It goes without saying that you really need to know who your ideal customer is. And you really, really need to understand their needs, their goals and their problems. After all, without your customers, your business wouldn’t exist, right? They are the people we create products and services for. And, if they don’t purchase those products or services, we aren’t running a business for very long.
HOW TO BEGIN IDENTIFYING YOUR IDEAL CUSTOMER
I’m on a mission to teach people about the Pareto Principle. I’m a HUGE fan of this prinicple. It has literally changed my life and the businesses of many of our clients.
In a nutshell, the Pareto Principle says 20% of your efforts will produce 80% of your results. Similarly, 20% of your customers will produce 80% of your business revenue. So the key is to find and speak to the 20% of your customers or as we call them, your MVC (Most Valuable Customers).
AVOID THIS FATAL BUSINESS MISTAKE
When we work with companies, we ask them to answer this question, “Who is your most valuable customer?”. Too often we get answers like “the general public” or “anyone interested in our product”, etc.
The problem with this response is if you try to speak to everyone, you end up speaking to no one. More than ever, people want messages that are targeted specifically to them. The more you know them and think about them, the more you can speak to them.
This isn’t anything new really. As Cicero said over 2000 years ago, “If you wish to persuade me you must speak my words, feel my feelings and think my thoughts.” But it’s absolutely critical to your business success.
SO HOW DO YOU GET STARTED …
Follow these 3 steps. Yes, this will take time, but the time invested will provide huge returns for you. It will help you decide what content to create, where to share the content and how to avoid wasting time and money on non-essential activities. So here’s what I want you to do.
FIRST, ANSWER THESE BIG PICTURE QUESTIONS ABOUT THEM
- Who are your ideal customers and prospects who will purchase your product or service?
- What is their job title?
- What are their job responsibilities?
- What does a typical day look like for them? Are they really busy or do they have free time? Do they have to answer to committees or are they the final decision makers?
NEXT, IDENTIFY THEIR NEEDS – THINK ABOUT THEM, NOT YOURSELF
Based on your answers to the questions above, imagine yourself as your target customers. Think about how you would seek information before making a purchase. Outline your MVCs pains, needs, and challenges by asking yourself several important questions:
- What are the biggest problems they are trying to solve?
- What do they need most to solve those problems and feel successful?
- What information are they typically searching for?
- When are the typically searching for information?
- Where are they searching for information (search engines, social media, blogs, etc.)
- What trends are influencing their business or personal success?
FINALLY, IDENTIFY HOW THEY USE THE WEB
- Think about the typical online behavior of your MVC. You know who they are and what their needs are, now think about all the ways they research a potential purchase on your site or on others. Here are suggestions of the questions you should ask:
- What do they do online?
- Do they read blogs?
- Are they active on Twitter , Facebook , or other social networks?
- What kind of search terms do they use?
- Are they email newsletter subscribers?
- What kind of information do they tend to consume online? Educational pieces? Trend articles? Interactive tools like calculators or worksheets?
- Do they watch videos or listen to podcasts?
- Which of your products do they spend the most time researching?
- How do they use those products?
The result of this process should be a detailed description of your MVCs needs and behavior. The more detail you pack into this, the easier it will be to create content for each of your target customer segments and know where to promote it.
Here’s to your success!