10 Ways to Easily and Correctly Identify Your Target Customer

What process do you use to identify who your target customer is, in order to craft more effective marketing messages?

target customer
(Image: iStock.com/Jirsak)

The following answers are provided by members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

Below are tips to help businesses best identify and reach their target audiences.

1. Walk Through Their Average Day

“Instead of focusing on their favorite color or ‘biggest pain point,’ I try to sit down with a potential client and walk through their ideal day, to understand their real life struggles and triggers. At what point do they turn to Google for help? Who do they complain to about their problems? What keeps them up at night? It allows me to be more effective in writing directly to their needs.”

Kelly Azevedo, She’s Got Systems

2. Create a Customer Empathy Map

“The key to accurately identifying your target customer is to create customer empathy maps. Empathy maps are a gathering of information that depicts your ideal customer. It goes beyond just creating a customer avatar and identifies how the customer thinks and feels, what they hear and see when they are in the process of purchasing from you, and what actions they take on a regular basis.”

Kristopher Jones, LSEO.com

3. Connect Commonalities Among Our Existing Best Clients

“We identify who we enjoy working with the most, and from whom we can generate the best results. We interview ideal clients to fully understand the buyer’s frustrations and desires, then cross-reference the information from the interviews with those we are having the most success with, to identify common threads to pull on. Then we tailor our marketing and messaging accordingly.”

Derek Weber, goBRANDgo!

4. Conduct Audience Research

“We start by looking at demographic and psychographic details, such as age, location, interests, behaviors, ethnic background, and worldview. We then brainstorm our core products and services to match these with the demographic and psychographic groups. Next, we send out surveys and audit our analytics data. Finally, we create a persona chart and match to the buying funnels.”

Marcela De Vivo, Brilliance

5. Research Your Competition

“The competition often has some sense of target customers already, so it helps to check out who they are speaking to, the type of messages they are sharing, and the results of those messages. This type of benchmarking helps to accelerate results. While you don’t have to copy the competition, you can use it as a starting point.”

Peter Daisyme, Due

6. Segment Your Customers

“We segment our customers by size, but also by type of account. Different types of customers want to be sold in different ways, and we recognize that. At EVENTup, event venues are the customers. The needs of a large hotel chain are much different than those of a small loft owner, so our salespeople must be able to sell the unique value of our service to all different customer types.”

Jayna Cooke, EVENTup

7. Look Through Sales History in Your CRM

“Not that it’s sexy, but look at your sales history and data you have in the CRM. This will tell you who your customers are. If you do not have that data, then you need to implement a system. If you do have that data, look at the demographics. Of course, your customers who purchase your services may not be your target. If so, then it’s time to update your sales and marketing.”

Peter Boyd, PaperStreet Web Design

8. Browse Industry-Specific Forums and Websites

“Where do your target customers discuss their problems with their peers? There are Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups, niche forums, comment sections of articles, and subreddits. Read (or even participate!), and you’ll get a sense of their decision making process as well as the lingo they use. This way, your copy, CTAs, and value propositions will speak to them authentically and directly.”

Roger Lee, Captain401

9. Send Out a Short Survey

“We are not keen on sending our customers more communications than necessary, but we recently embarked on a well-scripted, short, customer survey. We asked our clients a key question: ‘Why do you choose to do business with us?’ That gave us a lot of insight. Believe it or not, just asking nicely can get you far.”

– Diego Orjuela, Cables & Sensors, LLC

10. Use Split Testing

“Creating multiple, low-budget ad campaigns that are targeted towards specific niches and demographics is a very effective way to find your target customer. The more specific and detailed you can get with your audiences, the better chance you have of finding your target. After analyzing the performance of each ad, you’ll know where, who, and how to attack, with your marketing messages.”

Chad Keller, WUDN

BusinessCollective, launched in partnership with Citi, is a virtual mentorship program powered by North America’s most ambitious young thought leaders, entrepreneurs, executives and small business owners.

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