The Golden Customer
What is a Golden Customer?
Also known as the Ideal or Perfect Customer; your Golden Customer is simply your business’ perfect customer. They love your products, they recommend you, they are easy to work with, and they buy from you, whenever possible! They are the type of customer that you wish you could clone, so all your customers could be exactly like them.
You might already have customers that are just like that. But, if you don’t, don’t worry, we’ll be working on figuring it out as we go!
All businesses have one type of Ideal Customer. You might even have two or three, depending on what you offer. Maybe you work with other businesses and directly with consumers. Maybe you sell men’s and women’s fashion, or treats that also make great gifts. These businesses would need to identify separate Golden Customers for each of the different types of products they offer. This is because each type of customer has different needs and different buying motivations.
The more types of ideal customer you are trying to appeal to, the harder your job gets. Trying to appeal to a large variety of people usually ends up with a lot of confused people. I would suggest one or two at most to start with. But even trying to appeal to two very different types of people doesn’t often work well, as you can see in this example.
Too Many Customers
A local garden centre to me has a café and a gift shop on site. It’s a very popular café and people will often visit the business just for the cafe. But, all their social media is run through the same account. Sometimes you will get posts about cakes, sometimes posts about seedlings, sometimes cute things from the shop. People are clearly confused by it. Their garden centre posts get hardly any interaction at all; neither does the gift shops stuff. But their café cakes and lunches get significantly more. We’re talking about a difference of 60/70 café post likes VS 2/3 for a gardening post.
So what’s happened here is that the café posts are not appealing to the gardeners. Over time they’ve stopped following the page – this puts the garden centre aspect of the business at risk. It also puts the whole page at risk because Facebook will be confused about what content to show to the pages followers. This could lead Facebook to downgrade their page. If Facebook does this, the page will not be shown to as many people and a negative spiral begins. The three customer types are not the same, and I would really advise them to create separate pages.
Why does it matter?
It matters because we all have different needs and motivations for purchasing, even when we think we want the same things. Take a new car, for example! You might say that the ideal customer for this particular model is anyone that wants a new car. Is this true though? The safety features might appeal to a younger driver that’s looking for something to drive the kids to school in, the boot space, might not work for the kids buggies though. All the connectivity might put off an older driver but they might love the fact that they can fit their golf clubs in it. A young male driver might love all the features, but hate the colour choices. Maybe it’s an economical car that is putting off boy racers!
Of course, someone MIGHT step out of the norm and still choose the car, and if they do, they will still buy it. But figuring out the exact perfect buyer for that car means you can stop trying to appeal to all the people that aren’t a perfect fit, and really focus on serving the ones that are.
20% of your customer make up 80% of your sales
This is especially important when you realise that, whilst only 20% of your customers are actually classified as your perfect customer. Together, they are actually responsible for more than 80% of your sales. They don’t spend all that money themselves, of course. These advocates do sell on your behalf when you are not looking. So, when you think of it like this, does it really make sense to concentrate your efforts on the other 80% when they contribute so little to your actual sales?
So what happens when we try to serve everyone? Let’s go back to the example of the car, and let’s try to sell it to all those types of people. Why wouldn’t we, it’s a great car, and they all want a car, right? So, we do a “like and share” deal on Facebook and get everyone to add all their friends to the page. Page numbers shoot up but…
70% of your new fans don’t even want a car; they just wanted to win something. 20% MIGHT want a car in the next couple of years, and a few might actually be thinking of buying in the coming weeks. Of those few, here’s what happens next:
On day one you might talk about the amazing speed of the car, you might include lots of facts and have a great photo of a young model and his sexy friends in the car with him. Our young, recently passed driver is very interested; he likes the post and tags all his friends.
The next day you choose to discuss the safety features. Sadly, half of the people that might have previously been interested in safety un-followed the page yesterday when you published speed numbers, so they won’t even see the post. The single dad is still watching but can’t be bothered with the jazzy colours; he just needs something that is reliable. The younger driver doesn’t rate safety highly and has become confused by the car he liked the day before.
All the customers have a disappointing experience and all have now lost interest in your product. The car would actually suit the single dad, it’s actually not a fast car, and it’s very reliable and cheap to run. But he won’t ever buy it now because of that one feature that was amplified to suit another potential customer, who incidentally was extremely unlikely to buy due to the price tag. He can’t see himself reflected in the marketing so he goes elsewhere.
Reflect your customers values in your marketing
Because you need your customer to feel that your product is for them. Understanding your customer means you will know what is important to them and will be able to design your marketing around them and their values. If they care about price, put that up front and centre. Do they want quality? Then talk about how it’s made. If they are time poor then show them how much time it will save them. If they value customisation then show them a massive choice of colours. But you won’t know what they care about and what challenges they face until you figure out your golden customer.
But won’t I exclude other people that want to buy from me?
