How to define your target customer
What is a target customer?
If you've looked into marketing then you've probably heard it over and over again, you need to target your customer. But when you're just starting out, how do you know who your customer is?
You need to use your imagination a bit here. Imagine that one person that buys your products, loves them and recommends them to their friends. This is your target customer.
Be realistic, if you're selling nail varnish, it's unlikely your target customer is a 70 year old man.
It's tempting to try to sell to everyone, and you're quite right, you will have a diverse range of customers. But the truth is, unless you're selling household goods (that absolutely everyone needs), you need to choose a person and market to them.
Your whole business should revolve around your target customer, from what you sell, to how you sell it.
If you can work out exactly who your customer is and what they like, you'll get huge results. The bonus is: it also makes it much easier to sell to them.
Already making plenty of online sales but still unsure about your target customer? Use Google Analytics. The demographics tool is super handy to find out details about the people that are visiting your website. If you're not signed up yet, do it now! Contact me if you need some help.
Apply these five steps to work out who your target customer is:
STEP 1: basics
Like it or not, men and women respond to marketing differently. If you can define your customer's gender, you can give them better content. Ask yourself this, are your products or services feminine, masculine or unisex?
Example: women are more likely to engage and comment on social media, so if your targeting women, you should be asking questions and inviting them to get involved with your content.
- Age range
How old is your customer? Choose one of these age groups: under 18, 18-24, 25-34, 35-44, 45-54, 55+
Different age groups respond differently to marketing messages, technology, and definitely have different values and interests. If you're not sure, choose a wider age range and refine it later (i.e 18-34 or 35-54).
Example: if you're customer is aged under 25, it's much more likely they'll be on Snapchat than a customer over 25. So if you're targeting that age group, you should be promoting yourself on Snapchat.
- job role
Does your customer manage a company or are they still studying? Maybe they're a stay at home mom or a retired man living on a budget? Define a few different job roles that are connected to your product or service. If it's too broad, think about different careers that would allow your customer to afford what you're selling.
Defining a job role will allow you to put yourself in the position of your customer, you'll be able to relate to them better if you understand what they're doing everyday. Maybe their day-to-day struggles is something you understand, maybe you can offer advice.
Example: you've decided to write a blog post about how to spend your money wisely, you need to choose a title depending on your target customer. A student would respond well to a blog post titled 'budgeting tips' whereas someone in a very well paid job would prefer 'investment opportunities'.
- Marital status
Are they single? Single with kids? In a relationship? Married? Married with kids? Marital status says a lot about a persons priorities, and how they're likely to spend their money.
Example: a single man with no children is more likely to spend his money travelling the world, than a married man with children and a mortgage to pay.
STEP 2: location
When you're selling online, it can be tempting to think you're selling worldwide. But both cultures and languages vary across the world.
It can be a good idea to start with the country you know well, where you're from, or where your business is located and expand your reach later. This might involve adding a multi-currency feature to your website, or hiring a translator.
Example: the Chinese market is huge, but it's also a country filled with strong traditions and values. Unless you have a really clear understanding of the language and culture, targeting these customers will be expensive and extremely difficult. Start small and grow your customer base alongside your business.
- local or national
Should your customer be local to you? If you're selling a service that involves face-to-face meetings (such as courses / photography etc) you want your customers to be local to you. If your business is purely online and accessible to everyone, you probably want to promote it nationally.
Example: if you are promoting your physical store that exists in a small town in Scotland, your customer needs to live or work in that town, in order to visit you.
STEP 3: wants and needs
- likes and dislikes
Do they like watching films? Do they dislike reality tv? It might not seem totally relevant to your product or service, but imagine you're selling to a good friend or family member, it would be much easier than a complete stranger because you know what they respond well to, and you can use that in your marketing content.
Write a list of typical likes and dislikes for your target customer.
Example: a typical student loves a takeaway pizza (just-eat.com often target students), a retired customer is likely to prefer home cooked meals. So if you're a photographer targeting students, take some photos of delicious pizzas, upload them to Facebook and tell your customers to share it with their friends.
Where do they spend their free time? What are they interested in? This can either give you another angle to relate to your customer, or it can tell you where you should be promoting yourself.
Example: your customer loves to read design blogs in their free time, so contact the editors of some of the top design blogs, see if you can get your company a feature or maybe it's worth paying for a sponsored post or an advert.
The best kind of marketing is all about solving problems. People don't just want to buy things, they want solutions to their problems. Based on what you've worked out about them so far, what problem does your customer have?
Example: if you sell yoga classes, your customers problem could be stress at work, or maybe they feel unfit or unhealthy. Your yoga classes solve those problems.
STEP 4: values and habits
- beliefs and values
What does your customer feel strongly about? Do they believe in looking after the environment? Maybe they think customer service is really important? If you can relate to your customers beliefs and values, they are more likely to remember you and feel a connection to your brand.
Example: if your customer believes in supporting independent businesses, you should make it clear across all of your content (marketing materials / website / products) that you're an independent business.
- shopping habits
Does your customer buy your product frequently or occasionally? Do they prefer to shop online or in person? Do they spend time researching products to find the best value or do they make impulse purchases? This could be decided by what you're selling.
Example: if you're selling perfume, your customer isn't going to need new perfume every week, instead they're likely to buy from you two or three times a year. They will probably want to smell it first too. If you don't have a physical store, maybe you'd want to offer free or low price samples.
STEP 5: finances
- spare income
Based on their job, their hobbies and their lifestyle, how much money do they have left at the end of the month? Do they need to save money to afford your product or service? Will they ask for it as a gift? Or is it something they could purchase without much thought or concern?
Example: a student won't have much spare income, so if you're selling a £500 shoes to students, your customer will struggle to afford you, they're more likely to ask for the shoes as a gift. Knowing this, means you can be smart about your marketing strategy - you could offer discounts when student loans are paid.
Now that you know who your target customer is, you're ready to start marketing to them. Remember to always keep them in mind when you're creating content for your business.
I hope you found this blog post helpful, as always I love comments and feedback, so if you can spare a minute, I'd be really grateful if you could leave a comment in the box below.
If you'd like some personalised help to work out exactly who your target customer is, please get in touch and we can arrange a consultation.