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Target market – part 2

This article focuses on researching your existing customers.

The first thing to consider is which customers do you speak to? The answer is the most enjoyable and profitable because you want more of them.

If your business is like most businesses then you will have a mix, some will be better than others. The 80:20 principle suggests that there will be an un-even split. Perhaps 80% of your  profit comes from 20% of your customers?

Once you have identified your best customers you need to contact them and ask for their help. You could say you have created a customer focus group and want their input.

You can explain that on 20% of customers are being invested and there will be a prize draw as a thank you.

Design and complete a questionnaire yourself. Do not send them out to clients for them to complete because you will not get many back and you will not have the opportunity to probe. The phone call you make to complete the questionnaire is a valuable use of your time.

Before calling the client complete as many answers as possible to these questions:

1. How did you first hear about us?

2. How long have you been a customer?

3. What products/services have you bought?

4. Why did you buy in the first place?

5. Is there anything we offer that in your opinion is unique compared to the competition?

6. What is it we do that makes us stand out from the competition?

7. What are your three biggest fears/frustrations when dealing with us and people in our industry?

8. What three things could we improve upon?

9. If you were my business adviser, what one thing would you tell us to do?

10. What publications do you read?

11. If you were looking to buy our product/service from another supplier where would you go to source them?

12. How often would you like to be contacted with new information, or be contacted by the salesperson or company service person?

13. Do you prefer being contacted by phone, mail or e-mail?

Once you have completed the survey you need to analyse the results.

Look out for keywords and phrases because one of the main reasons for conducting this research is to help you discover WHY these customers bought from you, what was appealing about the business which made them buy in the first place.

These are their emotional hot buttons and they should be used in all of your marketing collateral.

Also keep an ear out for things that concern the buyer – their fears, concerns, frustrations, and objections.

In all cases you are looking for irrational emotional reasons because there are the most powerful. People do not drive a sports care because it is fast, they buy it because they feel good when other people look at them at the traffic lights.

You are also looking to identify your “Uniqueness”. Knowing what makes you different is one of the most powerful elements of your marketing.

Many business owners who do this discover customers view the business completely differently than you! But remember who cares what you think? What customers think is what matters.

When you are finished you should have a very good picture of how customers view the business.

You will know:

  • What you need to improve or change
  • What you do well
  • Where to promote your business
  • What emotional words and phrases to use


As always, remember, Sackmans are Accountants for North London for small businesses so if you know anyone looking for free business advice suggest they sign up to our newsletter.