Understanding your customers is imperative to the success of any business. By thoroughly analysing your target market and profiling ideal consumers, you can equip yourself with the means to optimise your business plan, go-to-market strategy, and overall marketing plan, and to capture the attention and spending power of your identified target audience.
Fortunately, there is a simple process that you may follow to build an accurate customer profile. This will detail the consumers that benefit most from the product or service portfolio, and offer your company the most value in return. Information such as buyer demographics, socioeconomic status, education, purchasing habits and location must be determined, and then processed into a persona that represents your ideal customer.
Creating a Customer Profile
To show you how to do this, we've compiled an in-depth, easy to follow guide. All you have to do is complete the following six steps:
1. Define Your Target Audience
Begin your profiling journey by defining your business' target audience. Ask yourself, who does your organisation aim to appeal to the most?
For established companies, your sales data will reveal the answer to this question. Analyse your sales reports to discover the group of consumers that comprise your most significant revenue stream. These will be the buyers that most frequently purchase your products and services, or transact with the greatest order values. This primary research will be invaluable in identifying your initial ideal audience.
New startups, meanwhile, will need to rely on defining the solution that their company offers to the chosen market, in order to determine their audience. What problem, need, or desire does your offering aim to address? Who is most likely to require this, and thus take the purchasing decision? In the absence of sales data, new businesses can turn to their market research to help define their intended consumers.
2. Delve Into Demographics
With your initial target audience now noted, you must deep dive into the specific demographics of these customers.
You should aim to determine the market that your key buyers belong to, as well as their age, gender, race, level of education, profession, average income, and location. Consider how these factors may affect their behaviours, preferences, and purchasing decisions.
Use real analytics to ensure your profiling is as accurate as possible, rather than employing guesswork. Analyse your digital channels to gain the necessary information regarding your audience. Start with your online store, and review the data submitted as customers make their purchases. Next, evaluate your website and social media pages, to extract the statistics of the viewers who make meaningful engagements with your content. Finally, utilise online surveys to capture the required information directly from buyers.
Don't forget that you can also use secondary research to gain even more valuable information. Market reports, trade publications, and government agencies can all shine a light on your target audience and support you in this endeavour.
There are many decisions that can be taken based upon the conclusions of your demographic research. Among them are the communication channels you are most likely to reach target buyers through, and should, therefore, invest in more prominently. You can even determine the language that will appeal to them most, by pinpointing the generational group your consumers belong to. Such resolutions will significantly impact the effectiveness of your marketing.
3. Obtain Customer Feedback
Receiving firsthand feedback from your target shoppers can contribute significantly to your customer profiling process. This gives you the opportunity to ask them questions that will help you understand their needs, requests, and predilections.
Conduct feedback activities online and offline for well-rounded responses to your questions. Utilise digital tools to create and share online questionnaires for buyers to complete. Meanwhile, you can also arrange face-to-face customer interviews that will offer you more insight into the emotion with which they respond to your queries. Focus groups can also be a great way to receive consumer feedback offline.
Incentivising your audience to engage with your feedback forms and efforts will greatly increase your chances of receiving complete, accurate responses.
4. Save Customer Profile Details in Your CRM System
Far from being expendable, the information you are gathering is of great importance to your business. Ensure that it is recorded in the safest way, and is available at a moment's notice for future reflection and adjustment.
Saving your customer profile details in your customer relationship management tool of choice is, therefore, a great idea. Detail the information you have gathered regarding your ideal consumer, and list the most noteworthy results that have been ascertained.
Loading this data into your CRM system also gives your extended team the opportunity to access this information, and better understand the company's market approach, thus becoming more involved in its successful execution.
5. Frequently Update Your Customer Profile
The key to successful customer profiling is consistently refreshing that information to ensure it is always valid and accurate. Re-evaluate your internal customer data at regular intervals, continue to conduct customer feedback activities, clarify your demographic details, and review the outcomes of these.
This standard practice will allow you to modify your outlook as your business grows and begins to appeal to broader, more varied buyer groups.
6. Add Your Buyer Personas to the Mix
Creating buyer personas can help you use the information you have gathered for your customer profile, supporting you in deciding how to sell to those particular buyers.
A persona is a fictional representation of your ideal consumer, utilising the demographic data, purchasing behaviours, and shopper wants and needs that you have already identified. When you personify this information, it shows your potential consumer with a fictitious name, characteristics, and requirements.
Up to five buyer personas may be required in order to cover the main possible customers that are within your ideal consumer group. For instance, there will be one for each age group, market, or socioeconomic status noted.
This approach encourages entrepreneurs to focus on the imagined, individual buyers, and decide how they would generate awareness, interest, decision and action among them. The outcomes of evaluating buyer personas complement the customer profiling process and offer promising results to businesses.
Throughout this step, you can adopt professional templates and online tools to support the creation of your buyer personas. HubSpot and Hootsuite are two reputable sources that offer helpful models.
Building a customer profile will enable you to better understand the needs of your buyers and, as a result, take important decisions regarding your sales planning, go-to-market strategy, marketing tactics and more. You should be sure to capture the relevant internal and external data that will support you in evaluating the demographics, needs, desires and feedback of consumers to this end.
This valuable data should be stored internally, to encourage relevant sales and marketing teams to benefit from its outcomes, as well as facilitate the regular evaluation and correction of the information. Indeed, consistently updating your customer profiles is a process particularly important to startups and small businesses that are in the process of navigating challenging periods of growth, during which you may begin to attract new consumer groups, and expand your market dominance due to the release of new products and services.
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