What should entrepreneurs know about potential customers?

Everything! Their troubles, their dreams, their favourite foods. The more you can find out about them, the better you can serve them. It is a way to finding your niche – that unique place in your targeted customers’ hearts, and, let’s be honest about it, wallets. Find out all, or at least as much as you can.

Searching high and low

If you have the budget, hire a marketing agency to conduct research and give you an insight into market and customer trends. But there are things you can analyse and look at before cooperating with a research agency. Indeed, there are a few things I would recommend you keep an eye on from the very beginning of your enterprise. There are some things about a target audience even a start-up should know.

In one of my recent articles, I talk about time, team and money. Neglect them at your peril. However, when managed well, they can propel a business to greatness. Money, precisely cash flow, is the one that can cause dramatic problems for a company and its owners. When it comes to what should entrepreneurs know about potential customers, I am going to start with money as well. By which I mean their lifetime value.

Start with what you know: your existing customer base

If you already have sales, turn to your existing customers. They have bought from you, so I am assuming they have has a positive customer experience, which makes them more willing to share information, should you need to approach them directly. Analyse the contact points, your spend and the outcome of your promotional actions during those transactions. Was that a good investment?

Then look a little wider: did those transactions begin a relationship with a client? How much is that worth to your business? This indicates how much you are willing to spend on your next campaign and what it takes to turn a group of potential customers into loyal ones.

How much are you willing to spend?

Looking beyond individual transactions encourages a broader perspective – unless a single deal is all you aim for. If not, consider the whole cycle. This indicates appropriate price points for your services and how much you can invest in client acquisition.

Whether you’re working with a digital marketing agency, conquering social media yourself or choosing to embark on a different type of promotion, how much you can spend to get a lead and then a client is a rudimentary benchmark. You can get closer to it by assessing the customer lifetime value.

ROI or the point of no return

Otherwise, how can you check that you are getting any return on your investment? It also shines a light on the whole of the customer experience you are offering, highlighting the most loyal customers. And they should become your target audience.

Then you can really laser focus your marketing, increasing your visibility in places and moments your audience hangs out and is prepared to look for your product or service.

Don’t waste your money on those who can’t be bothered with your offer. Use your time to offer better customer service to those that appreciate it and are letting you know with their wallets. Test and measure your spend so that you are ready to make an informed decision should a trend change.

Rely on numbers: stats over emotions

We are living at a time when, promotion – seemingly – has never been easier. With new social channels, updated algorithms, a plethora of to do it yourself options, we are spoilt for choice. Our heads are being turned at every corner with a new colourful fix that promises to work for our industry with a minimum effort on our part.

The temptation to jump at the latest is ubiquitous. By all means, be aware of the new trends and tools. Many of them are useful and can reinforce your strategy – as long as you remember to check them against that strategy. Always remember your potential customers: are they using that channel? Is this where they spend their time? If not, however attractive it may sound, it will not do you good.

The way of knowing for sure is trying and testing. You need to look at the numbers without emotion. ‘Everybody doing it’ is not a good enough reason to spend more money if you do not get the expected return. Respect your own needs and requirements and avoid marketing fads.

If you know why you can offer an answer

Getting to know your potential customers is an essential building block of a successful business. Without understanding their buying habits, where they buy, why and how, you have little chance to meet their expectations and make them ambassadors of your brand. If you are in the pre-sales stage, investigate your network.

Google your competitors to see what your prospects think of them. Create a profile of an ideal one and challenge your assumptions as you generate sales of your own. Whether you’re a small business or a seasoned entrepreneur, always verify your data to offer a better service and grow your business in a more focused, purposeful way.