearly and intelligently about what you do.
Stay Aware of Your Industry
No one is still making VHS tapes, did people stop watching movies? No, of course not, but the technology changed. Smart companies and business owners who stayed on top of the technology didn’t go out of business, instead they just changed their products and services to fit what their current audience needed.
Describe Your Customer
Write a full description of who you believe is your ideal customer. What are their ages, sex, income group and other demographics? What are their fears, needs, and what problems do they need to have solved? Write it all down, and be ready to alter it later as you learn more about your audience or as your audience changes due to technology.
I like to nail this down to one particular person for each product or service, when I market, write or do anything I imagine this person and tailor everything I do, to engage this person.
Determine Where Your Customers Come From
How are you currently getting customers? What links are they following online? What are you doing right now to attract them, and what’s working and generating leads? Did they see something you wrote, or shared, or said in an interview? What makes the current customers you have buy from you? Ask them. Send them a survey but be careful not to ask leading questions.
Identify the Process They Use to Make a Purchase
Every customer has a process they use before, during and after making a purchase. They usually research a problem they have as they look for solutions. Once they find a solution they evaluate each solution in order to choose the right one for them. Then they determine if they can afford the solution, and if so, they make their purchase. After the purchase, they either become a lifelong customer or they go elsewhere. The bigger the problem the customers has, and the better your solution the easier it is to make a sale, I was reading only recently they we basically have three areas of the brain, however the primary brain which is the oldest and deals with survival is the main decision maker whereas the newest area of the brain the modern area has the least power in making decisions.
Ask for Feedback from Current Customers
One of the best determinants of what is going to happen in the future is by studying what has already happened. Once your customer has made a purchase, or signed up for your list, or somehow connected with you, it’s imperative that you always follow up.
It’s a lot less expensive to keep a customer than to get a new one. Ask for feedback right after the purchase so that you can improve the process. Right now, if you bill via FreshBooks as a service provider, they have a great addition where you can get feedback when your client pays your bills. If your customers purchased a product from you, you can set up an auto responder to deliver a survey right to their inbox.
Create An Ideal Customer Profile
From the information you collect, keep creating customer profiles. You may end up with as many as five different groups and customer profiles for each of these groups, based on their demographics and what they have or have not purchased. For instance, if you watch TV ads, we all know that everyone uses laundry detergent, but the commercials are targeted to the people who make the purchases and primarily this is women.
Make it a habit to continue customer profiling so that you can always stay ahead of your customers’ needs, desires, and problems. You want to be the first to offer answers and solutions over the competition and you can only do that if you always keep your customer first and foremost in your mind and marketing practices.
Don’t rest on your laurels and stop there. Keep your ears to the ground in order to continuously improve your customer profiles so that you can always be at the top of your niche and industry. Profiling what your customers really need to solve their problems and fulfill their expectations is something that you must do to stay ahead.