When you’re trying to start or grow your business, you have to make sure you’re attracting the right kind of customer. The key is knowing who to look for, and honing in on your ideal client profile is the first step in creating an effective marketing campaign. Unlike broad-based marketing, which tries to appeal to everyone, targeted marketing is all about identifying what makes your ideal client special and directly speaking to them about their needs. By mapping out the attributes, behaviors, motivators, and preferences of who you think wants your product or service, you can more effectively strategize how to connect with those customers and build a stable clientele base.

Building your ideal client profile

There are many different kinds of information that can be gathered about your ideal client through a combination of data and research. These include identifying their demographic factors (age, gender, education, income level, marital status, location); psychographic factors (values, beliefs, opinions, interests); behaviour (how and when they make purchases); attitudes and motivators; problems and needs.

If you’re in presales, and don’t have client information yet, consider designing a survey to determine the customer group most likely to purchase your product or service. Take time to check out the competition and see what their customers like and don’t like (think: reading Yelp reviews). You can also use external sources like market research reports and Statistics Canada.

If you already have customers, you will be able to find much of this data through social media analytics, emails, Google analytics, customer relationship management (CRM) information and newsletter open/read rates. Design a survey and interview your best clients – past and present – to learn more about what they purchase and why.

There are many free customer profiling tools online – explore those as well.

Creating targeted messaging

Once you know your ideal client inside and out, personalize your ads by using their language and highlighting the specific benefits that will speak to them – communicate your value by creating a focused marketing campaign. Even if you would like your product or service to have universal appeal, a targeted marketing campaign can be a great starting point to attract and solidify a loyal clientele and validate your business offering and pricing.

Staying connected

As your company continues to develop, it’s important to measure and track client activity. This not only provides a baseline but it gives you feedback on how to test, tweak and improve your product or service. Respond quickly and thoughtfully to your customers' questions, comments or concerns. Most importantly, keep them up-to-date on your brand through personalized emails, polls and even contests. Remember that the more exposure they have to your company, the more likely they are to keep following and purchasing from it for many years to come!

Want to learn how to get your business started on the right foot? Attend the “Business Basics for Startups” seminar series at YES, either in person or online, on November 7th, 14th and 21st. For more information, visit www.yesmontreal.ca or call 1-888-614-9788 ext.316.