How to Cater to Your Ideal Customer

You’re interested in connecting with new customers, but you don’t know how to find–and keep–this clientele. As with any relationship, it takes a bit of time and effort to connect with these people. If you’re unsure where to begin, take a look at these three simple steps to discover how to attract your ideal customer.

Step 1: Identify & Empathize

When it comes to finding your ideal customer, the best thing you can do is put yourself in their shoes. Let’s say you’re launching a business in a new neighborhood and are interested in connecting with the local community. Take some time to learn a bit more about the people you’re wanting to connect with. Here are a few questions you could ask yourself:

What is the demographic of my potential customer?

Perhaps you’re starting a childcare center. While you may already have a sense that your customer base will be filled with working parents, taking the time to put yourself in their shoes can help you learn a bit more about them. Maybe you’ve noticed that your community is bilingual and wants their children to learn both languages. Paying attention to these details will help you to better connect with these customers.

What is their core need?

Now that you have a sense of the demographic, it’s time to look at their specific needs. If you’re an auto mechanic and supplier serving northern Wisconsin, then you know the impact weather has on daily life. Your customers may have the distinct problem of driving safely in the snow. Knowing this, you can prepare for the year ahead by stocking up on heated steering wheel covers and 4x4 tires to better serve your clientele. 

What are your customers’ priorities?

You can best understand a person’s priorities by how they spend their time. Let’s say you’re a cafe owner wanting to attract your ideal customer. Think about what their day looks like. Are they a digital nomad searching for a coworking space? If so, you may want to design a coffee shop with plenty of seating room and outlets for freelancers to gather. Or perhaps you’re interested in serving the more traditional 9-5 crowd. Then you might create a system where customers can order ahead of time and grab their latte on the way to the office. 

Step 2: Reach Out

Now that you understand a bit more about your ideal customer, it’s time to reach out to those people! This can feel particularly daunting in the digital age, but you don’t need an expansive marketing plan to connect with your community. Using your answers from step one, you now have the tools to effectively and efficiently reach your new customer base.

Use information about their demographic to inform outreach

You’ve listened to your community and now offer a daycare center with multilingual counselors. Before you start paying for social media ads, think about how you can specifically reach these parents. Is there a local Spanish camp you could partner with for targeted advertising? By taking the extra step to understand where you might best meet new customers, you save yourself time, money, and effort in the long run. 

Show how you can solve their problem

Sometimes thinking outside traditional marketing tactics can help you make a lasting impression. Remember the auto mechanic example earlier? Undoubtedly, Wisconsin has plenty of auto shops to help service their widespread community. So how can you make your business stand out? 

One simple way to navigate this is to give potential customers a taste of how they would feel working with you. Perhaps, you hand out customized hand-warmers with your company logo before a Green Bay Packer game. Those fans won’t forget who helped keep them warm as the team went into overtime, and as a result, you’ve set yourself apart from the competition.

Demonstrate where your priorities align with theirs

Sometimes this simplest outreach is to be authentically yourself and trust that the right people will find you. But that doesn’t mean you can’t help it along. Your new cafe may offer unlimited refills on coffee from 10am -12pm, in order to attract freelancers to spend their day working from your shop. So, why not put a sign in the front window with this special? If you’re catering to on-the-go professionals, adding a drive-thru option could help you to quickly serve your busiest customers every morning. 

Step 3: Build a Relationship

Once you’ve connected with your target customer, it’s time to build a relationship. While trust doesn’t happen overnight, quality, consistency, and a personal touch can help to turn new patrons into lifelong fans. Getting to know details about the daycare kids can help parents feel at ease when dropping their child off in the morning. Simple payment processing ensures your patrons will feel secure in their purchase of a new muffler. Rewards programs can help you build loyalty for returning customers (because who doesn’t like getting that 8th coffee for free?). 

No matter your industry, word of mouth is always a powerful tool in building your business. Not only will these small efforts help you to cultivate current relationships, they just might share their experiences with other people. New and returning customers will be grateful you cared about their journey, every step of the way.

Ready to learn more about running a small business? Check out more articles in our Small Business Guide.

Taylor Lhamon