Identify Your Ideal Client or customer

This is an interesting concept. When I first heard the question, I laughed. “Someone who will pay me lots of money of course.”

It is much more complicated. Following on last week’s blog (and leading in to next week’s), knowing your ideal customer helps you identify your niche and really target your products, services and marketing plan.

Knowing what product to sell is only half of the equation. Who you sell to, is the other. Back in the beginning I wrote a bit about using personas to help target your marketing. But how do you choose which persona to use?

Let’s look at coffee companies.

Their obvious personas would be adults and older teens who like to drink coffee. Coffee appeals to a large demographic so how do you avoid spreading yourself too thin by trying to appeal to everyone? How do you really target your business toward the people who you want to see come in your door?

Tim Horton’s has targeted the ‘regular’ & ‘family’ coffee crowd. They offer medium prices, food and treats and heavy involvement in charity with their Children’s Camps. Starbucks is going for the higher end of the market by selling expensive and exotic coffees with a push toward organic and free-trade coffees to show their corporate responsibility. They’ve each identified their ‘ideal’ customers and built their marketing around them.

Knowing who your ideal customer can help you better identify the niche you want to fill and specialize, thus edging out the competition who is still trying to be all things to all people.

I had this brought home to me this past weekend at the Surrey International Writers’ Conference. If you write or have ever thought about writing, I can’t recommend this conference nearly enough. It’s fantastic.

I’m owner/partner in PaperBox Books, an e-publishing company. During a session with several publishers and agents I sought the panel’s reaction to our venture.

At first they were skeptical, Selling e-books? Yeah, you and umpteen others. But, as I discussed how our market was not the book buyers but instead first time authors who had excellent books rejected because of market trends. I talked about our strategy to synergize their individual fan bases. The panel’s attention was caught. By the end, they were all nodding their heads and told us we were on to something.

Knowing who your ideal clients is vitally important. Next week, I’ll talk a bit about Unique Selling Propositions and how knowing your products and clients can put you far ahead of the competition.

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