Do You Have True Fans?
Who are your True Fans? The ones that will buy the hardback and paperback and audible versions of your book; the ones that will purchase the next shoe sight unseen; they will pay for the “best-of” DVD version of the free youtube channel; they will come to your chef’s table once a month. The ones that will travel 200 miles + to see your play, concert or conference?
Few brands have achieved the holy grail of customer loyalty. Think Apple the customers that camp in front of their stores before the launch of a new product. Nike, with customers that will travel across the globe to grab a pair of the newest limited Jordan’s. What about In N Out Burger with an extremely simple menu (hamburger, cheeseburger, fries, milkshake) people are willing to stay in line for hours to get a bite of their burger even if there is other burger places across the street. To get your brand to this point you need to become a leader in your customers eyes and for that you need to really know your customer so you can directly speak to them.
Without really knowing your customer all marketing efforts can seem more like a gamble versus marketing with purpose. Understanding your customer in depth can seem something unimportant when you are anxious to sell your product / service, but taking the time to profile your customer persona can pay off big time in the LTV (Lifetime Value) of your Customers and your ROI (Return on Investment) to your marketing strategies.
How to Start a Customer Persona
If you have been in business for a few years, check your current customer list. Do you have any customers that are regulars? That buy whatever you have to offer? If so, send them a survey or contact them directly, if you are not comfortable with that or contacting your customers is not feasible, you can view your social media accounts and looks at your top followers pick a few of these and answer the questions below.
Test Your Customer Loyalty
To filter through your customer list start with questions that will truly test their loyalty to your brand, with the following questions:
- If I moved 5 miles away from current location would you still shop for my products/service?
- If price increased by 10% but service and/or quality increase would you still buy from me?
- If a new product is introduced would you trust it and be willing to try it out before anyone else?
- If a “X” employee leaves company will you remain our customer?
Next you will want to ask questions about who is your customer:
- Age or age range
- Marital Status
- What city they live
- Car they drive
- What is their religion
- Number if young children number of older children
- Job type
Last set of questions you want to tap into their emotions
- What makes them afraid
- What gets them mad/upset
- What brings them joy
- What is their level of happiness from 1 to 10
Remember that we as humans are not rational our decisions are mainly moved by emotions.
What if I have no customers?
If you are just starting out and have no customers you will need to use fictitious customers that you think would buy from you. Make them as real as possible, give them names and put a headshot on each profile. These are the character that will carry your brand, they will be your brand ambassadors so make them as credible as possible.
After collecting the data from a few customers analyze your data and combine it to create three different Customer persona profiles. Put these on a sheet of paper include the headshot of customer and print it out. Now view this next to your purpose? Is it aligned? Do these customers believe on your why? If yes you are in a great position to start getting some super fans, if not this is a great opportunity to make your adjustments either on your messaging to match more what your customers want or to figure out a way to attract the type of customers you really want.
Now a word of caution, with your 3-5 customer personas profiles are not static, please review your customer personas frequently at least once a year. Customers change, trends change. Do your customers age with you or age out and then you have a new generation with new priorities and worries of customers to serve?
Long Tail Strategy
Note, most small businesses only need 1,000 regular customers so why are most businesses trying to sell to everybody? With the limited resources most small businesses have, resources need to be spent on getting their true fans make them feel special, make them feel that you truly care for their needs. Once that is met a true fan will be your best investment and best advertisement for your brand.
Selling exclusively to a specific type of customer will set you apart from competitors and give you a space of your own what is partly the Blue Ocean Strategy but mainly considered the Long Tail Strategy.
The long tail is a business strategy that allows companies to realize significant profits by selling low volumes of hard-to-find items to many customers, instead of only selling large volumes of a reduced number of popular items. The term was first coined in 2004 by researcher Chris Anderson from Wired Magazine. Anderson argues that these goods could actually increase in profitability because are shifting from mass-market buying to more niche or artisan buying. In the 1950’s there where only 2-3 networks, no internet, you would create a commercial and the mass market would see it. People where stuck to their local communities. If you owned a shoe store in a small town more than likely you had a monopoly and residents of that town had no choice but to buy from you. Now at days with the internet consumers are not stuck to the only shoe store in town but they can buy from a shoe store across the globe and get the exact type of shoe they want, consumers have choices.
The long tail strategy is clearly seen as working with large companies such as Netflix and Amazon. While Netflix carries many popular shows and movies, it also carries just as many (if not, more) less popular titles. It has over 15,000 titles (as of Feb 2021). The less popular titles contribute to the overall watch time and attract a huge amount of niche visitors a lot more than the popular titles. It works the same way with the Amazon books a few will read the most popular titles but most will read the specific titles.
- Create 3-5 credible customer personas
- Review your Why/Purpose does it match your customer?
- DO NOT Market to everyone, Focus your marketing on your True Customers
Re-evaluate your customer persona periodically. Customers change over time