Opening a business – an online store, beauty salon, real estate agency or any other type of business (including B2B segment) – is not the most difficult. The main activities – customer attraction and retention, description of the target audience (TA), development of marketing strategy, introduction of advertising channels for business promotion, analysis of competitors – require a lot of time and are often conducted by professional marketing and promotion specialists. Start developing a marketing plan by creating a portrait of the target audience. How to do it properly?
What is a customer portrait? Target audience types
Portrait of the client is a set of factors that allows you to learn about him some information, which can then be used to create effective advertising campaigns. Several types of TA are distinguished:
1. Main and indirect
The main audience is the one who makes the decision to buy, makes a choice. The indirect one is the one who pays. A vivid example is children (main TA) and parents (indirect TA).
2. Wide and narrow TA.
Coffee lovers are a wide audience, and those who prefer only certain varieties are narrow TA.
3. Separation by segments.
There are 2 main audience segments: individual consumption (B2C – goods are bought by a specific person) and business (B2B – goods are bought/rented by other companies).
Site visitors can also be divided into 2 groups: those who come for information (read articles, news feed on the site) and those who came to make an order.
The main characteristics of the target customer are:
- Sex, age (from…to).
- Social status (married/married, with/without children, their number).
- Monthly income (from…).
- Year of activity (work or study).
- Location of residence (not always important, but it is important, for example, when doing business offline).
- Problem (what task a person solves when purchasing this product or ordering certain services).
- Interests, hobbies, passions.
Factors were dealt with, but how to make a portrait of the consumer? There are 2 ways to go:
1. From the goods
We look at our product (clothes, shoes, services) and think about who could use and need it. Based on the properties of the product, we describe TA. For example, we sell children’s outerwear, so our audience – mainly married women, from 25 to 40 years, with 1 or more children, both working and on maternity leave, with a middle income (although it depends on the cost of goods), interested in additional children’s food, visiting sites on children’s health, subscribed to “mom” blogs, forums, etc.
2. From the client
If we sell not quite typical goods (for example, services, or make original wooden statuettes, knitting, sewing toys), you can try to find potential customers based on the analysis of the portrait of the real buyer. That is, several people have already used your services or purchased goods from you, so we can specify their characteristics in a separate table, find common features, and thus make a portrait of the consumer.
Why do I need to know my client “in person”?
The analysis of the target audience allows not only to understand who is the main consumer of the product, but also to make an optimal marketing strategy. Knowing your customers, you can change the parameters of the product (color, packaging, taste, smell, manufacturing materials), making the product as useful and suitable for them as possible. Information about the TA of a certain category of goods allows the company to expand and create a product for those who are not among the potential customers.
How to make a customer avatar? The cheapest and most effective way to do this is to organize surveys in social networks. Such interviews should not take much time, so users are happy to answer questions. In addition, you can study blogs and forums dedicated to both your product and related products. Moreover, polls in such topics as men’s and children’s clothing, furniture, toys should be conducted for women too, because often it is they who make the decision to buy.
Portrait of a potential buyer allows you to make the main thing – the correct spending of money on advertising the product. A simple example: you sell products for animals (feed, fillers, accessories, etc.). You can, of course, pay a lot of money and hang your advertising banner in the city center on the busiest street. A lot of people will see it, but are they all owners of pets who may be interested in the product you offer? Not at all. It will be much more reasonable and budget to hang an advertising banner in veterinary clinics, pet lovers clubs, etc. These are the places where your target audience comes to, which means that advertising will bring great returns.
We have answered the question of how to make a portrait of a client, and now it is worth making a logical conclusion – why do you need to know your TA:
- To save money allocated for advertising.
- To reduce the time required for business development (you can create content and make offers that are as interesting to your TA as possible).
- To increase the loyalty of its clients and improve business reputation.
- To create individual offers, segmentation of the audience, more flexible and fine advertising settings, personal ad texts, etc.
Customer problem as a fundamental factor for successful sale
Above we talked about how to make a portrait of the buyer, and indicated the factors by which you can learn your CA. One of the important criteria is the client’s motivation – what is it that pushes him to buy? What kind of problem does he have? What problem does he have to solve? Knowing the customer’s problem, you can enter the trust by offering him a product that will solve the problem to the maximum. After the potential customer is convinced that your product is the ideal solution to his problem, he will be interested in the product, will start to trust the characteristics, and then will be highly likely to convert (buy).
