Building an email list. Promoting your ecommerce store. Branding your B2B service company. Selling products on Amazon. Regardless of what you’re doing online, the foundation of your success will be in your ability to determine what your target customers want and how best to give it to them. Sound easy? From my experience, this is one of the biggest hurdles companies face, which means most are taking a stab in the dark and simply guessing about their customers. And that’s a real shame that could be costing them dearly.
Think about it this way: I walk up to you and ask you to do me a favor. I’d like you to buy a birthday gift for my dear friend, Cathy. You agree to help and start asking questions such as:
• How old is she?
• What does she like? Clothes, knickknacks, jewelry, home goods, techy gadgets?
• What size does she wear?
• What colors are in her house?
• What does she do for a living?
• What are her hobbies?
And a host of other questions, to which I respond, “She’s your average woman of average age that likes the kinds of things most women like. Thanks for your help! I can’t wait to see what you pick out for her.”
This wouldn’t necessarily be an impossible task. You could purchase rather generic gifts that would be suitable to any woman and require no knowledge of the person whatsoever, such as picture frames. And yes, that would accomplish the goal of buying a gift, but it would likely get so-so results.
When my friend opens the package and sees an ordinary brown wooden picture frame, she’ll be appreciative, but will also likely be a little disappointed. The gift, after all, wouldn’t be very personal.
This is what happens when marketing of any type (copywriting, content funnels, lead generation, conversion optimization, email campaigns, social media, etc.) is performed with little to no knowledge of your target audience. Yes, you may accomplish the task and even get somewhat decent results, but you will not hit it out of the ballpark because your marketing communication doesn’t strike a personal nerve.
Unlock Your Target Customers With Graphics
No … not those kinds of graphics 😉 I’m referring to demographics, geographics and psychographics. These make for a great first level of your target audience profile.
Demographics are the hard and cold facts of your target customers. These are things like race, sex, age, income and how many children they have. These elements of data can come into play when you’re trying to analyze the basics of who your target customers are.
The second “graphic” to keep in mind is geographics. You might be a local company and limited in your reach. Let’s say you are a local landscaper. You don’t want to attract customers from Washington State if you are located in New Jersey. There is no way you could service those customers in Washington State when you’re on the opposite side of the country.
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In addition, if you’re talking about search engine optimized website copy, geographics will come into play when you select your keywords and do keyword research. It’s also relevant when writing your copy.
Most of this type of data can be found in your customer databases, sales records and Google Analytics reports.
Go Psycho About Your Customers
Once you have a basic profile, it’s time to delve deeper into the types of people you have as customers. That means using psychographics. This is the behavioral aspect of your target customers that involves searching for motivations and behavioral clues. Why do they do what they do? What are they thinking when they do what they do? What makes them want to purchase something? What triggers them to think they have a need for your product or service?
Usually, this type of information is compiled over time and is observed rather than reported. Customer service agents, salespeople, social media managers and anyone else who is on the front lines interacting with customers is a great candidate to collect these details. You don’t need the customers’ names or direct contact information, just a record of what they think, like, don’t like and want.
Other Questions to Answer
In addition to the questions we’ve addressed so far, think about the following:
• What is their most pressing problem or desire related to your products or services?
• What other choices do they have available (competitors, “homemade” alternatives, the option not to buy after all, etc.) for solving their problem or desire?
• Where do they get their information? (Magazines, online, friends, social media?)
• What causes them to trust a company?
• What brings out their suspicious side?
• Why would they want to buy from you instead of all the other choices?
• Why have customers decided not to buy from or hire you?
Flushing out your overall target audience profile is a never-ending process because customers are constantly evolving. Starting today with these basics and consistently updating the information as your company grows is a vital part of boosting your marketing results.
Want a few cleverly compiled worksheets to help you nail down who you’re communicating with so you can do it better? My Copywriting Cheat Sheets are a great place to start! Not only do they help you collect target audience data, they also give you a leg up when using that information to create content.