You know you could find more customers if you could just figure out how to get in front of and network with your ideal target market. You already know how painful it is to network with a group of tire kickers or worse, people who aren’t even aware they need or want your services. So, you wonder where are the best places to find and interact with potential clients on a meaningful level?
I can help you find more of your dream customers, but it requires you to get clear on a list of preliminary questions first. This process is a lot like finding your dream home. Your realtor has access to a massive database of homes for sale on the market, but she will only show you the homes that fit the criteria of what you’re looking for.
That’s the same thing when it comes to marketing your business. Once you get clear on exactly what and who you are looking for, finding hundreds of perfect customers is as easy as a realtor entering in search criteria on her computer and hitting the print button.
Let me share with you six key questions you need to answer that will help you find your ideal target market.
#1. What are twelve things you can describe about your customer avatar?
Let’s say you are a service provider like a business coach, corporate attorney or an outsourced IT firm. It’s not enough to describe your target market as C level executives and VP’s.
That’s like asking your realtor to find you a home at the shore. You may think you’re being specific by narrowing it down to shore side homes. But, you can’t expect a real estate agent to find you the perfect shore home without giving them more details.
Even with this example, not every C level executive and VP is going to be the perfect customer for you. So, drill down on details like:
- What size is their company?
- How many employees does their company have?
- What industry are they in?
What type of company are they? (ie public, private, family run, etc)
Different size companies make buying decisions in different ways. The industries they are in will also tell you a lot of information as to what kind of marketing messages and processes they are exposed to. For example, a 5M company in the security systems business may be used to signing up for online webinars, but a 5M business in the building / contracting industry may be completely unfamiliar with what a webinar is.
- What is their exact job title? VP of what?
- How long have they worked for the company?
- What age bracket are they?
- Are they male or female?
- Are they married, single, divorced?
- Do they have kids? How many? What ages?
- What is their household income?
- What do they do in their free time?
It’s important to know these details about your customer avatar. People with grown kids or no kids are more likely to attend evening networking events; whereas those with young kids will typically choose a morning or afternoon event.
- Where do they live?
- How long is their commute?
- How do they get to work?
- How many hours a week do they work?
#2. What association groups do they belong to?
Keep in mind people belong to different types of association groups. Some are industry related where they can network among their peer group. Others join association groups so they can be visible among their own target market. A third category would be association groups that share common outcome goals like an Association group for CEO’s of family run businesses or for Legal Marketers, etc. When you look at each association group you want to find out if they have an:
- online and/or print newsletter you can advertise in?
- online and/or print publication you can write for?
- application process for guest speaking at their chapter meetings?
#3. Where do they congregate in person?
You want to be able to find a way to meet your target market where they gather in groups. Every association holds in person meetings and some even host conferences. Make a list of when and where these events are held and choose one or two to start attending.
If you want to find out more places where you target market is congregating check out Inside View. What I like about this tool is they index a summary snapshot of companies in their database which often includes their annual sales. That alone will help you filter out what size companies you want to focus on. It also shows you all their social media activity and news alerts on one page. That way, you can skim and find out which events your target person attends.
#4. Where do they congregate online?
Online networking is a very efficient way to start to build relationships with your target market and then shortlist a sub group who you can interact with offline.
Start searching keyword phrases using different combinations of:
- job titles of your target market
- industry groups they represent
- outcome goals they are looking to achieve
If you’re targeting local then add the name of your city and county to your searches. You want to search in LinkedIn groups, Facebook groups, Meetup.com and Google.
#5. What are they reading to stay sharp in their industry?
You can get this information by simply asking the question in a discussion thread once you join targeted LinkedIn groups, Facebook groups, etc. You can also survey or call up your own customers to ask them what they’re reading.
Once you find out the top 5-10 publications your target market reads you can then:
- find out writers guidelines to those magazines/newspapers
- submit relevant article pitches to their columnists.
- find out their advertising rates for display ads and classified ads.
A niche journal will be a lot less expensive to advertise in that something like The Wall Street Journal. Whether you advertise or your business is featured by their columnist or you author an article, being published in their top industry magazines is a great way for your perfect customers to find you.
#6. Find more customers by what are they listening to?
When you find out that your customer avatar has a 30 minute commute to work you can bet they are listening to some type of talk radio or podcast show. Podcast shows have grown rapidly, but there are still some loyal listeners to talk radio shows.
Ask them what they’re listening to in the same discussion thread you ask what they’re reading. Then rinse and repeat what you did for step 5 and do this for step 6.
Many podcast and radio shows interview guest experts for 15 min, 30 min and even 60 minute episodes. This is an easy way for you to get exposure to a large number of targeted listeners where you can showcase your expertise.
This method, by far creates a stronger bond with your listeners than you could possibly achieve in a 30 second commercial. While there are worthwhile benefits to old school networking, hearing you talk for 30 minutes will always make a stronger impression than simply hearing your 30 second elevator pitch.
So, if you really want to find more of your ideal customers take 10 minutes right now to start answering these 6 questions. Remember, just like finding your dream home, you can find your dream customers a whole lot faster and easier when you have a detailed profile of your buyer persona.
QUESTION: What is your biggest challenge when it comes to finding more customers for your business? Share your comments and questions below.