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Getting to Know Your Customer in Less Than 20 Questions

When clients first begin to tell me about their business one of my first questions I ask them is “Who is your customer?”. That single question creates the foundation upon which all marketing strategy, content, branding and positioning in your business is built. Yet, most businesses can only give you a general idea of who that is.

Here’s the deal though: It doesn’t matter how great your product is if no one is listening.

We don’t want to talk to an empty room and that’s exactly why I created this exercise for my own clients and sharing it with you here.Today we are going to tackle the who in “Who are you talking to?” and in two weeks I’m going to tell you how to use this framework in your business.Why is this all so important to your business?

Understanding your customer gives you clarity. Instead of trying a dozen different strategies hoping something will work and playing a guessing game with your marketing, this framework will help you understand who you are trying to reach and what they want to hear.

You’ll make better decisions. I would guess most of us don’t have unlimited marketing budgets so it’s important we make the dollars we do have work well for us. We also have a limited amount of time so taking time from the beginning to understand your customer will save you on both. By getting clear on who you’re trying to reach, you’ll be more effective with your time and money that you’re spending on ads, influencer marketing or reaching customers through a paid channel.

Your brand will break through the noise and more importantly build connection. There is a lot of noise in the online space and you might find that many of your competitors are trying to reach the same customer as you are. At the end of the day a customer wants to feel understood by the brands they choose to buy. So rather than making your marketing all about you, we want to make it about them and their needs. How are you going to make their life better? How are you going to solve their problems? This allows you to cut through the noise because you’ll find everyone shouting over here and you are instead speaking directly to your customer. You have a front row seat to their attention.

You’ll be able to lead with confidence. Knowing and understanding all of these concepts is going to give you the confidence to push the needle in your business. You’re not in the dark about your marketing, you aren’t trying for the sake of trying. Is this thing working? Is it not working? Am I pouring money into the black hole of Facebook ads? No, you are really clear on who you’re reaching in your business. This allows you to lead with confidence, take more risks, and be more adventurous in the marketing efforts. When you intentionally get to know your customers, you are more connected to your brand and the community you ultimately want to build.

Use the button below to download your worksheet to follow along as we break the questions down.

Let’s dive in:

The customer we are going to be uncovering isn’t just any customer who buys from you, they are your advocate, your hero customer. They are the brand evangelist who can’t help but tell everyone about you. That is who we are uncovering today and who we will focus on in all our marketing efforts.Our questions break down into three categories: demographic, pain points and behaviors. Before you dive in here are a few pro-tips as you work through these questions:

  • Don’t get too general. The point of this exercise is helping you get into the mind of your customer. We want to always be thinking about the ways we maximize our time and money spent on marketing. If we are too broad, it doesn’t allow us to do that. So when you are thinking of gender identity, age, where they live, I encourage you to be specific.
  • No brand truly attracts everyone. You can hold space for everyone in your brand, but everyone is not your ideal customer. When we build this archetype we are not doing it to exclude anyone but to cultivate the customers who will advocate and be energized by the things we creating.

The first set of questions helps us with demographic information about your customer. We are tackling things like gender identity, age, where they live. Keep these things in mind as you answer these questions:When you are considering the age of your customer this is a single number, not a range. This is not a “customer in their thirties”, it is “my customer is 33”. As you think about where your customer lives, don’t forget to include details like being in a walkable neighborhood or how they value living outside of the city because it is peaceful and quiet that go beyond what city they may live in. These details help us feel connected, understand a customer’s values and their lifestyle. We are painting a picture in our mind of who this person is and understanding the human behind our marketing efforts.

The next set of questions give us insight into their struggles and where our products can enrich their lives. Remember: this is not about projecting our products onto a customer, it’s about understanding their needs and desires in life so we can offer solutions. Keep these things in mind as you answer these questions:What does your customer care about? We are seeking to humanize our marketing and be empathetic. How do the things they care about influence their buying decisions? Throughout this set of questions we will mirror how your customer feels with how you respond. For example:

Customer: What are their fears, frustrations and obstacles? What fears do they have about the buying process?

You: How are you going to put them at ease? How are you going to make them feel welcomed, understood and heard

This is where you begin to differentiate from your competitors and understand the value you bring to a customer. What kinds of guarantees, policies (like a return policy) would make this an easy yes for them?

Customer: What are their goals? What are they wanting to achieve? What did they set out to do?

You: How have you already helped customers achieve these things

So often we find it difficult to incorporate success stories without feeling sales-y. When we frame it in the context of solving problems, the case studies naturally become a part of our marketing strategy.

Our final set of questions helps us understand our customer’s behavior. How are we going to take a customer from consideration to paying customer? More specifically, how are we going to convert them to purchasing from YOU?

