Whether you have an online business or a physical shop, the question is still relevant. Do you know who your ideal customers are? They’re the people who walk through your door or contact you, use your services and happily come back for more. But how well do you really know these people that your business depends upon, and how do you find and appeal to others in their group?

online business

These are my top tips for getting to know your customers and effectively reaching them.

Customer profiles

Every online business should have a very clear idea of who their ideal customer is, and the best way to define this is through a customer persona.

This fictional profile of who your target customer is and how they operate helps tailor your marketing, products and the services you provide.

Akin to having an imaginary friend in the room when making marketing or business decisions, a customer persona incorporates detail of how your specific customer thinks, what they like to do, how much income they have at hand and where they like to go. These are not vague details but very specific information about how this person operates and makes decisions. With this information, your online business will have a significant marketing advantage.

A customer persona includes:

  • How they spend most of an average day
  • Their disposable income
  • Brands they are attracted to
  • Their position on a specific issue
  • Their priorities in life
  • Sources of information they trust
  • Keywords that indicate who they are
  • A quote which sums up their frame of thinking
  • Goals they strive to meet

Creating a customer persona

There are a number of ways to create a customer persona but a great place to start is with your existing customer database by outlining what your clients have in common.

Ask yourself: who is your favourite customer, who do you already appeal to, what services do they use?

You can also dive deeper into your customer knowledge by interviewing select clientele or actively seeking feedback from your customers.

Once you have this information you should create a detailed reference document for you and your staff, and perhaps even allocate the persona a name and image.

Market research

While creating a customer persona is an integral element to knowing who your ideal clientele are and how to market to them, it isn’t the only element used to learn more about your market.

Further research involves discovering your market segment. A market segment differs from a customer persona in that it covers more general demographics like age, income, ethnicity and traits. These are the statistics your online business can use to market to your customers, while the persona is the characterization of your ideal client.

Marketing plans

Once you know your customer and the segment in which they operate your online business is best positioned to market directly to them. And this is where your marketing plan comes in.

A marketing plan should outline:

  • How and where to advertise
  • What mediums you should use
  • The essential elements of your branding
  • What vocabulary to use

Learning more about your customer enables you to discover where they seek information, what calls them to action and the services that best suit their needs. It arms your online business with insightful information about who you are really targeting and enables you to hone your brand and message.

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