I was talking with a friend of a friend who is opening up a restaurant in the Broad Ripple area of Indianapolis. After some light chat about what the restaurant looks like and what is on the menu, as frequently happens the conversation came around to marketing. I made the mistake of asking about his website. At which point he said that he was not concerned about that. He has a local business and gets his business from “the foot traffic in the neighborhood.” I cringed.
A bigger mistake
I compounded my website question with a bigger faux pas “…and who is your ideal customer?” When he said everyone because he “does not want to exclude anyone”
I about died.
Needless to say I really don’t give his restaurant much chance of survival. Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon thing to hear. Business owners, especially start-ups, tend to be hungry and don’t want to turn anyone away. After all, everyone has bills to pay and paying customers make that so much easier.
Determining your ideal customer
Why do we need to know who our ideal customer or client is?
Can’t we just sell to everybody?
It’s simple really. Think of a game of darts. The board is hanging on the wall and has rings on it, each progressively smaller until that little circle in the center. That’s right – the bulls-eye. We all know that the closer to the bulls-eye we get, the more on target we are, the more points we get. It’s the same with our marketing efforts. Some people are much better clients and customers than others.
Going back to the restaurateur who wants to serve everyone. Does that mean the people who cannot afford to pay for the food or the people who live in Brooklyn, New York? How about the folks in Seattle or even the nice people in Lafayette.
Maybe, but likely not, but they are part of “everybody.” I’d say those people are part of the wall the dartboard is hanging on, but not even on the board itself. Let’s keep narrowing the field a bit and get closer to that’s bulls-eye. How about the people in Indianapolis, Carmel, or Zionsville? Now we are getting somewhere. people who live or work within 20 miles of the establishment. Now we are on the dart board.
Another way to look at the ideal customer – food preference. Does his menu include a vegan and vegetarian selections? If it does then vegans and vegetarians would be on the board. If not, then maybe not so much.
Can you see how much easier it is to target a geographical area or a niche of the population within that geographical area. Then you can talk directly to the wants, need, and desires of those specific people.
And yes, before you ask, a business can have multiple ideal or target customers.
The point is do you know your ideal customer? Not do you know who your ideal customer is, but do you know her? Where does she go after work? What does she read? What are her hobbies? Where does she live? To really sell to her, you need to not just know she is, but really know her. If you do and you cater to her, then your sales and website conversions will be significantly better.