Sunday, August 7, 2011

Marketing Plan Series, 50 Tips for Defining Your Best Customer

50  Tips on Defining Your Best Customer

Marketing to your best customer means
major dollars for you.
Who Is Your Best Customer or Client and why should you figure that out?  Well there’s an old saying in sales that fits marketing very well, “You won’t figure out how if you don’t know why!”  Who are the customers that give you the biggest bang for your buck.  This is the one who pays on time, uses you eclusively in all of your niche areas of expertise.  This is a client with whom you have a great working relationship and you go out of your way to make sure they are happy at all times.   They know that if they are in any way dissatisfied you will do anything within your power to fix it.  For that reason they know you are the best solution for their needs and possibly others within their sphere of influence, so they will often refer other clients to you.
Here are some criteria for determining who your best customer is and how to service them:

1.     Can you make them more profitable and make money yourself doing it?
2.     Do you have automatic rapport that won’t take years to create
3.    Can you help them focus their energies on their niche and what they do best?
4.    Can you develop a fence around them as part of your herd as Dan Kennedy says, your best customer is also your competitors best customer
5.    Figure out how to express to them what you do best
6.    Make sure your best customer understands how you can help them

Why Define Your Best Customer in Your Marketing Plan?

Rather than wasting your time complaining that too many of your clients are needlessly cheap or are hard to sell to, ask yourself why you keep going back to these same people again and again, somehow expecting a different result than what you'd experienced before. It’s easy to say why you don’t want these customers, definition of madness is doing the same thing and expecting different results.  What I just enumerated earlier can help you define them, now you need to target them relentlessly.

Some tips:  

·         Develop a profile of what you would consider an ideal customer.
·         focus your efforts on attracting the attention of that kind of customer.
·         Qualify your customers as all customers and clients are not created equal
·         When you need revenue it’s easy to take on anyone you can get but it’s biblical, “Write your vision on tablets.”  If you have a best client profile and stick to it, you won’t be tempted and also you probably won’t have those times either.
·         Remember this: it pays to be choosy. Closing is faster and easier when you're only trying to sell a round peg to a round hole.
·         When your target market is well-focused, you spend far less time struggling.
·         Leapfrog over the competition by focusing on people you enjoy selling to.
·         You'll reduce the amount of objections you encounter, and you'll gain more repeat sales because you'll be dealing with people who want to have a long-term engagement with you.

Once you have a profile of your ideal customer, the next step is to look at who you sell to and determine how many of them meet that profile.

·         Are they solo entrepreneurs or corporations?
·         Are they service or retail or manufacturing?
·         Are they “b to b” or “b to c”?
·         Are they government organizations or are they consulting companies?
·         Are they international or they domestic?
·         Are they all run by women or men?
·         Are they for profit or non-profit organizations?

Once you've found the common thread that weaves together this "best of the best" customer list, use the same criteria when reviewing those who are in your prospect database.  Dan Kennedy says, “Niche to get Rich.”  If you are dealing with the same type of businesses your approach doesn’t always need modified, pitching and proposals are easier and the work goes more smoothly.
·         If you have a sales force then you can sub niche.  For instance you might divide your sales force accordingly
·         To apply a tighter focus on targeting have them focus on sub niches.
To really make money, you need to niche market and
then niche your sales staff.
·         One might focus on women business owners, another on non profits, a third on government organizations, get the picture.  
·         Each of your sales reps can have  a different product and a different market, and then they can find ways to become specialists in one area.
A fan of Monday Morning Marketeer, Jim Loevner wrote in about how he got the job of desgining the Rosebud Coffee and Music Venue.

He says:  “ In the Rosebud coffee and music venue job...not a very complicated story, really...and not sure how relevant for your peeps. 

Buuuut...I assembled kind of a "thematic" package wherein I took a blank, new corrugated cardboard box (to match the Metropol people's industrial aesthetic) about 10" square...and filled it with coffee beans, sugar cubes and two vintage pink coffee mugs nestled within...along with my business card...tied it with jute string...and dropped it off in person for the owner, Robin Fernandez. 

A day later, he called asking me to come down to speak with him and I won the job of designing Rosebud.

My outreach showed him that I ‘got’ where he wanted to go, stylistically.  We'd made a connection.  Clients want to know that you ‘get’ them, is what I'm saying, I suppose.”

This is a volunteered local example sent in to MondayMorningMarketeer.  Can you figure out now why knowing who your best customer is might be helpful?
So how do you attract the attention of your ideal customers?  In essence, find out where they hurt, or what keeps them awake at night.  Most sales are emotionally based and the most powerful sales emotion is the avoidance of pain.  Here are some things that may work for you:
·         Focus on a specific geographic area
·         Specific product
·         Specific service offering
·         Find the customers that you enjoy working with and that enjoy working with you.
·         Determine your customer’s needs and concentrate on selling benefits that fulfill those needs.

Here are some other reasons for defining your best customers and your target market:
·         For your business to succeed, it must have enough customers to buy the product or service offered.
·         So you need to evaluate your potential customer base.
·         Once you have figured out  who your best customer, your target client is then you can customize your marketing messages and your products and services to those customers.
·         Figure out whom you expect to be your most likely customers -- in other words, your target customers. Then tailor your marketing efforts, as well as your products and services, to those customers.
  • You can then tailor your products and services to better meet your customers' needs and desires
  • You can craft your marketing efforts to reach your most promising prospects.
·         Besides,  you can’t be everything to everyone and unlike some new entrepreneurs think.  Defining a target market will not limit your business. 
·         Identifying target customers does not prevent your business from accepting customers that don't fit the target profile. If such a customer seeks your product or service, you will still be available. But you won’t waste your time promoting to suspects who will never become prospects.
·         Defining a target market will save you time and money.   Unless you have unlimited marketing resources, it's much more effective to focus your marketing efforts on potential customers who you have determined are likely to buy your product or service -- rather than wasting time and money on those who “might” become customers.

How to Define Your Target Market

In a nutshell, defining your target customers means identifying the specific characteristics of the people or businesses who you believe are most likely to buy your product or service. These characteristics are sometimes called a demographic profile. Common characteristics used to classify customers include:
·         age
·         gender
·         income level
·         buying habits
·         occupation or industry
·         marital status
·         family status (children or no children)
·         geographic location
·         ethnic group
·         political affiliations or leanings, and
·         hobbies and interests.

Okay so now you are ready to create a marketing plan to reach your best client.  Whether you use five or all fifty of the tips put forth in this blog, and there will be other tips in the upcoming E-book, you have at least figured out by doing some of the things suggested here, who you are marketing to, once you have figured out that you can work on a plan to design how.

Watch for upcoming E-book on this subject, “Choosing Your Customers, Marketing to Them for Life.”
Additional information at:
Expected release date September 1, 2011.

You can listen to a fifteen minute audio version similar to this blog at:  MarketingPlanSeries: Designing a MarketingPlan for Your Best Customer

This blog post can be reproduced in its entirety with the following information:
© Joanne Quinn-Smith 2011, Monday Morning Marketeer™ 412-628-5048
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For More on this Topic:
 "Folly of Marketing Plan in Your Head, 101 Compelling Reasons to Write One" 

Or on its unique radio channel at:
Joanne Quinn-Smith is the Creative Energy Officer of Dreamweaver Marketing Associates in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and an expert on Web 2.0 Branding.
Joanne has also been designated by the 2009 U.S. Small Business Administration as the Small Business Journalist of the Year for her work with information relevant to and advocacy of small businesses.
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Phone:  412-628-5048

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