Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Locate Your Customer

Identifying customers is sometimes an overlooked step in designing a social media strategy. Established businesses can fall into the routine of targeting the same groups or making marketing decisions based on past successes. It is important to perform a bit of self-inquiry to keep up with shifting customer behaviors and the changes which have occurred in how potential customers look for products and services.

I like to compare the customer identification process to my experience of defining a target market for the potential publisher I hope will consider my book draft for publishing:

Who is my target audience? Well, how about “people who read?!” Hmm, too broad. Okay, “adults interested in stories of women who came of age in the Great Depression.” Oh, specifically Midwestern women. And don’t forget young adults who want to learn about a period of American culture that is so different from today that it seems also to have occurred in a foreign land: Mapping change through one woman’s personal journey. The more I think about it, the more sharply I can define the target.

The same holds true for business. Whether you are a yoga studio seeking to pinpoint your student’s demographics; a water filtration company trying to reach new customers through new channels; or a new social media consulting business looking for clients: The questions to ask ourselves are the same. 

Who do you serve now?

Yoga Studio
Middle-age, Senior, young adult, suburban
Water Filtration
New home buyers and sellers
Social Media Business
Small businesses lacking social media strategy

Why do customers/clients come? 

Yoga Studio
Exercise, stress relief, build self-esteem, mindfulness
Water Filtration
Long-term cost savings, reduce waste
Social Media Business
Seek to expand customer base

How do customers in your market find their new products and services? 

Yoga Studio
Word of mouth, search engines, signage, promotions
Water Filtration
Search engines, trip to hardware store
Social Media Business
Search engines, social media, industry associations

The more we analyze, the more we can pinpoint the behaviors and demographics that will help us paint a picture of our target customers and how to best reach them. In the process, we learn about the marketplace in which we compete, discover groups we are not serving, find needs to be filled and learn from our competition. We may find surprises along the way – traits and trends we hadn’t anticipated.

With people heading first to the Internet to find what they are seeking, a business’ web presence is critical to its continued success. Through effective use of keywords and links in websites and blogs, businesses can achieve the page rank that gets them noticed. Through ongoing Facebook and Twitter activity, businesses expand their reach as their engaging content gets passed through the social network. Through targeted Facebook and Google ads, businesses pop into the view of exactly the potential customers they hope to reach.

Traditional methods such as local newspaper ads and mailings don’t have the tailored reach or the breadth of the Internet. Now if we do our homework and learn the specific type of consumer we are trying to reach, social media enable us to appear on their proverbial doorstep.

No comments:

Post a Comment