What I would like to share with you here is my approach to making your marketing messages more targeted and impactful to your business.
But first, consider this:
As a business owner, what prompts you to buy a high-value service?
We’re not talking about things like bookkeeping, which are effectively necessary. Neither are we talking about $30/month software subscriptions.
At some point, you have (or will) spend thousands of dollars in order to do something important or impactful in your business.
Maybe it’s investing in a professional lead-generating website, or maybe it’s purchasing specialized equipment.
At some point you’ve spent a lot of money to achieve an important outcome.
What was it that convinced you to buy?
I wasn’t there so I can’t say for sure, but I’d be willing to venture a guess: You were their ideal customer, and their offer reached you through some sort of marketing vehicle.
What does this mean for your business?
If you’re in the business of offering a highly valuable service to your customers, then it’s quite likely that your customers will need to go through a similar experience in buying as you have.
You need to align your messaging with the people most likely to select your service.
This is not always easy, especially early in a company’s history. Even some of my most established clients still struggle with this, which is typically why they work with Clarity Business Design.
You’ve likely heard the expression, ‘define your customer avatar’. Though I typically refer to this as a ‘customer profile’, the avatar is supposed to be a representation of a hypothetical customer who typically purchases what you have to offer. Some go so far as to attach a fake name to a combination of psychographics and demographics – fancy words for who your customer is and why they choose you over everyone else.
Defining your customer profiles is crucial for long-term success. Even if you’ve done this at some point in your business, there’s likely more you can do to clarify your profiles.
Allow me to share with you…
How we define customer profiles at Clarity Business Design
In a process that I call the AB-Z Audience Exercise, we help our clients to define:
- A – Ideal Audience
- B – Secondary Audiences
- Z – Audiences to Avoid
For each, we attempt to define the following:
- Which service or product are they buying?
- Where are they located?
- What is their age range?
- In percentages, how many are men and how many are women?
- What roles do they hold at their company?
- What industry do they work in?
- What problem are they trying to solve?
- What are they trying to avoid?
These answers may take various forms and there isn’t a perfect structure for the questions, however one thing that I must note is this:
Positive Definition (A+B Audiences) is important, but Negative Definition (Z-Audience) is critical.
It is easy to attempt to serve everyone, and by doing so reduce your impact. Focus comes from reducing the unnecessary and unpleasant. To that end, you are allowed to be blunt and hard-headed in your audience definitions. Niceties and political-correctness won’t serve your business if the goal is to thrive and provide quality service. You may reintroduce these on your marketing front, if you so choose – but for this exercise, please suspend them.
Let’s take a look at how to define each audience:
A-Audience: Your 100% Best Customer
If you’ve been in business for a couple years, when I say to “think of your best customer” then there will probably be someone who comes to mind right away.
My goal for my clients is to help them find more like that best customer, so we start by digging into why they are the best customer as we define the demographics I mentioned above. We explore questions like:
- Are the services they purchase profitable to your company? (The answer should be ‘yes – the most profitable, in fact’)
- Do they treat you and your staff well? (Great interactions are a must for the A-Audience)
- How much of your attention do they require? (Time is money, this is related to the profitability question)
- How long do they remain as a customer? (If possible, determine an Average Lifetime Value for this profile)
- Would they recommend you to their network? (Obviously referrals are important for business growth, but this also speaks to your customer’s abundance mindset)
These sorts of questions should identify key factors of your A-Audience, and give you a clear picture of who is a no-brainer to onboard as a customer.
Pitfalls of the A-Audience
It is common for my clients to define the A-Audience too broadly.
To be clear, the A-Audience is exclusive! Do your best to define customers in the A-Audience as if they were a single person, with the limitations that involves.
Defining the A-Audience isn’t just about the customers.
You may take this exercise as an opportunity to narrow down your company’s services, hypothetically. Your A- and B-Audiences could be the same, yet the B-Audience would differ by purchasing a less profitable service or demanding more of your team’s time.
Try to approach the A-Audience with this mindset: “If we could only offer one service, which would it be?”
B-Audience: Good, But Not Best
Not every good customer can be an A-Audience customer.
Many of my clients identify facets of their B-Audiences during the A-Audience questions we ask them. It takes a little guidance sometimes to distinguish the two, which is there I tend to spend time when working with my clients initially.
While at first I attempted to make the B-Audience singular, like the A-Audience, over time the method revealed that the B-Audience was a fluid concept, not particularly bound to specific demographics or services provided.
As such, I encourage you to use the B-Audience as a ‘scratch space’ for your A-Audience exercise. That is, save your ideas from the A-Audience brainstorming that don’t quite fit, and revisit them in defining B-Audiences.
Pitfalls of the B-Audiences
As with the A-Audience, it’s not just about the customers.
Remember to distinguish B-Audiences by the services they frequently buy. This is an area where profitability may be lower, but engagement with these audiences is beneficial in the longterm.
Z-Audience: The Negative
Put frankly, these are customers that you want to avoid or definitively push away from your business.
Unless you’re just starting out, you’ve almost certainly had a bad experience with a customer.
You know as well as I do that these are toxic to your business in the long term – do not allow more of these to happen if you can prevent it!
I feel that our culture today is far too focused on inclusivity and serving everyone. There are 7+ billion people on this Earth, there is somebody out there better suited to serve the people you don’t serve well. In fact, this approach holds an opportunity for you to find out who those other service providers are and refer your poor-fitting prospects out to them. This is an easy way to serve as a resource, and turns what probably would be a tense and frustrating customer relationship into a brief, valuable win-win for you, your customer, and your network.
Pitfalls of the Z-Audience
Are you afraid of offending someone?
These days, it’s easy to stress and worry about offending people and being ‘cancelled’. We don’t want this, but we also want to hold true to our beliefs.
The Z-Audience is designed to clarify your A-Audience in the extreme. Language is powerful, and I find that it’s equally important to know who you don’t want to attract when you’re crafting your marketing messages. Use the information from your Z-Audience to remove vague or open-ended language from your A-Audience messaging, and feel confidence in knowing that you are doing this not just for your benefit, but to avoid wasting the time and energy of your Z-Audience.
The AB-Z Audience Exercise is just the beginning when it comes to clarifying your brand messaging, but it is a powerful foundation that I believe will benefit you greatly.
I encourage you to get your advisors together and attempt to run through the ABZ-Audience Exercise as a team. An open and candid conversation in the privacy of your effective boardroom is a step that will make it easier to find more of your greatest customers in your marketing efforts.
As the quote from Bruce Lee goes:
“It is not a daily increase, but a daily decrease. Hack away at the inessentials.”
Now go and give the AB-Z Audience Exercise a try!
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If you’ve found this approach useful, and would like to use your AB-Z Audience Exercise to develop a strong brand presence online and generate more business, then I’d love to speak with you. Schedule a consultation with Clarity Business Design so we can chat about what we may be able to do together.