Shauna Madsen, Microbusiness Training Centre, Edmonton, AB, CYBF Mentor
Remember when you were in English class and your assignment was to create a character? You had to define his likes and dislikes; his physical characteristics; what he did for an occupation; what kind of personality he had and whether he’s an antagonist or a protagonist.
Characterizing your ideal customer is very much the same exercise; you either define who you would like to have for an ideal customer by listing all of the characteristics and values that the perfect customer has or choose the perfect customers from your pool of clients and study them.
The more you know about your customers the closer you are at figuring out how to attract the ones you want. The best place to learn more about who you want as a customer is to draw from the customer pool you already have.
So do a survey. Ask the questions that will not only define your ideal customer but will help guide and target your advertising dollars. Do they read the local paper or have a favorite television program? Do they attend the same church as you do? Have they any children and what ages are they? Are they involved in community sports or events?
If you know that a large percentage of your customers have teenagers in hockey, chances are there are other parents that are similar in character to your current customer. You open the door of opportunity to get involved as a sponsor if you know that is where your target audience is doing in their off-time.
Just starting up? I teach students in the self-employment training program at the Microbusiness Training centre in Alberta that when determining your ideal customer, the best place to start is in front of a mirror. We usually attract people who are either like us or people that we like. So, the more we know about ourselves – our values, strengths and characteristics – the better chance we have in defining who we would like to do business with. Then, we can seek out the customer group we want based on what we like to do, be and have in our own lives.