All too often when I speak with clients about their target customers I often get a generalised response that covers a vast group of people, all of whom will have varying needs and will be at different points in their requirements. for products and services.
But it’s vital to focus your efforts on the people who are more likely to buy from you. An understanding of who you need to target to grow your business – they need to be commercially viable i.e. they will buy your product at the price you set and will give you loyalty.
Why do we need to understand our clients?
By understanding and having detail of who your target customer is means you can focus more on where to aim your marketing and how to talk about your business, products and services. It’s important to have a better understanding of what is important to your clients, what do they need and why, what are they looking for.
The detail of your ideal client will mean your marketing should be more successful, your time will be spent more efficiently and you’ll be less likely to waste budget on activity that won’t give you the results you are looking for. After all it’s expensive to target everyone!
Ultimately you’ll be making the right marketing decisions for your business.
Do you think you don't need to market yourself in this way? If you're looking to wind your business down, then that's understandable, but if even if you just take on referrals and recommendations for clients, surely you still need to know what the client type is and how you can add value so they become a commercially valuable client? After all no one likes to waste their time - you or the prospective client!
How can you identify your target client?
Try to consider the following sections and get answers for as much as possible either through customer research, your own market knowledge or other online research.
Current client base
If you’re an established business then look at your current client base. Identify any key commonalities between them, their wants, needs and what solutions you have provided.
Where and how did you find them?
How do they like to interact or engage with your business?
Consider your competitors
Who are they targeting their activity at and why? Are they missing something that you can fulfill to a niche audience?
Your Products and Services
- What is it about your product or service offering that is relevant to your clients? How are you fulfilling a need?
- Is your product seasonal? Do your clients only need your services after going through an experience?
- What benefits can you provide to your clients and how?
- Demographics, behavioural traits and geography
- Where are your clients located? Are they likely to be single, or have a family? Will they be employed or be a homeowner? What interests may they have, what are their values?
Creating your client avatar
This can either be a visual representation of your ideal client (or clients, you can have more than one ideal). Or it could be a story or written down profile of everything that makes up your clients.
Creating an avatar likens your client to a real life person, you can give them a name, create interests, their life stage and buying behaviour.
This may seem like a lot but it will really focus the mind when you are creating your messages, thinking about your client journey and identifying what activity to do – the end game is to reduce wasted time and money and increase your response rate from your ideal target client.
Growing client segments
As your business grows and changes you will find you either gain new client groups (or new avatars) or they change. When this happens you need to consider your communications and messages and ensure you are engaging with each client group – don’t be tempted to lump them all together to save time, you’ll end up undoing all your previous targeted activity.
It does get more time consuming if you have a number of different client segments but you do need to communicate with them in the right way. Plus you can also consider how you can cross-sell between your groups and up-sell your products and services - an area which can be very lucrative with just a bit of planning.