Updated: Jul 8
Typically we think of ideal customers as being something marketing departments, sales teams and business development functions focus on. But, I’m here to say that from my perspective as a communications specialist and a freelance writer knowing how to target my ideal customer, often on behalf of my client, is essential to my success, whether they’re based internally to the business or outside of it.
In this blog post I’m going to share three top tips on how you can identify your ideal customer wherever they are.
I’ve written previously about the differences with internal and change communications and the positive steps in taking tools used in delivering effective change communications and using them in internal communications teams. I also believe that taking tools used by marketing and sales teams to strengthen and develop internal communications delivery is also essential to building a value add and highly effective internal communications team and content that really resonates with the customer: whether the customers are internally based within the business or beyond it.
1. Who is your ideal customer?
First things first, you can’t start getting fancy with data and research until you really articulate who your ideal customer is. Put simply, your ideal customer is the person who has the problem you know how to solve.
But I believe it goes beyond that and we need to go deeper. You need to know your ideal customer inside out. Try answering these questions with your ideal customer in mind, and remember the more specific you can be, the deeper you know them and can therefore target them in the future.
Where do they work? (Go deep if your customers are internal, which team, which business area, which set of desks?)
How old are they? What’s their gender?
What stage of their career are they at?
Where are they based office or home – do they commute far?
What are their fears, motivations, pressure points? (Particularly helpful to know with any kind of change communications or new service.)
Who do they look up to and respect, who do they avoid?
How much do they earn – are they incentivised by money? (making it or saving it?)
Are they educated? (And to what level)
Where will they find your solution? (Online, in store, in the office, on the internal platforms).
What’s their favourite hobbies? (Really think about it, is it football and beer on a Saturday, family time or bikes and dog walks).
This may seem pedantic but the more you can know about who you’re writing for, creating content for and sharing information means you already have a head start on knowing how they will respond to what you’re sharing. It also means you can weave in how you communicate to more personal messages. Building connection is essential; everyone wants to be heard, seen and understood. Imagine just how impactful your communications will be when you know ahead of time just who your ideal customer is and how you can connect with them.
2. Know what problem you’re solving for your ideal customer
Now you know your ideal customer intimately you can marry your understanding of their problems with the solution you’re offering. Regardless of whether it’s a product or a service at it’s most basic form you are solving a problem that your customer hasn’t been able to.
Try this activity:
In simple and clear bullet points list the problem your ideal customer has and how your business / work solves them. In this example I’ll
Ideal customer problem
I need to be able to write notes that I can attach to things and then move them around
Notes which stick to things = post its
Ideal customer problem
Need to tell people about business change programme / new service launch
As a copywriter and communications consultant I can find the words to tell them about the changes coming and why it’s good
In my opinion internal communicators need to know who their ideal customer is just as much as when there’s a focus on marketing teams to look out beyond the company, because without your people you don’t have a business, treating them like customers is so important to ensure they feel valued, heard and engaged.
“Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees they will take care of the clients.” Richard Branson
3. Find where they are: Time to get one with the data
Data is your friend, it just doesn’t always seem like it’s a particularly exciting friend to have around. But, data both quantitative (numbers) and qualitative (anecdotal) are essential tools in your kit to target your ideal customer.
Data tells you the facts and figures of where your ideal customer is, what they’re buying, where they’re buying it, what they’re searching for, who / what they’re most interested in when it comes to the solution you’re offering.
Data comes from many different sources, whether you’re internally or marketing focused.
Here’s some top examples:
Social Media metrics: Facebook, Instagram, Linked In they all have metrics and insights available these are great to see who’s engaging, liking and following you and your business.
Google Analytics: your website data is an amazing tool to utilise to understand who’s visiting your site and what they’re landing on and leaving. You can dig deep into Google Analytics to find out who has bought from you in the past, basic demographic information, finding out content types that your target customer enjoys the most.
Social Listening: It sounds fancy but social listening is really behaving like your own ideal customer yourself. Joining industry groups on social media platforms like Linked In, Yammer and Facebook can be a fantastic way of getting some qualitative data, hearing questions, thoughts and ideas focused entirely on what solution you’re offering and the customers you’re operating in. These groups can be a great forum to hear questions and see who else is answering them! Another great idea to listen socially is to set up alerts via Google, or Mention or AgoraPulse are other helpful ways of finding out what the comments and questions that are being asked by your ideal customers. It’ll also show you where your ideal customers are and what they want to know and when.
Surveys: Pulse Surveys via Microsoft Teams, via social media channels, Yammer, MailChimp are all ways of asking your customers directly their ideas and views. They don’t need to be long winded. In fact short, quick and clear pulse surveys are, I often think, the best way to go to get a sense check of what your customers are thinking and feeling. Know what you want to know and be specific.
Whether you’re an internal communications specialist, a member of a marketing team or a content writer knowing who your ideal customer is becomes essential to creating and developing effective and engaging communications materials to share with them. Use these three top tips to help you identify who you’re targeting and why.
For more blog posts on all things communications and connection focused check out more blogs at www.alceaconsulting.com/blog