We all know that old saying, “the customer is always right,” but who is this customer? You might be thinking your customers are whoever is willing to throw money at you, and maybe that’s true in a sense. But do you really want to give just anybody “always right” status? Who you really want are the customers who are going to leave good reviews, tell their friends about you, come back for repeat business over and over and over again. That customer can be right all day long. So how do you attract this mythical perfect customer? You market to them.
One great way to identify your ideal customer (because you have to find them if you want to market to them), is by creating “buyer personas.” A buyer persona is essentially a hypothetical customer whose profile you’ve fleshed out and familiarized yourself with back-to-front. This imaginary person represents your ideal buyer, and tells you things about them. It might include demographic information such as age, gender, location, job, income level, marital status, etc. But more than that, it should include what they are going through, what they care about, and what kinds of things affect their decision making, especially as it pertains to you and your business. Don’t be afraid to go deep. How did they grow up? What kinds of challenges have they faced? What are their hopes? Hobbies? Goals? Fears?
So how do you create a buyer persona? Your real customers are a good place to start. If there are trends you can identify in the people who have actually come into contact with your business, that’s great. Good, old-fashioned focus groups can be very helpful here, and some well-crafted survey questions can work wonders. You can also get a surprisingly large amount of information from your website and social media analytics, and from your own (or your employees’) personal observations.
Once you’ve put all that information together, you’ll have a fantastic tool you can put to use. Your buyer persona (or personas - you might need more than one) can be used to help you determine everything from what to put on your website, to where to pay for advertising, to when you should post on social media. After all, if something is important to your hypothetical perfect customer, it’s probably important to your real customers as well.