Knowing your target customer seems on the face to be Business 101, but I think it’s something that many businesses still struggle to define.
Even with GBW I’m always looking at who the best customer is for the business. And I’m looking at customers and seeing what the real needs are and trying to see if GBW should change at all.
I’ve had a tendency, and I don’t think I’m the only one, to focus on the wrong things in business. We look at our product and think that if we make the product just a little better that the business will grow.
Yes, you need a good product. Yes, you need a business that operates as an efficient system so it can scale, but you also need someone to pay you for what you do.
That’s the hard part. You have to understand your customer, what is is they need and how you can provide that for them in a way that they will happily pay you.
Defining Target Customer Too Broadly
Think about the large companies in the world. You have Walmart. ExxonMobil, Microsoft, Apple and on and on. Even those companies have refined target customers.
When we work with new clients at Ghost Blog Writers we ask about the client’s target customer. Sometimes we get really good, in-depth descriptions. That helps us with writing posts and I’m sure it helps the business owners with everything else that goes with the business operations.
But other times we get generic and broad definitions of the customer. We get something like Women ages 18-55. Well that’s a pretty big group of customers and if you’ve ever met an 18-year old and a 55-year old you know that they can be alike in some ways, but very different in others. And even two 25-year olds can be vastly different.
Feeling Like You’re Limiting Yourself
I think one of the reasons why it’s a challenge to refine a target customer is because we feel like you’re limiting yourself.
What I’ve found is that the more I define the customer the better the business becomes. And the more the business grows.
It works in what seems like every area of the business.
In marketing, the more you know your customer the more you can focus in getting right to the main issue your target customer has and you can get their attention based on that knowledge. And you can take that into the sales process when you talk about how you can solve that issue.
At GBW, we’re involved in the marketing process for businesses. Knowing the exact target customer allows us to focus on answering the questions that person has.
And when you really focus in on your customers they will feel like they have no choice, but to go with you.
I’m a golfer and you can spend a crazy amount of cash on golf clubs. You can get one that is standard everything or you can get one that is customized for you. Or maybe that comes off the rack, but is made for a player of your size, swing speed, etc.
You’d be surprised at how big some markets can be.
And if you create a great product for one you have the tools to create a great product for another target segment.
Warning: Don’t Go Too Small
Obviously you don’t want to go too small. If you’re in the golf club business and you create a club for people from left-handed people that swing 50 miles per hour and who only like the color red you’re not going to have a very large business.
You have to find a happy-medium, but learn toward being more refined.
How To Refine Your Target Customer
Alright, time to refine your customer. And I think this is a good exercise to do every now and then. You certainly don’t want to refine and refine and change and change over and over all the time.
But it’s good to do this now if you haven’t done it in a while or if you’ve never done it. And it’s good to review from time to time even if it jogs your memory and gets you thinking about how you make decisions for your customers.
Step 1. Look At Your Best Customers
Your best customers are those that are very happy with what you provide. They are probably your most profitable customers.
Step 2. List Attributes
When you identify your best customers you can start to add details about who that person is. You could even focus on your single best customer and describe them.
Step 3. Focus On Business-Specific Attributes
It can help to list the basic demographics like age, location and things like that. But you want to focus on things that matter for your business.
For example, Ghost Blog Writers has a sweet spot in the small to medium-sized business range. Small businesses know they want blog posts or want more website traffic, but they don’t have the staff to write the posts.
But if the business is too small they won’t have the money to invest in blogging. So we have to refine for that.
And we also look at businesses that have an eye toward accepting technology. Blogging is certainly not a state-of-the-art technology, but those that are a little more progressive are more likely to understand how business blogging works.
Looking For Opportunity
This process can help with your current business, but you don’t want to overlook opportunity in the marketplace. As you look at segments of the population and even as you talk to individuals you’ll start to notice issues people are having. And you can brainstorm how you could solve those issues.
As you do that, focus on what makes this customer unique. Think about people like them that would have the same issue. And from there you could have yourself on the way to a new business.
As I’ve thought about this process I’ve looked at business leaders I’ve known in my life. And just about all of them seem to have a great understanding of target customer and how to refine that target customer for the benefit of just about all areas of the business.