Here’s a simple but important tip for getting more for your marketing money: profile your best customers.
The term “profiling” has negative connotations from a social perspective but for your business, it’s one of the most effective tools for determining where and how to conduct your business. If you have a grasp on what type of people are most likely to purchase your products or services, you can seek out the location and the marketing plans that give you the best opportunity to reach those people.
The number of ways to sort your customers is endless and really depends on the needs of your business. Here are just a few of the ways you can segment your most profitable customers:
1) What do your best customers have in common?
  • Are they in a common industry?
  • Do they seem to have the same role at their company?
  • Do they face a similar problems or challenges?
  • Similar buying patterns?
  • How do they use your product?
  • Do they belong to similar clubs or charities?
  • Do they have the same interests, attitudes and habits?
2) How did you attract your top customers?
  • Website?
  • Advertising?
  • Conference?
  • Networking?
  • Cold calls?
You may be surprised at the results! Once you’ve divided customers into sub-segments, consider the implications for your marketing strategy:
  • Are your initiatives aligned with the profile of your best customers?
  • If your customers strongly share certain characterstics, how can you adjust your message and channel to better appeal to these folks?
  • If one marketing channel seems to be working better than others, do more of it and cut the rest.
If your business is down due to the recession, this might be the perfect time to step back and do some introspection on your sales and marketing strategy. While there are many sophisticated techniques, databases and CRM software applications aimed at helping you organize this information, even a small business on a budget can do effective customer profiling with little expense.
Here’s one simple analytical method available to almost everyone. Most small businesses use Microsoft Outlook to organize emails, contacts and calendars. In the “business” edition, it’s possible to set up searchable, custom fields to collect detailed information. If your profiling needs are simple, you can even search words you’ve added to the “notes” section of the basic Outlook edition. Start logging the source of new customers in their profile (like “cold call” or “website”). You can then enter these terms in the search function and, with the push of a button, generate a list of customers who share these characteristics.
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