Samantha is 41. She has two children, aged 17 and 12. She has run her own business for the past four years, and between work and a busy family life, a lack of time is her biggest problem.
She’s married, holidays in France, and sometimes Italy. She’s tech savvy, no fool when it comes to managing her money, and takes the reins when it comes to the household spending.
She wrote her own website copy four years ago, but her analytics and her own intuition and experience are telling her it could be doing so much more for her company. She likes blogging, but doesn’t have the time.
Samantha’s my ideal customer. I could tell you more about her, but I think you already get the point. When it comes to writing blogs to promote my own business, Samantha’s the woman I have in mind when I sit down at a blinking cursor. You might think she’s just my imaginary friend, I can’t possibly comment…
Why do I need to spend so much time on her? It’s all about cutting through content fatigue.
Sometimes, we feel like there’s a deluge of information on the internet. It can be off-putting, confusing.
There’s so much content out there right now. The thing you as a business blogger have to remember is that most of it isn’t useful to your target audience.
You need to be different. You need to speak directly to them.
Building a profile of your ideal customer/s is the starting point.
It all starts with data.
Your data will show you who is buying your products or services, and who is interacting with your social media posts. That’s not to say all of them are your ideal customers, but it must be your starting point.
Here are your sources of data:
Google Analytics – if you haven’t got this activated on your website, activate it now. It’s still the gold standard when it comes to seeing website visitor numbers and the levels of engagement. Its demographics function also gives you a great deal of information about your website visitors. Please be aware, though, that a cookies warning may well be necessary for those activating the demographics part of the service.
Twitter Analytics – Twitter gives you a great deal of information about those who view and interact with your posts. It tells you what interests your followers (business, news, sport, comedy, etc), the age range and gender breakdown, what sort of devices they use, and even which mobile phone/broadband service they use. Twitter has shown me that a growing number of people are viewing my tweets via iPhones and iPads, and Android phones, continuing the trend towards mobile.
Facebook and other social media – Facebook can show you a great deal about those who engage with your posts including locality, age range, friendship networks, interests (via your followers’ likes), and other social media you use regularly can also give you good insights into who is interacting with you.
Your sales records – It’s amazing how many people overlook this. Your own records have great insights into who is buying your products or services, and how they are using them. It’s an excellent starting point. If you don’t know how old they are, what brought them to you, etc, why not consider a customer questionnaire to help you improve your service?
Take a few days to plough through all of this information. Pick out the age range, gender balance, locality, their interests, where they ‘hang out’ on social media, whether they are professionals.
Now, you have a basic profile. You should know whether you are targeting women in their 40s or professional 20-somethings.
Most people would stop there. Don’t. Your ideal customer profile has to be very detailed. Now, you have to take a look at marketing data about your specific age range and gender group.
A good place to start would be marketing studies carried out by academics, professional bodies, or marketing media.
It’s as simple as Googling “marketing to women in their 40s”, for example, and seeing what comes up. You’ll soon find information which is highly useful. Did you know that 96 per cent of women in their 40s make all or most of the major spending decisions for their households? Neither did I until I started profiling a customer’s ideal clients.
From all of this data and information you’ve gathered, you should now have a feel for where you’re going with your profile. At some point, the data has to be supplemented by your intuition about those who will buy from your business, and why.
Get more in our free, 16-page guide to boosting your small business blog by signing up for our mailing list. It has more about profiling your ideal customer, how to headline and structure your blogs, how to use images and sound, and how to boost its profile using social media and influencers.
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