Having an ideal customer in mind can help produce a more targeted and efficient marketing campaign for businesses of all sizes and in all industries. Creating an avatar for your target demographic helps give direction and impetus to the decision-making process.
As CMO Stephanie Buscemi recently noted in a post for Salesforce, the customer experience is critical to the longevity of a business. Getting not just a partial view, but a full, 360-degree view of what customers need and want is the key.
These five steps will give you the base needed to devise your own ideal customer profile.
Firstly, it is immensely helpful to start the process with a brainstorm. Ask everyone in your organization to pool their ideas and to contribute to a discussion on what your ideal customer would look like. Ask yourself what age they would be, where they would live, what they would do for a living and what interests they may have.
Brainstorming is a great way to gather and process the thoughts of a wider variety of people. You may be greatly surprised by the opinions and experiences your colleagues share. By the end of the exercise, you should have a clearer understanding of how your ideal customer may look.
After asking your staff and business associates for their input, survey your existing customers. Your ideal customer is essentially the average of all of your existing ones, so it pays to gather as much information on them as possible.
Create a survey that is easy and simple but comprehensively covers all the bases you’re interested in. You can also incentivize your customers to fill it out by offering them discounts on your services or entry into a raffle with a desirable prize. The more answers you can gather, the better placed you will be to construct an ideal customer profile.
Alongside the analysis of your brainstorming and survey results, you can also utilize information garnered from other sources. Web analytics are especially helpful for gaining information to better know and understand your potential customers. Process and assess any data you can get from the search engines and content management systems you use.
Information pertaining to the demographics of your web users is particularly insightful. You can easily discover the average age, gender and location of your most frequent visitors. It is also relatively easy to access the conversion rates of different users, so you know the demographics with whom your current marketing efforts are most successful.
Facts and figures only tell half the story so, in addition to analyzing the data already at your disposal, it is beneficial to actively engage with your customer base to find out more. This can be done in person, but social media is an easy and convenient way to connect with users.
Take an active approach to your social media accounts and reach out to your followers by instigating conversation. Tune into the most relevant hashtags for your brand and maintain a constant presence across social media. Often, having your finger on the pulse of your market can tell you more about your potential customers than surveys or traditional analysis ever could.
After you’ve gathered as much information as possible you need to review your findings. Consider the data at your disposal with a critical eye and discard anything that is irrelevant or misleading so that you can streamline the process of creating your final customer profile.
The goal is to whittle down the results of your research so that you’re left with the profile of a single hypothetical customer that represents your entire target market. This doesn’t mean you can disregard anyone that doesn’t directly fit the description of your ideal customer, but it does provide strength and cohesion to your branding that will benefit all of your marketing goals.
Ideally, your business would appeal to everyone equally but, realistically, it is more efficient to target specific groups or subsections of the market. Creating an ideal customer profile is a proven and effective method of increasing the impact and potency of any brand.