As a tech startup founder with an idea that you hope will change your industry and help the lives of your customers, you know that it is important to understand exactly who your customer is and how they feel about the problems they face.
This exercise is often referred to as understanding your ideal client.
Knowing your ideal client, or your best potential customer, may lead to acquiring better qualified customers who are ready to buy your product.
And, pre-qualifying customers to determine their willingness and readiness to buy increases the opportunity for profit.
What can be done proactively to know your customers, your prospects, and your target market better? Before they are customers, they are prospects. And both have always been part of your target market.
How do you get to know your customers?
Your prospects are not as easy to know because it may feel like you’re guessing to determine who they are. Remember, what you have to offer is a great fit for SOME but not for ALL. And, that is ok.
Knowing your prospects better will help you to not waste time and money chasing uninterested parties.
So where do you begin?
Define an empathic strategy to gain an understanding of the needs of your current customers and prospects.
There are interactive ways to weed out those who are not prospects or drill down to likely buyers. Some of these tactics include:
- Focus groups
- Capitalizing on the power of buying groups
- Participation in industry associations
- Customer referrals
- Partner referrals
- Competitive analysis
- And, good old-fashioned networking!
Know your target market
There is a difference between a single customer, a single prospect, and a broader target market. Do you know your market? On a broader scale, let’s talk about things you can do to know this group better.
1. Use what you already know
By evaluating the demographics (i.e., location, age of organizational leaders, etc.) and psychographics (i.e., attitudes, values, behaviors of decision-makers) of your current customers and prospects, you will gain insight into those who fit in your target market(s). Tighten up or loosen ranges on each of these criteria in order to have a group size that is worth targeting. And most importantly, repeat the evaluation for each niche market you pursue.
2. Create specific personas
Building the foundation for your market approach and sales strategy starts with identifying personas for user types likely to purchase what you’re offering. A persona is a fictitious character who represents a real person you believe will buy your offering. Personas have a name, generally have an image, and have specific demographic and psychographic traits outlined. Personas dive into the emotional triggers and hot buttons of their characters. You should have a persona for each targeted niche market.
3. Message to aid self-identification
While using what you already know to narrow your markets in niche targets you can create buyer personas for each niche market. Next, you’ll create messaging for your niche markets that help people self-identify whether or not they are part of your targeted audience. Speak to the problems you can help to solve for your target. Borrow from the empathetic approach you’ve established to knowing your customer and infuse this into your market messaging. Let the folks who fit in your personas know that your offering will help them overcome business challenges. The key to this messaging is what we call the WIFM? (pronounced: whiff-em)…“What’s in it for me?”. Your target readers will ask themselves this question so your messaging should answer the question before they have to ask.
Most people will identify themselves better as needing or wanting what you have to offer if they can hear or see themselves in how you talk about it. While it may sound like we are removing a huge chunk of a potential available market by tailoring our messages for specific user personas, the opposite is true. Self-identification makes your job of acquiring business easier and faster.
Part of knowing your target market is knowing those who are not a fit for you to target.
Don’t waste time and money chasing prospects who are not interested. Inc. published a guide to define your target market in which they clearly pointed out that “no one can afford to target everyone.” This is sage advice.
To learn more about how a tailored approach to your defining your target market can help to accelerate your start-up, contact the experts at Precursa today.