How SMBs Can Profile Their Typical Customer

How SMBs Can Profile Their Typical Customer

Many marketing plans fail because they try to attract everyone and don’t focus on anyone. These faulty plans result in companies selling products that customers don’t want. Thing is, most customers aren’t even at the center of the feedback loop. Even worse, most customers will tell you what they want, if you would just ask.

Making the sketch

Start by surveying your existing client base (no matter how small) to understand future buyers better. Contrary to popular belief, this doesn’t have to be a costly process. There are free tools such as Google Docs and MailChimp that let you create a survey and distribute it easily and affordably.

Get into the heads of your customers with a survey that gives you information to help build a typical profile of someone who is likely to buy from you.

Useful information includes:

  • Sex
  • Age
  • Salary
  • Marital status
  • Job
  • Hobbies
  • How did they find you?
  • Why did they buy from you?
  • What problem did your product help them solve?
  • Would they recommend you to a friend?

The results of this survey will let you write an extensive profile of your typical customer. Let’s say you sell customized sports apparel:

“John is 29 years old, has brown hair, green eyes, weighs 197 pounds and is 5 foot 11 inches tall. He lives in Austin with his wife and works full-time. He loves to watch football on weekends and found our website via a referral from a colleague.”

“He bought from us because of our large selection of products, has recommended us to at least one friend and was happy with his purchase so would buy from us again.”

It’s all about the appeal

Put yourself in John’s shoes. Ask, “If I were John, what would grab my attention and make me either sign up for information or buy something, instead of closing my browser?”

Some ideas:

  • An email newsletter about his favorite NFL team with little-known facts about players.
  • Photos or videos of other customers (who look and sound like John) wearing your product.

Your goal is to become relatable to John. Anything and everything you write or display on your website, in your emails – any communication – must feel like it’s speaking directly to him.

You’re building a personal rapport with John (even though he’s a profile of a typical customer). That’s crucial, because people buy from people they know, like or respect.

About The Guest Author:   Eddie Machaalani is the co-founder and co-CEO of Bigcommerce which was created after the two founders met in an online chat room. Four years on, the eCommerce start-up has secured $35 million in venture capital funding, built offices in Sydney and Texas and attracted 33,000 customers.  

Target Customer Photo via Shutterstock


2 Comments How SMBs Can Profile Their Typical Customer

  1. Jess Dewell

    The ability to relate the caring to a product is huge – how does a typical customer differ from an ideal customer? What influences their decision making about my product?

    Knowing this will help identify opportunities based on specific cues so that the end goal of sustainable lasting relationships (that make money) exist.

    Relatable – in a way that makes a brand approachable, and a team of people that care. Your article is great – thank you for sharing!



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