A business is nothing without its customers.
Yet being seen by customers, getting them through the door and sealing the deal often seems like a dark art.
Customers and clients are the lifeblood of any business – a lack of customers or a customer that doesn’t buy is a cause of a huge stress and worry. It may seem like an unfathomable problem but 99.9% of the time solving the riddle starts with one simple thing.
To get the attention of a customer, you have to know who they are. To persuade a customer to buy, you have to know what they want.
Without this simple fundamental, growth of any kind is a game of luck and chance.
What exactly does this mean in practice?
It means investing time in researching your customers – getting to know who they are, what their values are, what their problems are and how they want them solved.
It means investing time in aligning your products and services with what your customers want and need.
Random, abstract ideas and assumptions just will not cut it. You have to be precise and insightful with absolute clarity. The way to achieve that clarity is to build a 3D picture of your customers.
Avatar, persona, profile – the marketing world is full of variations of the same jargon. What it comes down to is defining each product (product group) or service you offer and creating a picture of your ideal customer for that product or service.
Before you start ask yourself – are the customers I have now, the customers I actually want? If they aren’t, building a customer picture based on what you have now will only get you more of the same. Build your picture based on your ideal customers.
But how am I supposed to build a picture of someone I don’t know, I hear you cry.
Researching your future market isn’t the marketing equivalent of cracking the Enigma code – there are lots of places you can find just what you need without investing anything more than your time. Join some Facebook groups related to your field and see what people are talking about, look at reviews on Amazon for products and see what gets buyers riled or delighted. Visit Quora and see what questions people are asking, use some social listening tools to find out what conversations are taking place on social media – the possibilities are out there, you just need to use them creatively to fill in the gaps.
How do I actually create this picture?
Whether you are in B2C or B2B sales, the process is very similar. A lot of guidance out there will tell you that a profile or persona should be short and to the point. In my experience, that just doesn’t help the overworked small business owner get the real value from the process. More is generally better. The richer the detail, the more it offers you to position, promote and attract your ideal customers.
Grab a sheet of A4 and a pen – put a head in the middle and start scribbling in mind maps, blocks, bullet points or whatever works for you.
Here are just some of the questions you need to answer to build the picture:
- Name – give them a name, it makes them real.
- Age – a range is fine (unless it is 8 to 80!)
- Family and relationships
- Home/Working Life – what do they do?
- Where do they get information from?
- Where do they like to go and what do they like to do?
- Interests and passions
- Problems and needs
- What solutions do they need?
- What do they want you to say?
The more detail you weave into their picture, the better you will understand them. The better you understand them, the more you will shout “Aha” – you will know where to find them, you will be able to spot opportunities and you will be able to talk about how what you do meets a real need for that person.
You owe it to yourself and your customers to work on building this clarity – so that you can find your customers and they can find you, so that your customers can benefit from building a relationship with your business, so that your stress and anxiety can be replaced with a focus on moving forwards and getting stronger.
And all with a sheet of A4 and a pencil – who would have thought such simple tools could do so much?