If you focus on your ideal customer rather than trying to be all things to all people, you’ll build a better brand, create customer loyalty and increase your chances for success.
I have found that when women are trying to grow a business, it’s tempting to cast a broad net, reaching out to all potential customers. As understandable as that impulse is, it’s a mistake according to branding and marketing guru Maria Ross.
Ross outlines a more effective strategy in an American Express OPEN Forum article, providing tips that will be helpful to women business owners achieve marketing success:
Figure out who you are: As a women business owner you have the opportunity to hone your brand.
Ross identifies a brand as “the core and essence of who you are, what value you provide and to whom you provide it.” A brand has three dimensions:
- Visual – What does your company look like?
- Verbal – What do you sound like?
- Experiential – What’s it like to do business with your company?
Once you define your brand identity, consistently communicate it in every interaction. But that’s only part of the equation. Next, you’ll need to know who your customers are.
- Figure out who they are: Ross advises clients to create a detailed identity for their ideal customer. If you target several different sectors, create two or three personas, but it’s important to limit the number to efficiently focus your messaging. Ask these kinds of questions to identify your ideal customer’s attributes:
- What are your customer’s demographics? Define an age, occupation, income, location and lifestyle.
- What does your customer do for fun? Define hobbies, entertainment and sources of information.
- Does your customer belong to any groups or associations? This is a key factor because it can provide a lead on how to connect with your prospect.
Ross recommends creating a brief profile of your ideal customer – a one- or two-page summary to help you understand your target’s life, values and associations.
Once you’re clear on who your company is and who your target customer is, you can focus your marketing investments more efficiently and effectively – speaking directly to your prospects in their own language and in venues where you’re more likely to encounter an ideal customer.
Ross notes that this strategy doesn’t mean you have to exclude customers who don’t fall into your ideal demographic – if you attract and sell to someone who isn’t in your pre-defined “sweet spot,” that’s great. But a targeted strategy helps you focus on prospects with whom you’re more likely to succeed.
The first step is to define who you are, then identify your customers and target your communications accordingly; this allows you to build a brand, create a following and achieve success.