How to Market to The Right Customers

We've been on a bit of a "target customer" bender here lately, and this week's blog is going to be no exception. This week we're going to try to take you from "somewhat clear on who I'm talking to" to "I can see this person in my mind, I know their name, and I understand what they need/want from my business."

Many of us think we know our best customers, but when it really comes down to it, you probably just have a general idea. And while a general idea of your customer is not a bad place to start (especially if you are in your first 2 years of business),  as you grow, getting more specific is the key to getting more great customers (and fewer customers that are helping you pay the bills but aren't portfolio worthy). 

To make sure you're marketing to the best customers for your business, you have to know who those people are. Today we're walking you through an exercise where we'll analyze your current and past customer base and assign them to one of our four target customer categories. Through the process, you'll see trends emerge, and you can learn something about what customers you should be focusing your marketing on. 


KNOW EXACTLY WHO YOU'RE MARKETING TO WITH OUR TARGET CUSTOMER WORKSHEET

Unsure about who your target customer is?

Do you need clarity on who you are for and why?

This worksheet will help you get clear on who you are for by defining your target customer, and just as important it will ask you to consider who is your near miss and not the right fit customer is too. This can be an enjoyable activity to do by drawing on past experiences and brainstorming with team members or like-minded friends to help you defining or redefining who your customer really is.


Near Miss Customer

Now, we say "near-miss" because it's really easy to say you don't want to work with terrible clients. We often hear our clients start answering this question with statements like, "I want to work with people who have a big budget," or "I want to work with people who respect me and my expertise." These are not near-misses. These are total misses. And by picking obvious misses you get some idea of what's on target, but we think you can do better. 

We're asking you to be specific about what lies just outside of your target. By knowing what's just outside, we can better define the actual boundary that contains the clients you want to work with.

Your near misses are the ones that seem 80% like a good idea, but that 20% misfit makes the experience one you don't care to repeat. Even though they aren't awful, by continuing to accept work with these people, you aren't making space for good or great clients. 

For example, last year with Prim'd we came up with a method to package up some of our best marketing strategy expertise in the form of The Brand Plan.  Since then, we've let go of any clients who don't fit into any of our offerings ("I need a little of everything. Can't I just hire you hourly?") or clients who don't perceive value in having thoughtful marketing plans ("Can we make it up as we go?"). These aren't bad clients per say, they're just not great matches for us. And now that we've classified them as our "near miss," we can pass on them without worrying that we're making the wrong choice. 

Not-A-Bad-Fit Customer

The reality of most of our businesses is that sometimes we have bills to pay. We can't send PG&E a page of marketing strategy in the place of money. So with that, sometimes you have to take on the not-a-bad-fit customer. 

Your Not-A-Bad-Fit Customers are just like they sound: not a bad fit. They're often nice and have good rapport with you; they value what you do and followed your process. They paid you on time (a note here, anyone who doesn't pay you as a total-miss customer).

Some markers of the Not-A-Bad-Fit customer is your excitement level around their work. If you're not excited to do their work, or you don't care to learn more about their world, they might fall in this category. Some examples for Prim'd are clients that are in the first two years of business; often they're a little too green to really be a great fit. But occasionally these folks are in their first 2 years and they're not a bad fit. We've also been approached by certain industries (environmental law for example) that would have been fine work, but not the best fit. If you do end up taking this a client who is not-a-bad-fit,  you don't have to showcase it in your portfolio. You should showcase the kind of clients that you want more of.

Good Fit Customer

If you're marketing yourself well, the goal is to get most of your customers to fall in the next two categories. The good fit customers are the ones that you enjoyed their work. Maybe their industry wasn't your favorite, but their personality made them fun to work with. They paid you on time. They're likely to recommend you to other good or great fit clients. They might do repeat business with you. 

The difference between Good Fit and Great Fit Clients is that you might want to have a limited number of these in your profile. Perhaps they need a bit more hand-holding, or maybe you're not in love with their industry. So while you'll gladly work with these people, you might not want to only work with that industry. 

For Prim'd this can be companies with a more traditional value system (ex: real estate). They likely have some sort of internal business structure (assistant or team support), so we have people to work with to carry out our recommendations, which is good. Now while we don't mind traditional corporate work, we have a lot of voice and color to offer, and we wouldn't want an entire book of traditionally minded clients. 

Great Fit Customer

Your great fit customers are the ones who have been a joy. Your work with them has been fun, easy and highly profitable. That doesn't mean that you're overcharging them, just that it's easy for you to do, and they're happy to pay you for those services. They're sharing your work with their friends, recommending you to those around them, and likely to promote your work. If you're assigning your past clients to categories, write down how often they've come back to you for repeat business; great fits are repeat buyers. Also, Great Fit Customers offer a more meaningful connection to their business.  On some level, you identify with their goals or mission, and it gives you internal joy to help their business solve problems or thrive. 

For Prim'd these are people who have passion for what they're doing, and big aspirations. They might be a mission-based creative who is trying to empower women or an ambitious startup /mid-sized company who has goals of creating change in their industry, but their energy is infectious. By mapping our clients out, we discovered that many of them are at least 3+ years in their current business, or they have run businesses before. They've invested in consultants before, and they've invested either time or money in marketing in the past. Many of our Great Fit customers are service based businesses, or they have a product that delivers a service. 

We were able to get that clear by taking the time to weed through our entire client base, and assign them to one of these 4 categories. We wrote down notes about each client. We wrote down what they bought, how much they spent, how much profit we made, and whether or not they shared us with others. 

If this sounds like an exercise you'd love to do, we have a special bonus for you. We're giving away our Target Customer Worksheet, so you can walk through your own client base and start refining that great fit customer. 

KNOW EXACTLY WHO YOU'RE MARKETING TO WITH OUR TARGET CUSTOMER WORKSHEET

Unsure about who your target customer is?

Do you need clarity on who you are for and why?

This worksheet will help you get clear on who you are for by defining your target customer, and just as important it will ask you to consider who is your near miss and not the right fit customer is too. This can be an enjoyable activity to do by drawing on past experiences and brainstorming with team members or like-minded friends to help you defining or redefining who your customer really is.

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