This task is actually tougher than it seems…for some small businesses it may be very simple. However understanding who your customer is a big step in understanding how your marketing will work.
The technical phrase that is used to describe customer classifications is “Personas”. You may just have 3 or 4 customer personas, you may have over 100. Segregating your customers into personas allows you to choose the marketing medium(s), messages and tools that you want to use, based on the demographics and pyschograpic information that you have collected about those customers and prospects.
As a small business owner I am sure you have come across groups of people and other businesses that you do NOT want to work with. This group of people and businesses will be your “negative personas”. By removing this group when considering your digital strategy you can avoid the challenges involved with these customers such as low ROI, high cost of acquisition and even that they are too advanced for what you are selling.
Understanding your customers, may require you to so some research. Very small businesses, can typically fill most of the questions in themselves. Here are some of the questions though that you may want to consider asking:
Basic demographic information: Age, gender, home ownership, employment, family members, hobbies etc
Psychographic information: What does a day in their life look like, do they currently have any pain points that you can help them solve, what do they value most in their business and what are their business goals. Where and how do they gather information, and what are their main criticisms or objects to your product or service.
You can expand on this list of questions as you see fit based on the service/products that your business offers. Having all of this information in a database that allows you to filter customers/leads by the information collected will be very useful in your marketing campaigns.
If you are not able to use a database or excel spreadsheet, index cards are great to begin with. I used to buy horse food and equipment from a local small business. This was a few years ago but their index card system was very impressive. It included a flurry of stars and paperclips which told the salesman what horses I had, if we competed and what groups of items I had purchased in the past and what products they thought I might like.
They would even target certain customers with samples, and it was those samples that kept me returning and sharing information with them (horse owners are sadly typically poor and value every freebie that they are given!) and of course continuing to be a customer. I can guarantee that I never left the store with just a bag of feed! It made me feel special and unique!
The trick for you though is get the mix of marketing mediums and messages perfect for the persona you are targeting!
If you need some help with setting up persona questionnaires, or understanding the marketing mix some more please call 601-667-0009 or email firstname.lastname@example.org