One of the key ingredients to any successful business is identifying the right customer for your product or service and understanding them.  This way, you can deliver a great product or service that suits their needs.  This allows you to charge a higher price and also select the best form of marketing and advertising as you are aiming at only a specific segment of the market.

If you choose the wrong type of customer for your business you will struggle to sell your product or service to them and your business will suffer as a result.  So, in this case, the customer is not always right.  Don’t just sell to anyone; not all customers will be right for your product or service, so identify the right customer for you and your business profits will soar.

How do you start to identify who your customers are?

One of the most practical ways of defining your customers is by building profiles that represent the typical types of customers that you are aiming for.  As a result, you’ll be able to home in on a more specific target audience, communicate with them in a more relevant and personalised manner and, ultimately, generate more revenue.

Every business caters to a specific demographic and while some audiences might be extremely broad, it is still essential from a marketing perspective that you know your customers and how to reach out to them.  You’ll need to understand your own product or service, seek feedback, learn about your customers’ habits and interests and maintain a consistent and targeted marketing campaign.

Know your brand

There’s no shortage of novice Internet entrepreneurs out there who are attracted by empty promises of making a quick profit by selling a product or service that is in high demand, even if they aren’t at all familiar with what they’re selling.  The reality of a successful online business venture is quite a different thing.  You need to be completely familiar with what you are trying to sell and you need to believe in it.

Whether you’re a lone entrepreneur or you’re planning to start a small business with multiple employees or partners, you’ll need to define your mission and fully understand your products and services.  You simply cannot hope to accurately profile your customers if you do not have the utmost familiarity with what you are trying to sell to them.  You’ll need to pay attention to every detail before putting yourself in the shoes of your customers.  When you know your brand and have a clearly defined mission, you’ll be ready to start profiling your customers and tweaking your approach to marketing as necessary.

Seek feedback

This is a critical ongoing process, but you should start by doing plenty of research before you can even hope to get your marketing strategy off the ground.  Your business will inevitably need to adapt over time to the needs and desires of your customers, because these days they have far more control than ever before through things like social media and online reviews.

Seek feedback from your customers at every opportunity, but don’t become intrusive; don’t bombard them with too much information or too many questions.  Many simply won’t have the time or the patience to provide feedback, so you’ll have to accept that.  Fortunately, there are some effective ways of encouraging your customers to provide feedback such as by offering incentives like promotional codes and other discounts for completing a short survey or answering a few questions about their own preferences and habits.

Feedback doesn’t always need to come from the customers themselves.  You can gain invaluable insights, albeit not quite as accurate, by reviewing reports on your industry.  There are many companies, such as eMarketer and Forrester, which provide insights into specific markets by analysing trends in online behaviour which will help your business better define its target audience.

Create your customer personas

Create an imaginary profile of your perfect customer.  If your business has a particularly broad reach, then you’ll want to segment your target audience and create personas for each customer category.  Map out the behaviours and interests of your customers based on important factors such as demographics, buying habits, geographical locations and more.  You can even name these customers, as it may help you to imagine them in a more practical light.

When defining your customer profiles, be sure to seek answers to the following questions:

  • What other related businesses would they choose to work with?
  • What sort of subject matter is most likely to interest them?
  • What are their demographical attributes?
  • Where are they located?
  • What do they need or want?
  • What do they do to entertain themselves?
  • What is their income level?
  • How much would they be willing to spend?
  • What are their priorities and goals in life?
  • How do they approach change?
  • What are their past purchases?
  • How often have they purchased from you?

Every day, millions of people use Google to find answers to their questions, solutions to their problems or to simply find something to entertain them.  What types of queries can your business offer solutions for?  By knowing your customers’ problems, curiosities and interests, you’ll be able to tailor your content, your marketing strategy and your product to better suit the criteria.

Avoid basing your customer personas on a real customer, since no single individual can completely represent your target audience.  Instead, a customer persona should be reasonably broad and it should characterise your perfect customer.


With your customer profiles in place, you’ll be able to match each area of your marketing strategy to the individual characteristics of your customers.  By targeting smaller and more specific audiences, you should be able to increase the percentage of paying customers and valuable leads instead of wasting time and money on targeting the wrong people.  Ultimately, don’t forget that it’s not about getting more visitors to your website; it’s about getting more visitors who become paying customers.