Some questions to consider:

How are they making a buying decision? Are they purchasing upon a recommendation from a friend? Do they follow someone online who has become a trusted source? If you’ve considered running ads, this is a key question to consider. We want to gauge the likelihood that your customer will click on an ad and be converted.

If your customers are more likely to purchase based on a recommendation or an influencer, you might consider an affiliate or loyalty program that allows you to activate your most loyal customers into brand advocates. Regardless of what you choose to do, I want you to think critically about how your customers found your business in the past and the channels where you are converting at the highest rate.

The next question is what is your customer consuming?

  • Are they on podcasts?
  • Who are they listening to?
  • Who are they following on social media?
  • Where are they finding those things that really are compelling them into action?

These are the channels and areas we can consider as we build our strategies. If your customers are not on Facebook, but more likely to engage on LinkedIn then we should consider ways to maximize our LinkedIn presence and make that the priority channel over Facebook.

More behavioral questions to consider:

  • What’s happening in the market?
  • What are your competitors doing?
  • What are they saying that you don’t agree with and how can you change the narrative with the way you present your products or services?

Conversely, what are they doing that could be considered a best practice or something you could learn from? Ultimately we want to assess what is working, what isn’t and how you can use those things to inform your own strategy.

  • What is the perception of your brand and what are customers saying about it? What do you wish they were saying?

If you haven’t launched yet, what would you like people to say about your brand when you aren’t in the (virtual) room? If we’re thinking about it within the context of the environment we’re in right now, the virtual room would be social media. What do you want people to be saying? How do you want them to be talking about you and how can you guide that conversation along?

Then this is where the questions begin to dig into the meat of the customer journey. It’s time to become introspective about how you want to guide the customer along the buying journey and into your community. I want you to really take ownership over this and get excited about the ways you can enhance or enrich the experience of buying from you. Let’s think strategically about each stage of the buying process from consideration to post-purchase behavior.

Question to consider:

  • What is your customer seeing, hearing or feeling throughout each stage of the buying process?
  • What does that experience look like?
  • What expectations do they have from you throughout the entire buying process?
    • Is that a sales call?
    • Is it a video that you could send me email?
    • Is it an email series that you’re sending?

I want you to constantly be thinking of the expectations a client may have for that process.

High ticket item, very luxury process

Lower ticket item, Lower overhead for the process

The higher ticket item that you have, the more I want you to consider how you can constantly be elevating that experience for the client so that they say yes every single time.

Customer: What are the five reasons that are going to hold them back from saying yes? Why are they walking away from the table?

You: How can you completely eliminate those reasons?

This is the question where my clients tend to assume they don’t have five reasons someone would walk away. If you start to struggle think about the aspects of your product:

  • Does it satisfy all of their needs?
  • How does price impact their decision?
  • Is it time consuming or does it require additional education?
  • Are there follow up products they will need to achieve a successful outcome?

This will bring up pain points and naturally you’ll recognize the ways in which you can combat those with solutions. How can you completely eliminate that from being a reason that they would say no?

Finally, how will they feel after your product? What does success look like for them? This could be increased sales, better clarity or more confidence. It could also be a time saver or better self-care. What does your product give to customers?

Then, how can we get them from purchase to raving customer? This could look like an affiliate program, feedback survey or incentive to share about your product on social media. Think about ways you can continue to engage post purchase to build community around your products.

And just like that, we’ve made it to the end of the questions. As you go through these and start to define them for your business, how are you feeling? Do you have more clarity or more confidence in who you are attracting? I can tell you from experience that this is one of the most powerful branding exercises that you can do for your business. It allows us so much insight and clarity about how we can move forward and use this information to implement effective strategies.

Where do we go from here? In the next blog post I’ll be walking you through the steps to expanding your archetype into your website, branding, and marketing channels. If you haven’t already, download your brand archetype worksheet here so you can dive into this exercise and sign up below to be notified when the next blog post goes live!

Getting to Know Your Customer in Less Than 20 Questions

Meet the Author

Callie Kerbo is an award winning solopreneur based in Austin, Texas. She is the Founder of Honeycomb, and specialises in branding your business to make you unforgettable. You can find her here. http://honeycombcreates.com/

Honeycomb is a full service boutique brand partner, offering concept-to-launch marketing services for startups and growth-stage businesses. Founded on the belief that beautiful design is only as powerful as the business strategy behind it, Callie works to find what makes your business irreplaceable and then develop a creative branding strategy to help share it with the world. By the time your customers find you, they will have only one thing to say: “Wow.” 

From napkin drawings of a concept to long-standing businesses, Honeycomb helps businesses of every scale reach their goals and grow their businesses.

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