How to Create a Customer Profile To Find Out Who Your REAL Customers Are

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create a customer profile

A customer profile can help SMEs to better market to potential customers.

“Stop telling people why they need to buy your product or service. Instead, find out who you are dealing with, and what problem they need help solving,” Shelli Nurcombe-Thorne, head of strategy at Parenthesis Communications, said in a previous SME South Africa article.

Each customer fits within a certain profile, understanding the profile will give you a better idea of who you are dealing with.

Creating a customer profile makes it easier to communicate the value of your products and services to potential customers and convert them to buyers, says Marang Marekimane, a business strategist and founder of Business Processes Mechanics.

“Knowing that profile makes it easier to craft your marketing to drive sales,” she says.

Jandre de Beer, managing director and founder of the digital marketing agency Version Eight Media (V8 Media), agrees and adds that a customer persona or profile is essential as it can help brands to connect with their customer on a deeper level, while also assisting them in thinking outside of the box when coming up with new ways to reach them.

“It’s important to know who your ideal customers are as this will help tailor and improve the current marketing strategy, allowing you to get more bang for buck as the message you put out will be able to resonate with more people,” says de Beer.

customer profile sme south africa

Marang Marekimane (left) and Jandre de Beer.

Below is De Beer and Marekimane’s guide for creating a customer profile for your own business.

On the benefits of a customer profile

De Beer
The main reason you use [a customer profile] for is to improve your brand messaging, [starting] from the creative and the copy that are in the content or ads you produce. The more the messaging can align with your ideal customer the closer you get to marketing heaven.

Marekimane
Knowing the pains and frustrations of your customers influences the business model, including:

  • What you’re selling and how you’re selling it;
  • How you market the product to make sales;
  • The strategy used to keep the business relevant and scalable.

This is why it is important to keep engaging with the audience, get to know them and use the feedback to improve either the product, marketing or the operations – all of which affect revenue.

On how to gather data to create a customer profile

De Beer:
Facebook Audience insights would be a great place to start. You can see all the info listed above and it’s based on people connected to your brand and more.
Market research would also be another option.

Marekimane:
– There are various ways to collate the information. Have a list of questions and interview people, use tools like Survey Monkey to email the questionnaires or use polls on social media.
– The other option is to buy research from media agencies or other consumer survey service providers.

On the key elements of a customer profile

De Beer
[Find out about] your main audience’s age, gender, location, interest, behaviours and job titles.

Marekimane
If you have already started the business, ask your customers, and the people that asked for quotes but never bought, for feedback. Some questions to include are:

  • Find out what else they have done or used in the past to try and solve the problem;
  • Ask how much they are willing to pay for your proposed solution or if they think your price is reasonable;
  • Finding out why they buy from you will help to refine how you communicate your value proposition.

On having more than one customer profile

De Beer
You don’t want too many, as today talking to everyone equals talking to no one. We recommend a maximum of three profiles per brand and category.

Marekimane
Yes [you can have more than one profile]. Your corporate clients (B2B) won’t be the same profile as  individuals (B2C).

On mistakes to avoid when building a customer profile

Marekimane
What you should not do is guess or feel compelled to have it be perfect.

De Beer
NEVER assume you know the profile and ALWAYS ensure that the information is backed by data.

On regularly updating your customer profile

Marekimane
– It’s good to do this as part of strategy review and to include people you work with – it will influence the experience customers have when they buy.
– You should also create customer profiles if you make changes or add new products or services.
– If you work project-to-project, or you collaborate with a variety of people/organizations, it helps to be on the same page on your customer profile(s).

De Beer
– If the product and offering changes, yes!
– If it does not (change) we recommend doing the research once a year to confirm that you are still on the right track.

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Melissa Javan
Melissa Javan
Melissa Javan is a writer with nine years' experience in the media industry. She enjoys blogging and taking part in Twitter chats. You can find her on Twitter @melissa_nel.

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