You’ve got a fantastic idea for a new product or service. You are excited and you’re ready to put in the hard yards to make it profitable. But wait, who are you making it for? Do they need or even want it? If yes, how do you reach them?
Know Thy Ideal Customer
I’ve met many disappointed entrepreneurs who poured their hearts and souls into an offering only to see it tank on launch day. Unfortunately, many of these individuals missed the key point in determining whether their offering would be a success or possibly a big flop. They forgot to think about who their ideal customer is and what they want.
Does what you’re offering solve a problem and provide a solution to the challenges your clients or customers are facing? This question is, after all, the basic foundation for starting any business.
Whatever your product or service, it needs to be what your customers most want to buy and what you want to provide. Your offering should also make customers outrageously happy (by helping them get what they need).
Where are Potential Customers Online?
Once you’ve figured out exactly who you’re serving and what their problem is, where do you find them?
People love to share their problems, and with the so-called anonymity of social media, it’s never been easier to ask nearly any question online and get a straight answer.
That’s right, your customers are laying it all out online, spelling out their frustrations, needs and wants. You just have to listen, learn and engage.
How do I Engage Potential Clients?
First step, don’t get overwhelmed. There are hundreds of social media platforms out there. You absolutely do not need to be on every single one, but you do need to be:
– where your customers hang out
– using the platforms you are most comfortable with
– on the sites that make sense to you, your brand and your business
Still not sure where to start? Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, as I’ve outlined below, are three of the most popular platforms and nearly every business can benefit from engagement on these sites. Here are a few quick tips for each:
– Spend about 20 minutes a day reading your Facebook newsfeed and interacting within relevant groups.
– Take note of the questions people are asking. Do you see the same questions being asked again and again? Is someone asking for exactly what you’re specialising in? If yes, then act accordingly. Contact them offering your expertise and advise them on how you can help. Be proactive.
– Create your own insightful quotes that people will want to share.
– Tweet juicy sound bites.
– Keep posts highly relevant to your niche and area of expertise.
– Perform a simple keyword search related to what you do at search.twitter.com. You’ll find people tweeting to the world exactly what it is they want. Engage with them and let them know how you can help. But, don’t do the hard sell right then and there. Simply open up communication and then follow up via Direct Message or email.
– Keep your profile current. Your profile should reflect your brand and clearly market what you do.
– Join LinkedIn groups that are relevant to your industry or niche.
– Spend 30 to 60 minutes a day engaging within groups, answering questions and offering expert advice.
– Focus on helping others by creating and curating content that is useful for your niche.
– Keep your profile current. Your bio, expertise, product or service offerings should all be updated as needed.
– Testimonials! Encourage current clients to leave a testimonial, and offer to do the same for them. Hint: Utilize these great testimonials on other platforms and on your site. They are great trust signals for new visitors to your site or social profiles.
Five Characteristics to Avoid in Customers
While we’re on the subject of finding and engaging with your ideal clients, you most certainly want to ensure you optimise your efforts and spend time only on those who are worth it.
Think about your current customers and ask yourself if they are really who you want to be working with. Or are your current clients stopping you from engaging with your ideal customer?
Avoid customers who:
1. suck your energy
2. bargain with you on prices and/or your time
3. don’t get back to you or communicate with you respectfully and within the agreed timelines
4. expect way too much outside the scope of the project
5. are constantly debating with you
When it is all said and done, your ideal customer is just three simple steps away. First, develop a clear picture of who your ideal customer is and who it isn’t. Once you know who they are, you’ll be able to identify where they hang out. Then, head there yourself to engage and bring them into your business.