If you don’t target your customer, you won’t appeal to anyone. It is a common fear that once you start to niche your marketing then you’ll alienate loads of customers but actually it’s not easy to appeal to different types of people, as we saw in the above example. It’s especially hard when you’re a small business with no budget and no hot-shot marketing team.
When you niche, you end up attracting customers that are perfect for your business, they understand you and your product and they readily buy from you because they completely get you and you get them. They also know people that are like them, which is why they are so good at selling your product for you.
Drills aren’t all equal
Let consider this example for a moment. Imagine going online to buy a drill, you are a 50 year old DIY fanatic who has had a drill for years but it’s finally broken down. The website he goes to has a picture of a pink drill on the homepage and the message “Girrrl Power”, it’s very likely that he’ll close the page and look somewhere else.
That page might have loads of drills that are perfect for him but the page doesn’t appeal. He’ll look for one that “talks to him” about the power behind the drill and how long it will last. His goal is to get a good quality drill that will give him years of reliability. A student that is in his first flat might only care about budget so neither page will appeal to him. Now imagine a home page that tried to appeal to all these types of buyer – what would that be like?
Once he’s found the perfect website or shop that knows what kind of drill he wants, he’ll go back there for all his DIY needs because he feels comfortable there. He’ll also talk about the shop/website amongst his DIY loving friends. That sale could bring one customer for life and another two sales, which if they are like him, may also become customers for life. If he did manage to find a suitable drill on the pink website, he might still be happy with the drill but will never recommend the page to anyone and may try to avoid the page in the future as it was uncomfortable for him to use.
Who are they?
Hopefully, the benefits of knowing our Golden Customer are becoming clearer, but we still don’t know who they are.
Most businesses know at least a little about their perfect customer. If you are already in business you have maybe started to notice a few repeat customers. So you’ll know a bit about them. You may have designed a product specifically to a particular type of person. In this case you’ll know whether they are male or female, where they live, their family situation and a couple of their likes and dislikes. But that is not enough?
Demographics is not enough
I hear so many business owners saying that their perfect customer is a busy mum, or a golf fan, or a struggling business owner, or anyone that wants to buy a car. But we can see from the examples above that this is far too generic. You are so much more than a “struggling business owner” and so is your customer for than a “single, 20-something”.
Bupa once said there are 7 billion types of normal! So let’s dig just a little deeper…
So when thinking about your ideal customer, let’s try to think about all aspects of their life. Ask yourself some interesting questions about them and try to consider the lifestyle behind the answer.
Eg. What did you have for breakfast? A good question could tell you so much about them and may even give you a little insight into their life. Imagine what the morning and lifestyle might look like of a person who starts with a full fried breakfast, compared to someone that has a protein shake, compared to someone that had a cold slice of left over toast.
What do you eat for breakfast?
I asked my afternoon tea customers what they had for breakfast once. They came back to me with detailed descriptions of yummy breakfasts like berries with Greek yogurt and blossom honey, or mashed banana with lightly buttered toast and black tea, and cured ham and fermented coleslaw. They showed me that they care about the ingredients and flavours they used. And that told me a lot about how to talk about my afternoon tea with them!
What if you knew your golden customer loved playing sports – do you think it would be a waste of time posting on social media at the weekend when they are most likely playing sports? Would that be different if it rained?
When might a single mum who’s into Call the Midwife have time to look at her phone and research a new purchase? Do they like expensive things? And might that effect the wording you use in your text? Might they be put off by words like “reasonably priced” are they more interested in knowing how it’s made or the high quality parts that make it so expensive!
Do they value handmade? Are they vegan? Star Trek or Star Wars? Board Games or computer games?
Start by noting down the stuff you know. For the stuff you don’t know, there are plenty of ways you can find out more about your customers. But essentially it comes down to just asking them! You could ask questions on your social media, do surveys, make conversation when you meet them, do polls, make interactive posts, you get the idea!
If you don’t have anyone to ask, then for now just make some educated assumptions. You can test them and refine the profile later on, but I’ll bet you’re not far wrong! The important thing is that you are keeping them in mind, and keeping their needs front of mind.
What’s their name?
Once you start working on your profile, your ideal customer will hopefully start to come to life for you. At this stage it might be useful to give them an actual name. If you do, then start referring to them by it in all things. In fact, I suggest you replace the word customer or client with their name from now on. So instead of saying I need to tell my customers about my latest deal, say I need to tell “Donna” about my latest deal.
It’ll keep you focussed on who you are speaking to, the message they want to hear, and how they want to hear it. You could even go a step further and draw a picture of them, and pick out an accent too. If you can’t draw you might find a picture on Google images that matches what you have in mind. Print it off and stick it to the wall in your office so you are always reminded of them.
How would your business benefit from a 1-1 with an experienced business adviser/coach?
Book a consultation with us now and we’ll help you identify your golden customer and make a strategy that is perfect for you!