A beginner’s guide to targeting users and developing a customer profile

Find your people

Given the proliferation of users on the internet, it’s easy to see your customer base at a global level. However — while you technically can — trying to market to the entire world is likely to fail spectacularly. So let’s talk about targeting users.

A better approach is to develop a customer profile and use it to narrow the potential field of leads.

Not only will this enable you to target customers with an actual interest in your business, you’ll also save money, time and effort by cutting away “dead wood” segments of the market.

In this post, we’ll look closer at targeting certain user demographics, why it’s important, and how you might already be doing it to some extent. We’ll also discuss how to develop a customer profile, and more importantly, explain how to use it!

An introduction to targeting users and customer profiling

If it’s a new term for you, targeting users essentially means focusing your efforts on those who are a more likely to “get” what you’re selling. For a not-so-serious example, a business specializing in selling rubber balls will probably get more success from targeting users like pet owners and children, rather than octogenarians.

This kind of targeting is usually achieved by developing a customer profile, which is a way of categorizing the “average” customer you want to attract. For example, if you think middle-aged dog owners with disposable income are cash cows, winning their business should be a priority.

There are a lot of benefits to conducting a clear customer profile:

  • You’ll better understand your customer base.
  • You gain focus about who you’re selling to, helping you finesse all aspects of your business to meet your customers’ needs.

Of course, targeting users and profiling them aren’t strictly necessary for word-of-mouth businesses that have little to no competition. However, these techniques are vital for practically all other businesses.

How to develop an average customer profile

Targeting Users Customers
Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Now that we’ve covered the basics, it’s time for the real work — actually creating your customer profile. In fact, you might already be doing this to some extent, without realizing it. For example, you might broadly be thinking about those who won’t want your products and excluding them from your efforts, or tailoring your campaigns based on empirical data.

However, you’ll want to sharpen your focus and fully understand who your average customer is. We’ve written about how to do this before, but in a nutshell you’ll want to:

  • Look at demographics such as age range, gender, ethnicity, financial situation, occupation, and other metrics.
  • Create a psychographic profile, outlining your ideal customer’s mindset, wants, needs, and overall personality.
  • Understand why your current customers buy from you, especially those who keep coming back.

There are many more considerations you can make when you’re targeting users, but this is an excellent first step. To actually get this information, you can start with simple outreach methods, such as conducting customer interviews. You can then go on to create targeted user surveys, if you want to get some quantitative results.

Finally, you can take your data and use it to build a dossier of your ideal average customer. Feel free to extrapolate on what we’ve outlined to produce multiple profiles if you want.

How to use your customer profile to win new business

Targeting Users Winner

Once you have created one or more customer profiles, you’ll want to put them into practice by targeting users. Think of them as reference material that should guide you throughout every step when developing your marketing and sales funnel.

For example, you can create a tailored message that resonates at a base level with the target customer, to get them on the hook.

 

From there, your goal will be to refine the message, using your customer profile to target an ever-narrowing section of your potential leads.

In other words, we’re talking about segmentation. This is a modern method of converting customers that is a stark contrast to older approaches. It leans heavily on the concept of quality over quantity, by splitting your customer base in order to target them more efficiently.

By segmenting your market, you are likely to see greater returns for much less effort, time and cost.

We’ve talked previously about email segmentation specifically, and this is a similar principle. By splitting your customers into defined areas, you can tailor your marketing to their particular needs and pain points. When you’re targeting users, personalized marketing often increases the rate of conversion — the gains you’ll make in the long run are well worth the effort now.

Conclusion

With potentially the whole world at your disposal, there’s a definite temptation to market to everyone. This is not a sound strategy for most businesses, however. A better approach is to narrow your customer base, and promote to your ideal audience specifically.

In this post, we looked at targeting users and how it relates to customer profiling. Essentially, you’ll first develop a clear picture of your ideal customer, then segment your current market to focus on them. With a solid plan in place, you’ll be well on course to upping your conversion rates.


Also published on Medium.