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Opinion: 'Are your products and services suitable for everybody? How can you Identify your ideal customer or client?' by Andrews Ayiku

By Andrews Ayiku
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Every business owner should critically consider who their ideal customer is. The ability to identify a customer, sell your product or service to that customer and satisfy the customer so that he/she buys from you again should be the central focus of all your entrepreneurial activity.

My many interactions with entrepreneurs reveal that, failure to know who their ideal customer is often the reason why they are unable to grown their sales and customer base.

My advice often is that, the greater clarity a business owner has about their ideal customer, the more focused and effective their marketing efforts will be planned and implemented. I have also met business owners who have been in operations for years and unable to identify their ideal customer and unable to comprehend why their sales process always remains slow and affecting their revenue models.

Are you into catering services, poultry farming, fish farming, photography and frozen food shop? Have you considered who your ideal customer is?

It has now become normal to hear from entrepreneurs that their products and services are suitable for everybody especially because what they offer is generic and it does not strongly capture the attention of anyone. It is important to consider a niche market is very important. Although the niche strategy approach narrows your market and the number of suitable customers available, it however enables you to appeal to an audience that truly values your offer.

Your ability to identify your ideal customer will make it easier for you to position your business using creativity and innovative strategies that meets the needs and preferences of your customer. Steps to identify your customers and understanding their pain, needs, wants and demands.

Starting with the Smallest Market Segment: Every business owner must develop the process of dividing their current market into smaller and more defined categories that share similar characteristics such as demographics, interests, needs or location.

This will allow you to get to know your customers, identify what is needed in your market segment and determine how can you best meet those needs with your product or service and helps you to design and execute better marketing strategies from top to bottom.

The smaller market segment will help your business to attract and convert quality leads, create stronger marketing messages, Differentiate your brand from your competitors, identity niche market opportunities etc.

Undertake a value hypothesis: The business owner needs to understand how their product and services is valuable to potential customers although these potential customers could be an assumption as well. The value hypothesis contains the exact value your offer to your potential customers and clients as well as solving their problems and desires. It is important to note that, a well-understood and carefully crafted value hypothesis enables a more deeply engaging partnership discussion at every stage of the business process. The more appealing you can make the prospect partnering with you, the more likely you are to get a meeting with a client or customer, to get a deal and get a successful partnership in place that drives mutual value for the long term.

What are the current habits of the prospective customers/clients: There is the need for the business owner to understand what are the interest of the ideal customer/client in terms of information search, social media platforms etc.

There is the need to know who are currently looking for their products, services or content, eavesdropping on social media conversations etc. Google Alerts for instance will give you a good idea of where your target audience hangs out online. I will advise entrepreneurs to join industry groups on social media to observe who is asking.

By knowing where they are and what they are looking for, you are able to reach them with ease.

Identify their goals: It is important to understand what your ideal customer/client aspires to achieve in order to put together a suitable marketing content to suit their needs.

Entrepreneurs will further have to identify the fears of their clients in order to bridge the gap between their pain and the value proposition you offering. Entrepreneurs must understand the purchasing habits of their ideal client so that you can ensure they have the right resources to make a purchase of the company products and services.

Written by Andrews Ayiku, Lecturer, University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) / Business coach