The key to targeting your customers effectively is knowing who they are, where they are, how they act, when they act and most importantly why they act.
What Is a Customer Profile?
In simple terms, a customer profile is a description of your typical customer.
The process involves understanding your customers’ traits, behaviours and characteristics and then using them to inform your marketing efforts.
The concept of profiling is not a new one but emerging technologies and the rise of the digital age have changed the way we collect information about our customers. With more data than ever at our finger tips, it is vital that you take note and think about how your business can best use the intelligence available to you.
The main areas covered by customer profiling are as follows:
- Online and/or offline
- Devices used
- Email client preference
- Browser preference
- How do your customers first hear about you?
- Do they then visit your website?
- If you operate an e-commerce website, will they checkout to the cart and then not complete the purchase?
- Are paid ads driving traffic to your website?
- Do your customers prefer to pick up the phone and call, or are they happy completing a contact form on the website?
Why Do You Need to Use It?
Equipping yourself for the task in hand
Ignoring customer profiling is like agreeing to buy a birthday present for someone that you know nothing about and have never met.
Are they male or female? How old are they? Where do they live? How will you deliver the gift? Would they appreciate a set of bath bombs, or be much more excited to receive the new Marvel DVD? If you buy them a new mobile phone case, do they have an i-phone or an Android, or do they even own a phone?
Without any information about the person that you are targeting, you are playing a guessing game.
The same goes for customer profiling. If you don’t spend some time getting to know who your customers are, how they behave and what they want, then you may end up wasting valuable time and money and in the worst case, be left with a set of bath bombs that no one wants.
To beat the competition
With more competition than ever, markets are becoming saturated, so you need to be able to keep hold of your customer’s attention for all the right reasons.
Improving the customer’s experience of interacting with your company should lead to increased conversions and increased loyalty.
When Should You Create Customer Profiles?
Right now?! That’s assuming that you do want to know who your customers are.
It’s never too late to rethink and improve the way you do things and customer profiling is a good place to start.
Once you have established who your typical customer is, you may find it useful to conduct a more condensed version of customer profiling for each specific campaign that you run. Creating a profile for each new campaign is like checking a map before you set off on a journey to make sure that you know where you are going and how you’ll get there.
Customer profiling also comes in handy when you are looking to create a new website. Hallam’s Hannah Larham wrote an interesting blog post recently about the 9 steps for planning a new website, which also makes reference to customer profiling and is an interesting read.
How to Build a Customer Profile
With numerous tools collecting data about your customers, it can be hard to know where to begin when thinking about customer profiling.
The first thing to remember to do is to think of your customers as real people – because they are.
The following sources can be used as a starting point to look at the data for your profiles.
This dashboard provides information on age and gender based on the information Google holds on visitors to your website.
The above dashboard can provide you with data on which social channels are directing traffic to your website and may help you decide where to focus your efforts in terms of social media.
Another useful tool, which is worth a look, is YouGov.co.uk
Their data comes from an online global community and it may be able to provide you with some more general data on the type of customer you may wish to target. This free version of the ‘profiles tool’ allows you to search for a job title and it will bring up a typical profile of that person, in the form of the below dashboard.
With all these digital tools and information available to marketers, it can be easy to forget that the most valuable source of information about your customers is – your customers themselves.
A simple survey may provide you with a lot of the answers and information that you have been looking for and it will be delivered straight from the horse’s mouth.
CRM – Customer Relationship Management
If your business uses a CRM tool to collect, store and manage data about your customers, then there will be information in there which you can also use for your profile. Information such as their buying habits, marketing communication preferences and personal details.
What Should You Do with the Profiles That You Create?
Once you have defined your typical customer or customers, you can sort them in to segments to allow you to target them even more effectively.
Armed with the knowledge of these typical customers, your data can be segmented to allow you to target these groups more effectively and your marketing campaigns can be tailored to suit their specific requirements.
Target the right people in the right way
All I need to say is Coca Cola…
Make sure that you are targeting your customers with information and offers that are relevant to them.
Timing is everything. Use the data you have from the profiling to inform when is best to target your customers.
Geo-targeting can be used to aim specific marketing messages at customers in desired locations.
This can be a cost-effective way of targeting segments
Tailor the message to suit the channel or medium through which you are communicating.
Don’t Let Your Customer Profiles Become Outdated
Customer requirements and preferences are constantly changing, so profiles need to be regularly revisited and updated to make sure that they are still relevant.
It’s Time to Get Profiling
Customer profiling doesn’t have to be daunting, just think of it as getting to know who your customers are.
So now that you understand the importance of customer profiling…you can take those bath bombs back to the shop and get them something that they would really like, based on your freshly created profile.
If you would like to talk through how best to target your customers by profiling them, then get in touch with our team of experts.