Do you feel that you are spending piles of money on advertising, but your sales are ‘average’? Do you feel you’re spending too much time selling to people yet the extra time invested doesn’t add the extra revenue you’ve wished for?
I know, I know. You had an awesome idea for a product, you did some validation (I hope), started your business and popped the champagne. Since then, you’ve experienced nothing but a hangover, and it has nothing to do with the bubbly. Your sales are colder than a winter morning in Alaska.
Guess what? You’re not alone. Tons of business owners and entrepreneurs experience the same problem. Often, just having a great product isn’t enough.
What if I told you that there’s a way to reduce your advertising waste and still get more customers? How about getting more customers without spending more time? What if I said you could ask for more money from your potential customers – and get it?
It’s all achieved by doing the exercises I’m about to teach you.
There are quite a few steps, but if you stick to it, you will thank me ten fold.
To make this easier on you, I’ve developed a TEMPLATE which follows along with these steps. The template is available for download (free) at the bottom of this post. All I ask in return is for you to tell people about this post so they too can benefit from it.
What is the #1 reason you’re over spending on marketing and getting ‘average’ results?
The answer: You haven’t properly defined your target audience. You’re missing the mark!
I can hear you saying, “But Reinhardt, I do know who my target market is. They’re 25 – 45 years old, engaged or married, mid income bracket, web savvy and they live a healthy lifestyle”.
Congratulations. You have just described millions and millions, if not close to a billion people matching that description.
Ironically, this is the typical target market profile many corporations use. No wonder their marketing VP’s breaks a sweat over why their advertising money is giving the same old return as it used to decades ago.
I have sat in countless client campaign debrief meetings and I can tell you that even big corporations waste billions on marketing because they haven’t properly defined who they should be selling – *cough* – talking to. You see, many of these large corporations grew their businesses during the booming era where there was little to no competition and their products were new to consumers. Adoption was easy. Now it’s a different story altogether.
There’s more competition – more alternatives and more avenues where an advertiser can reach someone.
When your ‘target market’ is too broad, do you think your message will hit home? Do you honestly think your message will resonate with all of those people? Will you get them to jump up and scream for your product or service?
Your target market is not everyone, why?
- Marketing to everyone is expensive. The more focused your target audience the more effective your marketing will be.
- Not everyone has the same problems. Your product solves a core problem (right?), but not everyone shares the same problems meaning,
- Your marketing message will dilute.
- Your business’ operational structure is likely not robust enough to even handle global demand.
It doesn’t matter if your business is big or small, online or off-line. You should know exactly who you ought to be talking to, or risk losing money.
Cool. I hope I got my message across? It’s time you get on the right track.
Do not target ‘markets’ – target the person.
You read that right. Forget about trying to reach out to a massive group of people. If you think I’m crazy, then now is the time to read carefully. You’ve been doing this wrong for too long.
According to all the major white coat research pieces done on consumer buying behavior around the globe, they all agree there are 4 key factors that influence how people buy.
- CULTURAL: consumer’s culture, subculture and social class.
- SOCIAL: groups (reference groups, aspirational groups and member groups), family, roles and status.
- PERSONAL: age and lifecycle stage, occupation, economic circumstances, lifestyle (activities, interests, opinions and demographics), personality and self concept.
- PSYCHOLOGICAL: motivation (Maslow’s hierarchy of needs), perception, learning, beliefs and attitudes.
Those 4 factors influence our buying behavior!
You can have the coolest product in the world with the most expensive ad campaign. If your product is something that I would shy away from because of my culture and/or religion, then you just wasted money trying to sell to me.
To win at marketing, you have to get one thing right - know exactly who you should be talking to.
Your ideal customer is the person who will BUY from you – even if the price was steep – your early adopter. These are people who will buy your product even if it’s half-baked!
Why? Because you will address their problems. Not only will you help them solve their problems (because many products can) but you will talk to your ideal customer as if you value him/her. Your business, its core values, mission and vision will shine through in your messaging. Your ideal customer will start connecting with you – and that is how you build a relationship.
