According to Shopify, “Marketing is the practice of creating interest in a product or service and convincing potential customers to buy it.” However, before we can know what the customer will respond to, we have to know the customer.
Do you know your customer? Or are you focused on promoting your products/services, forgetting about the end user? Let’s look at three ways you can get to know your customers.
1. Build an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)
Knowing your customer is more than identifying their age group and income. To really know them, you have to understand them – what motivates them, how they get information, their hobbies, interests, and routines, all help shape what’s called your Ideal Customer Profile or ICP. Your ICP is a detailed outline of who your target consumer is. Aside from the basic demographic questions, there are questions here that will help you genuinely understand your end user.
- Why should they purchase your product/service as opposed to somebody else?
- How will your customer find your product/service? Online, in-store, etc.
- How often will they need to buy this product/service?
- Who are they buying for? Is it for themselves or somebody else?
These are just a few questions that help build a more in-depth image of who you’re marketing to. Defining who you are trying to reach will better enable you to get your message to them specifically versus the masses. Targeted marketing produces better results because you aren’t wasting your marketing efforts (or dollars) on people who aren’t interested in what you have to offer.
2. Solve Their Problem
Once you know your customer, you have an ICP, you can move into motivation. What is the problem you can solve for them? Focus on them and their needs vs. what you are trying to sell or provide – work backward.
If you’re a restaurant owner, perhaps it’s hunger (in the short term – i.e., I need lunch) or a place to go on date night (longer term). You can use this to direct your messaging and marketing approaches.
By solving their problem, subliminal (I’m hungry) or otherwise, you are positioning yourself as a resource vs. a salesman. You’re helping them, and focusing on them and their needs will perform better than any direct self-promotion.
(For a real-world case study about how listening to your customers can benefit you, click here!)
3. Talk To Your Customers!
The concept may seem obvious, but many businesses never attempt to spark dialogue with their customers. Instead, they go along developing marketing plans and promoting things as they want to be marketed to versus considering what their audience wants.
Interviewing your customers is one of the most effective ways to discover their opinions and expectations of your product or service.
Now many people read the word “interview” and immediately have a negative perception of the strategy. And we agree there is a right way and a wrong way to go about this. The key is to avoid a superficial interview that makes your customer feel like you’re just going through the motions. You’re looking for a conversation, not interrogating them.
Your objective is to figure out the “why.” Why do they purchase your product/service? How does it affect their day-to-day? Why might they be unhappy with your product, or vice versa? Communicate your genuine interest in their feedback to improve how you serve them – and even consider rewarding or incentivizing them.
These are just three steps you can take to discover your target consumer and how you can better reach them with your marketing efforts. They are not always easy to tackle, and it’s important to have a team who knows how to do it. If you’d like help approaching these steps, we’d be happy to help!