Sally (600 x 549)Sally Shopper is the customer who loves your business. She really likes everything about your business that you like. She is the one who keeps scheduling the oil changes for the entire family at your shop. She comes running every time she hears you have a new jewelry collection. She dines out at your restaurant at least twice a month and always brings a friend to introduce to your great food. But do you really know who she is?

One simple fact of business life is marketing and boy do we know it, especially when it is not working for us.  We really need to discover some things about Sally if we are going to get our marketing right. Businesses need to know who their ideal customer is. I know, you want to tell me that everyone is your ideal customer, right?  Or anyone with more than $20 in their wallet. It’s just not true.

Only people who are looking for what you have and who have the money to buy it are in your market. Even if you are selling specialty gifts, there is a specific kind of person looking for your products. Are your products good gifts for grandmothers, babies, hunters, people who like to fish, gardeners, bikers, moms, dads or teenagers? Would a middle-aged, Gardener Sally or fifteen year-old, Skater Sally both get excited about the items in your shop?

Imagine your favorite customer. You know, the one who buys from you over and over again. Do you know why they like your store or business? Do you know how they found out about you? Do you know why they keep coming back? You should find out, because it is people like them who will grow your business. It is people exactly like them who should be receiving your marketing messages.

Customer Persona

Your customer ‘persona’ is a fictitious character that represents your ideal customer. Sally is the ‘profile’ you target with all your media. You may have more than one customer persona. You may find that there are two main customer personas who consistently spend money in your business.  Maybe one is the twenty-something college student and another is the over-50 entrepreneur. If you are a restaurant, who comes to eat? Is it mostly families, business customers or stay-at-home moms? Is it because the portions are large, the service is fast or the food is consistently good?

These are important things to know because you cannot create an effective marketing strategy without knowing who your audience is. Your website, Facebook posts and advertisements in any form of media all need to be targeted to the right audience. What they like, what words grab their attention, as well as what media they use to search for products are all aspects of your marketing strategy. Even if you are a very small lawn maintenance company just passing out flyers, you won’t be handing them out to people in apartments who have no yard. You will be looking for Career Sally with a big yard. She is a woman who has more money than she has time to do yard work.

Exploring the traits and behaviors of your current shoppers is one way of identifying your ideal customer and creating the right persona to target. To find out about them just start asking questions. Create an online survey at SurveyMonkey.com (there is a free option.) Put the survey link on the home page of your website. Make a Facebook post of the survey link and pin it to the top of your page. Hand out cards at your place of business with the survey link on it. Or send them an email with a link to the survey. You can use your free MailChimp.com account, because I am sure by now you are collecting their email addresses to stay in touch, right? Finding out who Sally is will get you on the road to creating a marketing strategy that reaches more ideal customers and this will build your business. For a free worksheet on how to identify your ideal customer, check out our Resources page.

Please note that we are not biased toward women, but simply chose Sally to represent customers because women now hold 51% of the personal wealth in the US, make 85% of all consumer purchases and actually buy 50% of all products that are marketed to men. In your business you may find that Sally spends as much or more than Sam, so you want to be nice to Sally.

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