Thoughtful marketing to make you stand out

Businesses, large and small, have a variety of customers. Imagine you’re a business owner and wave a magic wand. You now only deal with those customers who you really enjoy working with, buy the most from you and are low maintenance. Impossible? I beg to differ.

With the right preparation, you can plan your marketing in a way that will attract your dream customer and, at the same time, encourage those who aren't your ideal to opt out.

Below are three steps you can take to discover and attract your dream customers.

Step One: Who is your dream customer?

If you have an established customer base, think about those customers who buy the most from you, or who buy most frequently. Or those who are the most pleasant to deal with.

If you are starting out, or are established but are looking to explore other customer groups, it's a little harder. But try to paint a picture of who your absolute dream customer is. Who would you like to work with most?

If your customers are businesses:

  • Do you prefer working with smaller or larger companies?
  • Do the services you offer dictate the size of company you must work with? Do they need to be local?
  • Do they need to be established or could they be start-ups?
  • What about the business owners? What are their character traits? At what stage are they in their lives? Young entrepreneurs, people on their 2nd or 3rd career? Setting up on their own after starting a family?

If your customers are individuals:

  • Do they need to be local or can they be located anywhere geographically?
  • Do they need to be of a particular age group?
  • Do they need to be female or male?
  • Do they need to be at a particular stage in their life: young, single, married, parents, working, retired?
  • Do they need to be in a particular income bracket?

Neither list is finite. There are many other characteristics and behaviours you can apply. However it is important to note which characteristics are most important to you and your business when it comes to determining your dream customer. For some people this could be three, for others it could be five, for some it could even just be one.

For me, it is small business owners who want to grow their businesses and realise that they need to improve their marketing to achieve that goal. They are ambitious enough to take the path less travelled and appreciate that great results aren't all about quick wins. I could go on, but that takes me onto the next point....

Step Two: Get to know your dream customer

Whether you are targeting other businesses or individuals, try to talk to people who could fit the profile of your dream customer.

Having identified your dream customer, you really need to get to know them. Examples of questions you can ask are:

  • What are their hopes, fears, ambitions?
  • What are their lives like?
  • How do they spend their leisure time?
  • What job do they have?
  • What's their family setup?
  • How they consume news and entertainment?
  • Where do they hang out online and offline?
  • What keeps them up at night?

You may wonder about the relevance of some of these questions but answering them will help you build a fuller picture of the customer. This could allow you to identify oppoertunities that you could otherwise have missed.

One person I helped started placing flyers in the local coffee shops frequented by people fitting her dream customer profile. Simple and effective but something she hadn't thought of doing before.

Step Three: Build a portrait

Once you have answered these questions you can then use the answers to create a portrait of your dream customer. Depending on what you prefer, this could be in written form or visual.

This portrait will be fundamental to your marketing strategy as it will inform everything from how you shape your products and services to deliver the best value to your market to the message you use to communicate this as well as the channels you use to reach your dream customer and the methods you adopt to engage them.

Rewards of doing the hard work upfront

As with everything in life nothing is 100% fool proof. Not everyone you end up working with will be your dream customer. However, if you do the hard work upfront to identify your dream customer, in most cases you will. You will also make the process of acquiring your customers, keeping them and growing them so much simpler.


This article also appears on LinkedIn.

Photo Credit:william87 / 123RF Stock Photo