The 4 Step Process for Identifying Your Ideal Customer
No matter what kind of marketing strategy you use or others tell you to use, social media or otherwise, it will always include targeting your ideal customer. The question you should be asking yourself before launching an effort to increase sales or gain new clients is: do you really know who your ideal customer is? If you think you do, how did you arrive at that conclusion?
None of the strategies really tell you how to make that first, all-important step. After all, if you’re targeting the wrong people your campaign isn’t going to be very successful, no matter how great your ad is or what kind of extras you’re giving away. Thankfully, to identify your ideal customer isn’t that difficult. You just have to know what tools to use and how to use them.
Your Map to Identify Your Ideal Customers
The basic map you want to follow is:
- Content Performance
- Customer Discovery
This won’t always be a straight road, either. You’ll probably find yourself looping back around to different steps as you learn more about your ideal customer.
First you need to create buyer personas. If you need some help doing this check out this article on using Google Analytics to create your personas. Target personas are generally created using age, gender, race, and status characteristics (income and education level, occupation, etc).
Once you’ve decided what your personas look like, you need to make sure that you have great keywords that will attract your customers.
The First Stop
You should always start with Google’s Keyword Planner. Here you’ll be able to find the basket of keywords that will work best for optimizing your website per the number of searches for keyword phrases. This will also give you insight on the burning questions in your industry, as you will be able to see long tail keywords and their respective search volumes. Long tail keywords in Google Search, generally come in the form of a query, “How do I start practicing mediation”?
** Note: in order for you to use keyword planner you will have to sing up to Google Adwords.
How do your keywords stack up?
Once you have your keywords and long tail queries, it’s time to double check them for real performance using a tool such as Buzzsumo, where you can see how popular already published content with your keywords or topics has been, including how many shares on a variety of social networks. This tool is free, but also has a paid option for more robust, more detailed data. This exercise will also help you with your content strategy, by giving you great ideas for content.
What about Facebook and Instagram?
At this point you’ve already identified personas, collected the keywords that should work for you, and tested those keywords to see how well they’ve performed in the past and with whom. Now it’s time to test your hypothesis with your social media fans, group peers and friends in order to verify or nullify your assumptions. This is how you will optimize your personas, keywords and content to make sure your ideal customer description is even more fine-tuned.
Facebook Graph Search – What’s that?
Facebook Graph Search is an excellent semantic search tool that lets you search for terms like “favorite interests of people who like [a page name]”, “pages liked by people who like [a competitor business name]”, or “places in [your city] visited by people who like [your page]”. These can be further subdivided by demographics to find how many men or women fall into the categories. You can also do this (and should) for your competitors’ pages as well. What insight does this give you? It tells you where your ideal customer hangs out – which pages they liked and in which groups they spend their time. You should join these groups and assess the topics that are being discussed and the types of solutions being provided. Write down all of the questions that are being asked and try to offer up solutions, which are not ‘salesy’. For example, if someone asks for advice on how acupuncture can help cure a common cold, do not send them to your sales page on acupuncture treatments. Simply write down the answer as a comment, framing the answer in a simple, concise manner. Wait for feedback and see if the feedback you are providing is resonating with the group where you are engaging. Assess the dynamic of the group in terms of age, sex, pain points and anything else that might be define their unique persona.
Instagram is not just for images
One great thing about Instagram is that users can add up to 30 hashtags per post, which makes searching them much easier. Use a variety of broad and narrow hashtags in your searches. For example, if you are a massage therapist looking for local clients, you might search for “#massage”, “#deeptissue and also “#[name of local town] “. Look through the posts and see what these companies / people are posting and what kind of comments they are receiving. Note WHO is commenting and the content of their comments as well.
Following these steps, you should have a better idea of who your customer is. With a better idea of your customer you should be able to create a more effective marketing strategy, create the right content that your customers want to read, and ultimately drive more sales.
To help you with this process, I created a free printable visual PDF version of the above tools. You can get this PDF by signing up below.