Before we move on, understand this. Narrowing down your target market to one ‘ideal’ person does NOT mean you’re limiting your reach. In fact, the opposite happens. As your brand ‘humanizes’, more people would admire what you stand for. People would also aspire to be like others who represent that picture and therefore gravitate toward your product.
Just look at Starbucks Coffee…
They’ve targeted hip, young technology web entrepreneurs and business professionals (let’s call them hipsters :)).
Their shops have free wi-fi and great coffee. Soon Starbucks was the coffee place everyone wanted to associate with. Not just because of good coffee, but because many people aspire to owning their own future – which is what most entrepreneurs represent. Starbucks represents that culture. Who wouldn’t feel good sipping on a Starbucks. Slice and dice it anyway you see it, but you get the jest of it.
How to sculpt your ideal customer
So what does this ideal person look like? I’m going to provide you with a framework for coming up with this persona.
Step 1: Know Your Product
There is no way you’re going to get to an accurate customer persona if you don’t know the ins and outs of your product.
If you’re not sure, then answer the following:
What is your unique value proposition? What distinguishes your product from all the alternatives out there?
List the reasons you think your current customers have bought from you? Have no customer base yet? Then list the reasons you think your prospects will want to buy from you.
What is the biggest problem your product solves?
Do people actually have this problem? Are there any other problems they might have?
What are the key benefits (how it adds value) your customers experience from using your product?
Step 2: Create a W.I.P customer persona.
Creating a customer persona is a must-do exercise. It’s an exercise that allows you to paint a detailed picture of whom the person is that your business will be communicating with.
It will make your messaging more consistent, because you’ll always talk to ‘ONE’ person.
Start by imagining this persona:
- How old would this person be? Give an exact age.
- Where is he/she from?
- How long have he/she been living there?
- Did he/she go to college or university? Which one?
- What did he/she study?
- Is he/she employed or own a business?
- If employed, what does he/she do?
- Have a pet? What type? Does it have a name?
- What does he/she value in life?
- What is he/she passionate about?
- What keeps him/her up at night?
- What problems does he/she hope your business would solve?
- How would he/she describe the frustration or discomfort these problems are causing.
- Where does he/she go to read about your products or service?
- Why does he/she trust you?
- What is the most influential reason he/she would buy from you?
What you will end with is a work in progress persona.
Whoa! You’re not finished! We are now going to go into a bit more research to help you mold this persona into something that you can put in a picture frame and stick on your desk!
Step 3: Canvas for problems, profile data
You now understand your business, its products, and you’ve got an ideal customer in mind. Now it’s time to dig deeper to find more information to finalize your customer persona.
People are searching online for solutions to their problems. Social platforms have become the go-to forums for people to get their questions answered quickly.
Wouldn’t it be great to know more about these people? It will indeed.
Here’s how you do it:
|Identify the root problems your product aims to solve.|
|Search for those root problems using my preferred user profile housing sites.|
|Profile key data about user.|
|Rework your ideal customer profile.|
1. Identify the root problems your product aims to solve:
Let’s use GrowthNerd.com as an example. It provides value and in return I hopefully get your readership via you signing up for my newsletter. The core problems I aim to solve are:
- You have poor sales (online or offline) – I aim to help you increase sales.
- You don’t know the best way to go about marketing your business online – I aim to show you how to do the most effective marketing for maximum results.
- Your business is growing too slow – I aim to show you how you can grow your business by means of several disciplines (not just marketing).
- You are struggling to find work life balance – I aim to show you how to remain passionate about your business, yet still enjoy other parts of your life. It’s all in my productivity tips.
Break the above down into core themes – the essence of it:
- increase sales
- business marketing
- growing a business
- balanced lifestyle
You’re going to use your core themes to find out a bit more about the people who have those problems.
2. Use profile data housing sites for further research
Type your root keyword into the Quora search box.
Study the question – does it look authentic? Does it look like a problem you could solve? If yes, click through to view the answers.
