2 Quick Steps to Target Customers that are Right for You!
When most people start selling their products or services online their first impression is of a bewildering array of approaches and tools that they should be using. All too often they invest in a web-site before they’ve asked the fundamental question – ‘Who am I trying to sell to?’ The failure to ask this question explains why the vast majority of websites for start-ups and small businesses are not fit for purpose.
Below we’ve given two simple steps to help you build your internet marketing approach on a solid foundation that will ensure it serves your business rather than just draining resources. If revisited regularly these steps will help you build a sustainable business.
STEP ONE – Describe Your Perfect Target Customers
This first step is the easiest, but so often is missed. All you need to do here is think about a particular customer you’ve worked with before, online or offline, who was a pleasure to do business with. Remember, what makes a target customer perfect for your business is likely to be different to the next business. To get you thinking here are some I’ve come across, but you’ll need to think about this for your own business:
- Their interests, wants and needs were met perfectly with our product(s), service(s)
- Our method of delivery was really convenient for the customer
- Our way of thinking was so tuned in with the customer
- We homed right in on their tastes and aspirations
Once you’ve identified a representative of your perfect target customers, build a quick picture of their characteristics, did they belong
to a particular customer segment, were they young, old, business people, artists, general consumers? Also map out what problems they were dealing with and what were their interests, wants and needs that your product or service helped satisfy? We at OSG use a Customer Voice Table (CVT) to do this which we will expand on in our forthcoming ‘internet marketing tools and techniques’ blogs.
Let’s be clear, this step is no different to traditional market planning, which is probably why it gets forgotten in the internet age. So many businesses and traditional web-site designers are so keen to get going with the art work and technology that they forget to ask the fundamental questions.
You now need to start thinking where you might find more customers like your perfect target customers, which is where Step Two comes in…
STEP TWO – Are there others like your Perfect Target Customers?
This step requires a bit more research, and it’s on-going, not just a ‘one off’. The question you are asking here is ‘Are there more people like my perfect target customer and where do they hang out on the internet?’ Search around for websites and forums that are dedicated or related to the product or service you’re providing and check them out. Other key sources of information are social media networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pintrest. See if you can find groups or pages that are relevant to what you’re doing.
Looking at your competitors’ web-sites or Facebook pages shows you how they are trying to differentiate themselves from the pack and customer/ fan comments can help you clarify issues of interest. Questions and discussion threads on forums give you a huge insight into the likely level of interest or ‘hot-spots’ related to what you’re marketing and the scale of the pool of ‘target customers’. If barely anyone is fitting your target customer profile or nobody is interested in what your product or service addresses, then you will need to adjust either your marketing messages or the fundamentals of your product. It is far better to do this before you invest time and money in internet marketing materials.
Another key ‘free’ internet tool here is the Google Keyword Tool described in the OSG Blog and OSG Video Blog. This let’s you check phrases and questions relevant to what you’re selling to see the number of times these phrases are typed in each month and how well those questions are being answered.
Remember, these two steps are incredibly simple, but they require commitment to take these two steps to heart and do them fully and properly, but the rewards you’ll reap if you do will more than make up for it. Here’s the deal breaker – MAKE A PLAN, AND STICK TO IT. If you keep these steps in mind and stick to your plan you’ll be on your way in no time!
Okay, so now you should have a good idea of two key steps in targeting customers:
- You’ve worked out what your perfect target customer look like and described:
- what are their characteristics,
- what problems they are solving and
- their tastes, wants and needs.
- You’ve worked out whether there are more of your perfect target customers, and in particular
- Where they are hanging out
- the questions they are asking and
- how many there might be.
In the next of the OSG ‘Internet Marketing Unpacked’ blog series we will look at how you can use the internet to attract your target customers using traffic magnets.
If you have any comments or questions in response to our views on targeting customers, please feel free to write them below or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and don’t forget, if you found this article useful or know of someone who would find it useful go ahead and hit those social buttons underneath and tell your friends!