How can I identify potential customers?

One of the first challenges for most businesses is to identify who is likely to pay for their product or service.

However, this consideration often comes after the offering is developed and what is going to be said to promote it to the selected audience. I always encourage a business to develop their product / service as they are working on their customer development. It is pointless building something that nobody wants and only you thought would be a good idea.

Businesses often use one of the following ways to identify who to target with their offering.

  1. Existing Customer profiling – review the trends of your top 20% of customers or the think about the customer you want to attract. Age, location, sex, role, attitude, turnover, employee size, aligned with your interest or values, etc
  2. Segmentation – use demographics, classifications, life cycles, psychographics and contextual marketing to focus on your ideal prospect. This may be a certain size business in a certain postcode or region. Today, it often includes profiling the actual buyer / decision maker as much as the business.
  3. Sector profile – considering a specialism or niche based on experience or learning due to the potential fit to the offering.
  4. Market research – ask your ideal prospects, not your friends, some key questions such as what they expect, where they are buying now, why, and how often they buy. Understand what makes an ideal prospect part with their hard earnt cash.

The majority of SME’s have limited resources for their marketing in terms of time and money, so I recommend focusing on your ideal customer.

Your marketing will be much more targetted, relevant to your audience and show empathy with your market that will help pull prospects towards you.

Take a read of my blog ‘Focus on your ideal customer and resist trying to market to everyone‘ which explains my thoughts and reasoning further.

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