You want to know WHO posted this question. Go to the bottom of the right sidebar and click on the timestamp.
Scroll down to the bottom and click on the profile name of the person who asked the question. If you’re lucky, this person has not posted anonymously (most don’t).
Now you have this person’s name and a short bio, but more than that – you have their social profiles. If they haven’t connected their social profiles, you can always go and search for them on the social networks.
For the sake of people’s privacy, I’m not going to drop screenshots in this section. Facebook is relatively simple and you should be very familiar with the interface already.
You can either get straight to someone’s profile off the back of Quora or you can find people via the following:
- Find fan pages around your core problem themes and view profile of some of the fans.
- You can do the same for fan pages of your direct competitors.
Once you are on a profile of the user, there are a few things you should look at:
- Their about page: How old are they, and where are they from. Sometimes this data won’t be available, but don’t fret about this too much. I’m more interested in the person’s ‘likes’ and ‘groups’ which gives a telling story about whom they are.
- View their likes/interests: Jot down anything that resonates with you. If you see this person likes Starbucks and you think your ideal customer would be someone who loves coffee then note it down. Pay special attention to the ‘books’ or ‘other likes’ tab which will usually have tons of things to make you think. – please note that if you’re using the ‘workbook’ that is available at the bottom of this post, you will making use of the ‘Profile Data’ sheet to fill this in.
- View their groups: Likes tell you what ‘interests’ people have. Groups tell you what people like to talk about. This is key. Jot down anything that resonates with you.
To me, this is the big daddy for research. You probably don’t know how much of a GOLD MINE this place is for doing customer research.
It’s a matter of typing in your root problem themes into the Meetup search box or selecting one of the categories that is most relevant.
You’ll get a list of meetups. Explore the one most relevant to you.
Click on ‘Members’ next to the Home button.
Look at the list of names and their short biographies. You’ll quickly get the sense which people fit the profile. In my case, I’m looking for a new entrepreneur or business owner.
The bio page is RICH with information. Folks on Meetup put in the effort to craft their profiles. Use this information by identifying things that resonate with you. Jot it down!
You can take it a step further by going to their other social profiles and doing a quick scan of their profile of Likes and Groups they follow. Remember to record what resonates with you!
Step 4: Wrap up
- You know all those profile highlights I’ve asked you to note down? Great – now simply highlight the top 3-5 things that are surfacing.
- Wrap up your Persona by writing a story. Use the info from your WIP persona along with the top 3-5 things you’ve highlighted from your research and write out your ideal customer profile.
Example: Diane Rogers is a 32 year old single mom with 2 kids, Joshua (4) and Matthew (2). She works as a creative marketing manager at World Wide Marketing. Diane has been moving up the ladder since starting at WWM when she was 26 years old. Diane has a huge passion for creative and spend hours a week looking at the latest blog posts on design. She loves any digital artwork for that matter. Diane started her own side-hobby as a blogger whereby she writes about how to improve creative work for retail brands. Diane has 2 cats, Felix and Garfield. They don’t share her love for creative as they frequently cuddle themselves up on her artwork documents…. etc.
Get the point?
- Put a picture to the words. I’ve purposely left this for last. Your mind have now painted a picture of what this person will look like and who they are. Go to Google images or wherever. Find a picture of your ideal customer. Try to find something as authentic as possible. I’ve seen some people use stock photos, which is fine I guess, but an authentic picture tells a much better story – it feels warm. This is for your private use only. Don’t go and start sharing your ideal customer profile on the web.
You now have a complete picture of the person to whom you should be talking to.
No matter what you do from now on, PROMISE that you will keep this person in your mind always. When you come up with marketing material or messaging, picture this person is sitting in front of you, or listening to you over the phone.
Your job from now on will be to make your messaging congruent with the identity of your ideal customer.
If you do that, you’ll win at marketing.
Simplify the above by using my ideal customer profile workbook!
I’m giving this away for free. To get access to my workbook which takes you step-by-step through the process, just share this article with your friends. You’ll be help me, help them!
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