As a business owner, you know how vital your customer base is to your business success. You also know how hard it is to attract and convert customers into your purchasers and brand fans. A reliable and consistent stream of customers allows you to grow your business and make an impact.
Over the past 20 years, I have discovered the primary motivator which brings clients to my business. It is always the same, no matter if the business is new or old. People need sales! Businesses want to freshen their marketing or advertising because they are not selling enough products or services to meet their costs or goals.
Those who have worked with me, know that I don’t mince words. I am very honest and clear on the steps one needs to take to be successful in their sales and marketing communications. Here it is, ready?
To successfully market your business, you need to focus less on the sexy artwork and channel selections and more on the actual customer messaging! In order to create marketing messaging that converts to sales, you first need to look at who you are trying to attract to your business.
Narrow Your Scope
As a business owner, it is easy to assume you will sell your products or services to anyone who will buy them. However, to be successful in attracting your customers and making sales, you will want to narrow your customer scope.
You need to be very focused on exactly who will want and need your business services/products. When you tailor your marketing efforts to attract a specific target audience, then your marketing and sales efforts become more cost effective, effective and affordable. It is also very easy to find and grow your customer base once you have done this work.
Who Do You Want As Customers?
So let’s begin my creating your desired and potential customers and finalize who specifically you want as your customers.
We need to create “personas” for your desired customers. These buyer personas define the specific attributes of your customer, the more detailed the better as they will dictate where you will focus on your business sales, product/service development and most importantly, your business brand messaging.
Let’s begin with your ideal customer in mind and outline his/her specifics to create your ideal customer buyer persona. I know this exercise requires thought and time and can be hard, (even for a marketer!) however, it is the best time you can spend in setting your business up for success.
What Are Your Preferred Customers Like?
This process is a creative way to truly understand what matters to you and what you value in your customers. Close your eyes, breathe deeply a few times and bring your focus to a specific person who you enjoy as your current customer or one who you think you would enjoy as a future customer.
Create a name for your ideal customer. To illustrate an example of this step, we will name our example persona “Sandra”.
Begin by describing this person. Be very specific with the details.
- How old is this person?
- What is their occupation?
- Job Title?
- What is the size of the company that employs her or she owns?
- What type of business is it? Small Business, Sole Proprietorship, Corporation, Non Profit?
- What is she responsible for delivering in her role?
- Does she have budget or contract signing authority?
- What is her income?
- What level of education did she obtain?
- Identify her skills and talents. Is she financially minded, artistic, tech-savvy, creative, skilled communicator, collaborator, visionary, etc.
- What is her leadership style like?
- Define her personality attributes – Style, manner, tone, etc.
- What is her family dynamic? Single, Married, Divorced, Children?
- What does she do when she is not working? Hobbies, interests, etc.
Your Existing Customers
If you have active customers in your business who you consider ideal, then gather as much data as you can from their interaction with your brand. You can assess their purchasing behaviours, their values, their social media profile activities, etc.
The detailed information that you outline in your buyer personas will not only lay the foundation for your marketing efforts, it will also help you to determine the priority of your customer profile targeting to grow your business.
We have identified your ideal target audience and now need to develop your secondary and tertiary audience personas.
Who Are Your Niche Customers?
As you did once before when creating your ideal customer persona, now you need to focus on additional types of customers you want to obtain for your business and walk through the step questions above. These personas become your secondary and tertiary target audiences.
Now look at the three customer personas you have created. As a small business owner, your business marketing time and resources need to be invested on your higher priority target audiences. Which audience do you want to work with the most? The least? What audience provides the highest engagement opportunity? Who ignites your passion the most? Which products/ services being bought by these audiences are most profitable and most popular? What audience has the lowest loyalty/retention with your business?
You will want to carefully consider all parameters and place your audiences in order of priority:
- Ideal Customers – “I would be happy to JUST work with these customers”
- Secondary Customers – “I enjoy working with these customers, their needs are a little different from my ideal customers and they challenge me.”
- Tertiary Customers – “I work with these customers occasionally.”
Now that you have identified who you want to attract to your business, you need to make it easy for them to do business with you. In my next post, we will be working through the exercise to determine the problems you will solve for your customers.