Many – too many, in fact – business owners see their ideal customer as any customer who has money. Some owners will focus slightly more, saying their ideal client is anyone willing to spend money on their product or service. This faulty perception of the ideal customer all but guarantees these companies will waste a lot of money on marketing. And many of these companies will ultimately give up marketing entirely, blaming marketing for their lack of focus.
The ideal customers for these businesses are actually the ones who truly want and need, especially need, what the business is offering. That ideal group is a small, possibly really small subset of the people who have or are willing to spend money.
Here’s an example, using my business, Bigger Pie Strategies. Many companies have money. Fewer want to spend money on marketing. All of these businesses could be a target for my business and I could market to them. And I might even see some results, but my return on investment won’t be good.
A wiser and more cost-effective approach is to target businesses that really want and need what Bigger Pie Strategies offers. Those businesses are smaller businesses and organizations who cannot afford big marketing companies. And big marketing companies cannot serve their needs easily.
These businesses want and need my services, and my approach satisfies a direct need they have. That need is innovative, results-oriented marketing strategies customized to meet their budgetary, financial and time needs. Therefore, I focus all of my marketing time and money on these businesses and, not surprisingly, they make up 99.9% of my customer base.
Put another way: Fish in the water where the fish that eat the bait you are using live.
But just knowing this ideal customer isn’t enough. I can describe my ideal customers in detail. I understand their wants, their needs, their concerns and their challenges. I know how they talk about the issues I am interested in helping them with. Of course, I have figured out where they are and that is where I spend my time. I network where they network and I track them on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
The difference over the last five years is that businesses used to open their doors and in walked customers. But the recession and its aftermath in recent years has trimmed the number of businesses selling and the number of people buying. Businesses have to work harder to find customers and focusing on the ideal customers of a business is the most cost-effective method for building a business.
I work with business owners to determine who their ideal customers are and how best to reach them. For some businesses, the ideal customers aren’t the ones who are buying the product or service. This often hidden reality occurs when sales are not good.
Finding and understanding the ideal customer can be difficult. But a business has a clear handle on its ideal customer, focused marketing is possible – and it is far more cost-effective and successful than marketing to the masses. It’s the best means to obtaining a bigger pie.