How Small Businesses Can Identify Their Customer Base

One of the keys to successfully scaling a business is being able to find and identify a customer base.

Entrepreneurs may already have some insight into who their customer is through their business plan. A traditional business plan will outline its target audience through a market analysis. Using Census data, a small business can learn more about its audience demographics. The business puts together a strategic plan which outlines how it will attract, capture, and retain this audience. This strategy grows a business and its customer base.

Now that your business is successfully scaling, it’s time to revisit your customer base. How can you identify prospective customers and continue finding more customers?

Know Your Product And Offerings

One of the simplest ways to identify a customer base is staring you in the face. It’s your products, services, or offerings. In your business plan, you likely detail its description, concept, and strategy. As a business owner, you know what the product or offering does, how it works, and what makes it unique.

Now, it’s time to shift gears into the customer perspective. Look at your products, services, and offerings from the perspective of a prospective customer. Answer these questions to figure out who makes up your ideal customer base.

  • Can your product and/or offering help solve a customer’s problem?
  • How does your product and/or offering enhance a customer’s life?
  • What the immediate benefits a customer receives from purchasing your product or offering?

Create an Ideal Customer Persona

An ideal customer persona (ICP) is sometimes known as a customer persona. This is a fictitious description of your ideal customer. Because this persona is fictitious, you can create a highly detailed ICP. The more details you include, the better chance your business has in using its products and services to help solve customer problems.

Some of the details which may go into your ideal customer persona may include the following. These details break down by demographics, geographical information, psychographics, and socio-economic classification.

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity
  • Occupation
  • Household income
  • Marital status
  • Parental status
  • Education
  • Location (city, state, and country)
  • Home environment
  • Spending habits
  • Interests
  • Habits
  • Values and/or beliefs
  • Pain points

You do not need just one ideal customer persona. Small businesses may create several personas to identify their ideal customers.

Identify Buyer Personas

The ideal customer persona is sometimes considered to be the same concept as a buyer persona. Is an ICP the same as a buyer persona?

A buyer persona is less fictitious. This persona explores market research and data behind ideal customer spending habits. A buyer persona digs into what the customer buys, how they buy it (shopping online or in store), and why they buy it.

Since it is less fictitious, the best place to start gathering information for a buyer persona is to tap into relevant data surrounding your existing customers. For example, if your customers sign up for your company email list send them a survey. Ask questions about what they like about your products or services and changes they may like to see in the future. These changes can help better accommodate pain points.

Take note of common themes or issues customers bring up. Beyond email surveys, you may conduct polls on social media platforms and hold small focus groups to collect customer feedback.

Use Data to Attract More Ideal Customers

What can you do to keep finding more ideal customers in your customer base?

Creating ideal customer personas and buyer personas allows you to gather relevant data about your ideal customer. You have a good idea of what interests them and where they spend their time.

Use these platforms and mediums to reach them. Create content for social media platforms. This will engage your customer base and allow followers to share this content. Advertise in spaces where you know your customers are, such as playing an ad in a podcast your audience listens to or running commercials during their favorite TV shows. Make sure you are reaching your ideal customer, and prospective customers, through content in the proper format. If you know your audience responds well to short videos or enjoys long-form blog posts, focus on doing more of what works and reaches them.

Keep Up With Trends In Your Customer Base

Finally, remember to keep reviewing data over time and stay up to date with trends.

Are there new social media platforms your audience loves? Your business might decide to create a presence on these sites. Do they respond well to strong copy in email newsletter subject headers — or are more likely to click to open if there’s an emoji? Keep this in mind when drafting future newsletters.

Keep up with your data and emerging trends to keep reaching out to, and retaining, your small business customer base.

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