How to get to know your customers and create their profiles

It’s a new year, so, if you don’t already have a clear picture of who your customer is, there is no better time than now to come up with their profiles. If you aren’t sure what the value is in doing this exercise, think about it like this: Marketing is becoming unbelievably personal, with personalisation no longer just an extra thing to have. Why? The more intimately you know your target market, the better you can engage and build relationships with them. Once you have strong relationships with your target market, it’s much easier to convert them into customers and from there, into word-of-mouth advocates for your business and the products or services you offer.

What does that come down to? Getting to know your audience, who your target market is. It’s impossible to get to know every single customer, so we are going to create profiles that represent particular customers. Once you have these done, refer back to them whenever you are doing any marketing or communications to make sure that it will resonate with your target market.

Let’s get into it then!

Set aside some time.

This process can take some time, but it’s well worth it. So make sure to set aside a decent amount of time where you can focus on getting to know your customer.

Research

You want to know everything you possibly can about your customers. Use existing data, where possible, from Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, your mailing list, CRM or anywhere else you have data about your customers. You want to find who your key customers are, so you are looking for things like age, gender, location, education, income level, employment status, and anything else that is relevant to your target market. It might sound creepy, but you can identify some people as being in your target market, perhaps friends or family, and then look across different social media channels to see what their habits are. How do they share, what do they share, what are they most interested in and so on.

The goal here is to garner as much information as you possibly can about your customers so you can identify primary, secondary and tertiary market segments and how to best connect with them. I recommend steering clear of surveys in your research. The data can be revealing, but it can also be biased to a market segment that is willing to fill out a survey and exclude a much more significant portion that isn’t.

Review

Data is useless without a clear understanding of what it tells you. So now that you have as much information as you can practically obtain about your target market, it’s time to review it. Correlate all this data together. Match data from different analytics platforms and see what it says.

Are you finding your website audience according to Google Analytics is primarily 25-35-year-old men but your Facebook Insights put your likes at being mostly 45-65-year-old women? Or perhaps they are a close match? Maybe they are predominately located in regional towns? What about particular cities? Look for common traits that can help you identify who is engaging with you in some way and how they are engaging. Your website might not be generating many sales for example because it is producing the wrong traffic for the type of content.

Identify your profiles

As you work through this process, you will begin to see trends. As you note down the trends that intersect, you might notice that these pieces of data are starting to resemble a person. You might be noticing multiple people. Using this data, you can usually assign enough information to a profile to come up with 2-4 unique profiles quite easily that fall into specific age and gender ranges with their associated attributes. Combine these data points into your primary, secondary and tertiary profiles by associating the most common traits with your primary profile and then less common ones with your secondary and tertiary profiles.

Give your profiles life

We have our profiles now, that’s a massive step towards identifying with them as people, but they are still missing something. Let’s give each profile a name, a job, relationships, a home, a career, anything that is a consistently identifiable attribute for the people in this market segment. You want to make them personal so that you and your team can personally identify with these people and understand what their goals and pain points are.

Understand their goals

Build on this further to identify what each profile’s personal and professional goals are. What motivates them? Maybe their primary goal right now is to visit every country in the world. Perhaps it’s to study abroad. Maybe they want to invest in property or buy their own home. It could be something as simple as wanting to halve their power bill this year. Identify which products or services you offer that can help your profile reach their goal, and how.

Feel their pain

There is always something. Perhaps one profile is locked out of the property market because the cost of entry is too high and too complicated. What’s preventing them from reaching their goal of travelling to every country in the world? How does your product or service help them to overcome the barriers or pain points that they are struggling with?

I’m just going to stop you there though. Sometimes we get this far and look at our profiles and wonder why on earth they are even looking at our products or services, sometimes even disregarding them entirely. It’s true that it can sometimes be difficult to identify how our products or services can help the people visiting our website or liking us on Facebook, but if they are there, then there must be something drawing them in. It’s your job to identify what it is about your product or service that is appealing to them, even if they are just there for the cat video you shared that doesn’t really connect to any of your products.

Get creative and think outside the box. It might be time to repackage a product with something else to better fit the profile. Or it might just be time to revisit how you are marketing your service altogether. That’s the whole point of this exercise, to understand how to fix your target markets pain and help them reach their goals. Only then can you effectively engage with them and build a relationship that will transform into sales.

Do your homework

Once you have your profiles identified, keep going. Whenever you learn something new about them, add that data. Don’t be afraid to change their attributes or create new profiles as time goes on. Perhaps you discover that a particular profile has a preference for cats, note that. Maybe they tend to do their grocery shopping on Mondays. Do they use a specific kind of smartphone? The more you know about your person, the more relatable they are, and the more you can identify with them.

Don’t be afraid to get to know your profile, they want to get to know you too so they can decide if they’re going to purchase your product or service.

Keep your profiles in focus

Everything you do should resonate with the profile you are targeting it to. Always check your content against your profiles. If they were viewing, reading, or listening to your media, would it bring them value? Would it solve their pain? Does it show them how they could reach their goals? If not, don’t be afraid to revisit until it does. You’ll be glad you took the extra time.

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