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5 Ways to Identify Your Ideal Small Business Customers

Defining your ideal customer is an interactive process. It begins with your own vision of who you expect your small business customers to be, and then it changes and adjusts as you begin to gather data about who your actual customers are.

It is important for small businesses to define their ideal customer base so that they don’t waste time and resources on unproductive customer relationships. When you know who your target audience is, you can tailor your message to that group and achieve the maximum return on your marketing investment.

Here are five basic tips for identifying your ideal customers through this interactive process:

1. Demographics

This is the starting point for developing your customer profile. Understanding basic customer demographics can help you get a better picture of who you’re selling to. Some general metrics are:  age, gender, income level, occupation or industry, marital status, geographic location, ethnicity, political leanings, and basic interests.

2. Buying habits

Another easy way to quantify your customer is to understand your current customers’ shopping habits. From there, you can quantify based on how much they spend. Are you getting the most business from impulse buyers, repeat buyers, or “cherry pickers” who only swoop in for the sales and discounts?

You can use this information to design special discounts, promotions and incentives to target the most productive group.

3. Profitability

In certain types of businesses, it’s possible to weigh the time invested in an account against the revenue it brings in. Check to see which group of your small business customers is the most profitable. Keep in mind that revenue is not the same thing as profit. A high-revenue customer may not be giving the same return on your hourly energy as several smaller customers might be.

4. Influencers

Keep track of customers who refer new business to you. These social influencers represent a powerful force for growing your business. It’s important to find out these people’s preferences and make sure you continue to exceed their needs.

5. Market niche

The more specific you can be in defining the need that you expect your product or service to fill, the more likely you are to create unique value in the marketplace. In order to make your focus more narrow, highlight certain features/product offerings that will appeal to a particular demographic.

Whether it’s senior citizen discounts or free samples for mommy bloggers, crafting your marketing efforts around a specific group of customers increases your brand awareness across the spectrum.
 

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