Reset. Restart – The Perfect Customer

By workshop leader and programme mentor Lucy Paine.

Reset. Restart is a new programme of free business support.

Delivery is by Brighton Chamber and always possible in partnership with the Business & IP Centre Brighton & Hove.

Session Three: The Perfect Customer

Build it and they will come? Define an ideal persona and build for that individual? You have your value proposition but you need sales – is there an easy path?

42% of businesses fail due to market need (thanks to Courier magazine for that scary stat) – so that suggests the build it and they will come model has a strong likelihood of failure!

In our third workshop we’re picking out the Customer Segments block of the Business Model Canvas – which asks you to define who you are creating value for and who are our most important customers, clients or users?

A key place to start with this seemingly daunting task is to acknowledge that you are probably not the first person in this market, and there are probably more than one audience segments within this space.

A reoccurring theme across all our session is do your research – tap into the BIPC databases and discover how many other companies are in your market, then delve into their websites, social media, connections, customers. Include companies that your ideal customer could see as competitors even if you don’t consider them to be – your value proposition will stand you apart but they are still important to monitor.

Within your market choose your segment – are you reaching the masses, very niche, have multiple segments within the audience potential or will you be selling through channels? You might want to say yes to all of the above but don’t commit yourself to a workload you can’t sustain – through your research, and knowledge of your market, pick a segment to start you off.

That might be accidental – your first few paying customers are always a great segment to start off with, or you can go and build one for yourself, as one of our attendees did when he approached his first few clients to become his early adopters.

Within this segment define a persona, or a few, what is your ideal customer demographic – is it a foodie who’ll pay a little more for locally sourced ingredients, or a restaurant struggling to deliver a professional online experience? How old is the foodie, how large is the restaurant?

What factors do you need to consider for it all to come together into the profile of an ideal customer? And what problem does your solution solve for them? How do you make them feel?

Next, where are these potential customers? Are they young guns on TikTok or a more mature audience on Facebook? How can you meet them? Through networking events or professional networking connections? Do they respond to email marketing or prefer a friend referral?

You don’t need to guess any of this information, there are wonderful, free, guides to social media available. Doing this research not only ensures you are talking to the right people on the right platforms, it also saves you a lot of time doing the opposite!

The best thing about personas and using social media to test them is the low cost and ease of testing your theory – you can create multiple social media strategies and try ideas, images, tag lines, tones and calls to action. A Facebook post has a life of around 5 hours, a tweet 18 minutes – so if your post falls flat you’ve lost nothing, maybe learned something.

But be patient, schedule trials to last for a few weeks – as with any new marketing engagement you have to run it long enough to allow you make an informed decision. And you are still using the value proposition you created in session one, so you’re not trying to create a whole set of brands here, just test the voice and platform.

If you already have customers learn from them, engage with them, empower them to become your ambassadors – do more than just get a quote, build a case study, tag them on posts and a happy customer will be proud to share their love of working with you.

In your experimentation across social media it is important to remain authentic, don’t be too hasty in outsourcing your voice – even if you hate social media – right now the founder is the right person to be on social as you will be the one having first person discussions with customers and potential customers.

You’ll learn a lot about your audience, market and competitors on social media – and it only takes a little time each day to engage well, with an hour a week for scheduling.

And be curious – every interaction on social media and your website pulls in data, make sure you have analytics on your website, track and review the audience data as your social media channels grow – you might have a customer profile you didn’t expect!

This links well into another relevant Business Model Canvas block for this topic – Customer Relationships – now we’ve got an idea of who we want as customers, and who we have/ are engaging across our channels, what type of relationship does each of those personas want to have with us and our brand?

You might have more than one value proposition relating to a set of personas who in turn expect a very different engagement – do they buy more than once, see you as a partner or a resource, have you as a partner or a route to another service?

This might all feel like a lot of work, and maybe a distraction from just selling – but every task we have just defined builds a foundation for growth.

Use your living Business Model Canvas to guide and challenge your activities – it will work with you through your growth learning process and will continue to be essential as you scale.

Know your market, define your value proposition in that market, build your tribe, own your space – and keep learning, allow your value proposition, and perfect customer profiles to evolve.

If you missed this session not to worry – scroll down for further opportunity to book for another session. Read the other three blogs in the series by clicking the links below.

Read the first blog – Pitching it Right

Read the second blog – Price with Confidence

Read the fourth blog – Tools for the Job