In this regard, many marketers recommend to start the text of the advertising treatment with the client’s problem. For example, if you sell rubber footwear, you can write: “Will your feet get wet? Buy rubber boots!…”. Or for an online store of construction goods: “Are you making repairs? Come to us! Building materials, tools, fittings at competitive prices …”.
Segmentation of Central Asia by 5W technology
How to make sure that all potential clients are selected for segmentation of the target audience? For this purpose, a 5W strategy was developed and successfully applied by marketers. It answers 5 main questions:
- What? What kind of goods or services do we offer? What are their features, characteristics, advantages?
- Who? Who will buy such a product/service? What kind of people are they? Description of potential customers.
- Why? Why? Why does the buyer choose this product?
- When? When, what time was the purchase made?
- Where? Where was the purchase made?
An example of a target audience gathered using 5W technology:
1. What? Sale of goods for animals: feed, fillers, veterinary medicines, accessories (beds, trays, collars and leashes, toys, clothes), etc. For cats, dogs, rodents, fish and birds.
2. Who? Pet owners buy. Both young men and women from 18 to 40 years old, and pensioners. The level of income is average. The main condition – the presence of a pet in the house.
3. Why? Free shipping, pick up and drop off from various locations around the city. Low prices, wide assortment. Well structured informative website. Ability to make a quick order (in 1 click). Payment in cash and cashless. Excellent service.
4. When? During new promotions and discount offers. After receiving friends’ recommendations.
5. Where? Through the store’s website, a group in the social network.
The Avatar of the ideal client. Examples
To form a final understanding, let’s look at some examples of client avatars:
1. Avatar of a microfinance organization.
This is a student Maxim, 21, 180 cm tall. Lives on a scholarship, earns a part-time job, but often there is not enough money. There is a girl. Maxim plays basketball, likes to listen to rock music, studies at a technical university. Maxim occasionally need a small amount of money to update the closet, buy a gift for the girl on holiday, go on a tour with friends for a week. In this respect, he, as a student, is well served by microfinance organizations, where he takes small amounts of money on credit quickly and without guarantors.
2. Avatar blog of a famous psychologist (product – personal growth courses).
This is a woman, Catherine, 32, height 167 cm. She is married and has a son for 2 years. She is on child care leave. There is free time (mainly during the day and night sleep of the child). Catherine’s husband complains that after she went on maternity leave she stopped being interested in something new, developing, and their conversations came down to discussing childhood problems. She wants to take personal growth courses in order to become more confident and successful and to keep her husband a pleasant and smart company for communication. Before the decree, Ekaterina worked at a bank, did fitness, and has pages on all social networks.
3. Avatar of the online store selling household appliances.
This is a man Dmitry, 38 years old, married, has two children (a boy and a girl, 8 and 3 years old). Dmitry bought a new apartment and is engaged in its improvement, renewing household appliances. He has been working in a management position for over 5 years. Income is above average. The decision to buy is made together with his wife (sometimes she chooses a model, and Dmitry only pays). Drives a Skoda Oktavia. In his spare time meets with friends in a bar. Goes on vacation abroad.
Attract the target audience
The portrait of an ideal client is made. What’s next? We need to expand the list of clients. There are many effective channels for this purpose, such as:
- E-mail marketing.
- Search engine optimization (site promotion in search engines).
- Advertising and promotion in social networks.
- Contextual advertising, media-contextual banners.
- Conducting seminars, webinars, conferences.
For each business area you need to choose the most appropriate promotion channel. That is why you should start to develop your business by making an avatar of the client. Not every product will “fit” into the framework of targeted advertising in social networks. Thus, the B2B segment is definitely not suitable for this purpose (it would be unwise to advertise in social networks companies selling loaders and warehouse equipment or selling their goods in bulk – for this purpose it is better to choose contextual advertising in Yandex and Google). But clothes, cosmetics and other goods for personal needs can be perfectly sold on Facebook, Instagram and Vkontakte.
Separating segments of users’ avatars, you can create a unique trade offer for each group, separate advertising, banner and even a landing page on the site. This is quite painstaking work, but it will bring a higher percentage of converted visitors.
Do not forget to use numerous paid and free web analytics tools. No matter how well and accurately you make a portrait of the target audience, no matter what segments you divide them into, you should always check the correctness of the selected advertising channel and the effectiveness of the offer. TA analysis combined with an analytics of user behavior on a website allows you to find weaknesses in promotion and correct them.