There’s a temptation as a business to over expand, consider yourself a market leader for one audience sector and then open up a product line or service to target another. Or maybe not even spend long enough defining your audience and just hoping your product fits ‘everyone’. In the late 2000’s Gap the clothing store giant did just this and failed to define their target market thus resulting in 3% fall in US sales. In quarter two of 2011 like-for-like sales were down 19%, attributed to Gap not staying focused on delivering their core products to their ideal customer.
Gap also believed it could follow Apple’s model, in fact I recently wrote an article about how Apple utilised some of Gaps innovative thinking around store design, but what Apple got right that Gap hadn’t; is adapting it for their audience and not expecting one model to work across all industries.
By the time that Gap had discovered and committed to their ideal customer of people between the ages of 25 and 35 it was too late and North American sales struggled to recover. The store had also changed its focus so many times shoppers where now confused and turned off from buying at Gap.
Honestly, almost all businesses make the mistake of thinking they know who their ideal client is without doing both the necessary analysis around the customers they already have and who they want. Or believing that they can work it out along the way. But understanding your ideal client should be one of the cornerstones in your business to help it develop, grow and continue to increase sales. You should know your ideal client so well that you can pick them out in a crowd.
Here’s just a few short tips that might help when considering finding your ideal client.
It sounds simple, just start! But it never is. There’s often a hurdle, a reason or a need for something else to happen before we just start. So instead of waiting, start by writing down your ideal client persona even if you have just one client, or one person interested in your product. Think about them, what’s their persona and who else has the same characteristics. They for now are your ideal client.
Be it; B to C, B to B, a mainstream business or a local niche; go out there and start mapping out that customer persona. I’ve pointed out the need to get started but remember, it will change! Be flexible and continuously look back at the personas you’ve outlined. Make sure they still meet your expanding portfolio of products, and if necessary, adapt. There will be new clients that you haven’t considered, so add them and adapt the description of your ideal client. This way you’ll become much more effective as you start selling to each customer type.
Don’t copy others
Don’t fall into the trap of copying a competitor or influencer. It can be tempting to copy someone it’s already working for in the hope of jumping ahead and finding a ready-made audience. But you are not them and the slightest difference in your brand, product or even your personality can dramatically change who you should be targeting and eventually working with. It’s great to take ideas and inspiration from those who are doing it well, just remember to learn how it’s done and make it relevant to you.