When we talk about small business marketing, we always talk about starting with a sound marketing strategy before jumping into tactics. One of key elements of your marketing strategy is identifying your ideal customer – those customers in your sweet spot, the ones you can really help, and the ones who truly value your unique approach and what you bring to the table.
Most small business marketers describe their ideal customers in terms of demographics – industry, income or revenue, location (zip codes), etc. Demographic information is helpful, but most small business owners benefit from asking two questions to help them identify their ideal customers first, and then use demographic (and other) information to help them find more customers who meet their ideal customer profile. Those two questions are:
Are They Profitable?
If you can, create a spreadsheet of your customers and list the amount and type of business you do with each. You might even rank them in order from most to least business over the last three years.
Now remember, revenue is not the same as profit. Your biggest customers may not be your most profitable ones. Determine which customers are your most profitable. Which types of work or projects are the most profitable? How much work are you doing that is not profitable? This exercise can be a real eye opener.
Do They Refer You To Others?
Once you have identified your profitable customers, make a new column in your spreadsheet where you can identify the customers who are known referral sources. Consider this: Only happy clients refer and happy clients are most often happy because you or your approach is a good match for what they needed. This narrow group of profitable clients, the ones that also refer, holds the key to discovering your ideal client profile.
Now that you have identified your profitable customers who also refer you to others, learn everything you can about them that will help you find more customers just like them.
P.S. – More tips on creating your ideal customer profile and creating a marketing strategy can be found in this free small business marketing strategy guide.
Bill Brelsford Small Business Marketing Consultant