I hear this time and time again. So when setting up websites for my clients, I always ask them – “Who are your ideal customers?”
The answer I get all the time is, “Everyone!”
If this sounds like something you’ve said or thought of recently, then this article is definitely for you!
This is the kind of mindset that will see you spread yourself too thin, and in the process of trying to serve everyone, you’ll end up serving no one!
Let’s explore some fundamental ways to set your business up to succeed and pinpoint the exact customers you want to work with, rather than those customers who don’t value what you do and want everything for free!
1. Brainstorm for Ideas
There are many ways we can start to solve the problem of finding our ideal clients. However, the most crucial first step is to seriously think about this question and challenge what our minds may naturally move towards – the more, the merrier.
The majority of businesses set out to offer a service. For example, we offer a website design and creation service to our customers. However, this is a feature, not a benefit. If there’s anything I’ve learned in my many years of working in sales contact centres, it’s that no one cares about the features you offer, but what is the benefit to them?
In other words, you need to ask yourself – “What specific problem am I trying to solve?
In the example of my own business, I am not simply trying to solve the problem of giving people websites. Anyone could do that. And if I tried to compete in this market, I would be competing with a highly saturated market, many of whom are willing to work either for free or for meagre sums of money. That is not a profitable business.
In doing this, I would end up in a perpetual cycle of hunting for work, haggling, lowering prices to compete, and eventually going out of business. I know this because I have been there before. – and I’m still learning every day.
In my example, one of the things my clients are looking for help with is how to be found on Google Search. Another problem may be a business will have a high following on social media. However, not a lot of sales on the back of this.
When we break down what services our business offers, we can then think about our clients’ problems and think about them instead of us.
This is the critical first step, and if you take nothing else away from this article, keep this in mind.
“What specific problem am I trying to solve?”
Once you have given some thought to this question, you should define who your customers are.
Think about the following key demographics of the people you’re trying to help, including their:
- Interests and hobbies
- Behaviours (Where they shop, How much are they willing to pay etc.)
- Average Income
- Level of Education
Doing this will give you a solid understanding and fundamental first step in finding the best clients you want to work with and people you want to help.
2. Talk to any existing customers you already have
They say feedback is the gift that keeps on giving, what better way to learn about your customers than to ask the ones you already have. This has the added benefit of making your existing customers feel like you care about the services you are already offering them as your looking to improve your business overall.
You can do this in many different ways, and the right path for you will depend on your business and how many customers you already have. For example, you may want to have a personal touch and speak with your customers one on one. Or there are also many automated survey tools out there that can help you reach a lot of people with minimal effort. Try Survey Monkey or Typeform for this.
You’d want first to gather some basic demographic info, similar to what I mentioned above. This will help you with any analysis afterwards.
Next, ask them some probing questions about critical issues or problems they face (currently or historically, before you already helped them) to define your value proposition better.
A good one to always include is questions around HOW and WHERE they found out about you. This will give you a good understanding of what channels are working well for you currently vs, where you should focus more of your efforts to improve.
3. Review your Google Analytics
If you already have a website, please ensure you have Google Analytics set up and installed correctly. This will give you a mountain of insight into what your existing and prospective customers are doing and help you retrain your focus on parts that need it most.
Don’t have Analytics? Let us set up your Google Analytics so you can figure out how you can improve your conversions.
I feel like Google Analytics is a whole other article, so I will loop around and link to it once I’ve written the update. In the meantime, here are a few things you should look out for in your dashboard.
Find previous customers
Depending on how you have this setup. Look in Behaviour => Events, Conversions => Goals, or Conversions => E-Commerce
Find out what content really speaks to your customers
go to Behaviour => Site Content, and sort by page views.
Find out how customers are finding you
go to Acquisition => Overview
Find out some demographics about your audience
go to Audience => Overview to find out things like country, city, language etc.
4. Pay attention to what people want.
Ok, the steps above will give you some vital information, but mostly about your existing customers. This is a good starting point. However, if you want to attract new customers or even make a slight pivot and look towards generating a different type of client, there is no better tool than networking.
At its core, networking is all about talking to people. However, please stop right there. Read on. Most people understand this and immediately go and promote their business to everyone they speak with. This is the same trap as the first point in this article, thinking that people care about your business.
My advice is to focus your efforts on helping your potential customers with some real problems. There are tools you can use, such as Mention, AgoraPulse and Google Alerts which you can use to keep tabs on questions people on the internet are asking and can send you email alerts when these are detected.
What better way to demonstrate your knowledge than to actively seek out and answer potential customers’ answers related to a subject you are already an expert in.
The law of reciprocity will also kick in here, and not only will these people trust you more, but they will also feel compelled to recommend your services to others and potentially use your business on an ongoing basis.
Another good way of achieving this is by joining groups on social media and regularly contributing and asking your questions. Just remember not to be spammy, as this will have the exact opposite effect to what you’re trying to achieve.
5. Pay close attention to your competitors.
They say imitation is the biggest form of flattery. But first, you must decide if you want to be like your competitors. To do this, you must get to know them! It makes sense, right?
You probably can’t gain access to their analytics and customer base as quickly as it would be to look through your own, but here are a few things you could do to discover what your rivals are up to.
Set up alerts on social media.
You can use tools to set up an alert whenever one of your competitors are mentioned on social media. This information will tell you valuable things like so their customers are, what matters most to them and what kind of problems your competition is already solving that you could weigh in on.
I’m not suggesting that you try to steal customers directly from your competitors, but you should look at this and use this data to help you define who your ideal customers are and where you might find them.
Sign up for their mailing list
There is a potent tool named Owletter that you can use to anonymously sign up to your competitor’s newsletters and see what kind of content they are putting out directly to their customer’s mailboxes. This should give you a good idea of what they are doing well and what you could do to better them and gain a competitive advantage.
Ok, we’ve gone into detail in this guide on how to define your ideal customers. What can you do with this information now to find them and ultimately get more sales from them?
Create buyer personas.
By now, you should have an idea of who your ideal clients are. Put these fictitious clients into groups and ask yourself – “What is the main problem he or she is trying to solve?”
Make great content that answers these questions.
Don’t wait for someone to ask you the question. The key here is to be proactive and create the content that your customers want now, and then you can link to it when the opportunity arises. Soon enough, plenty of people will see the content. If you’ve made it sound, they will also share it, and the snowball effect will begin.
Update what you sell to match what your customers need
This is where you can take everything you’ve already done and look inwards at what you are already doing. The important part is to keep true to yourself, do what you love, but you can also tailor and package this into something that your customers need.
Update your marketing content
You have a flavour of where your customers like to hang out and get their information throughout the last few steps. Depending on your business, you may find that your customer base is more likely to use Facebook or prefer Instagram. Putting in the research early could save you a lot of time and money wasted in the wrong place so use this knowledge to focus your efforts and find an abundance of customers just waiting to make contact with you.
Sometimes it takes an outsiders perspective. Ask someone you know and trust to take a look over your site. Are you stuck on ideas? Get help now from One Web Creations in Dunfermline, Fife.
Get in Touch today for a personalised estimate for your business website.