No matter how big or small it is, every business has the same dilemma: how to find customers for their business systematically and consistently.
As I explained in my previous article, first, you need to understand why people buy from you. Armed with that knowledge, you can confidently take them on a customer journey taking them from where they are (with all their problems) to where they want to be (achieving their goals).
But how can you do this change (transformation) for them if you do not know your customer?
Do you understand your customers? What does SUCCESS mean for them? What problems do they have, and how can your business help solve them?
Your marketing PERSONAS for your business should answer all these questions.
The big 10,000,000 EUR question is:
What exact problem do your products/services solve, and HOW will the life of the customer that buys from you be better than if they don’t buy and stay in their current situation?
Let’s give you an example:
Basically, at Ecommerce Empire, we’ve got two types of entrepreneurs we work with:
The first type is an entrepreneur working 10 to 14 hours per day. He tries to do everything on his own. He has way too much work. Everything depends on him. He can’t rely on his employees, so he is involved in every part of his business. He doesn’t earn enough money.
His pain: he feels frustrated, stressed-out, and he doesn’t reach the goals he wants.
The second type is an entrepreneur who already has a somewhat established ecommerce business with a small team. Things work somehow, but he knows he can do better. He wants to increase revenue, but he has no idea how.
That’s the story of an entrepreneur who doesn’t know how to grow their business; he feels stuck.
So, our product is our coaching. We help them review their business model, revise their budgets, create a marketing plan, improve their website conversions and ultimately get more revenue.
We do not give them ready to use templates. No. What we do is to lead them step by step to where they want to be. That’s the customer journey.
Who is your customer?
So what follows is a blueprint for defining your PERSONA – the person your business supports in solving their problem.
So, let’s start with the main points you need to follow to build your persona.
- Name, age, gender, job title (if B2B), location
- The ultimate goal (in their business) that they would name success if they reach it.
- Problems that keep them away (that you can solve)
- Painful feelings because of the problem
- Fears they have if they don’t solve it
- Alternatives that didn’t work or make it even worse
- Questions the person asks related to the problem
- If B2B: the business they are in (industry, size, etc.)
Name, age, gender, job title (if B2B), location.
The name doesn’t matter. If you already had a perfect client, you can take his name, but this is just for your reference.
The age range is important. I work with entrepreneurs between 30 and 45 because they have the pressure to grow and do not know how to do that. That is my age range, you should know yours.
If that’s B2B, you should know the typical job title of your persona. For the Ecommerce empire, it’s entrepreneurs and business owners.
Location is also very important – you can sell locally, in your country, or expand to other countries – globally.
The ultimate goal of your PERSONA
You should know what success looks like for your customer. If you do not know their goal, you can’t tell them how solving their current problem will help them reach their goal (be successful).
Let me give you an example. When I solved my clients’ problems, I help them grow their ecommerce business, and they achieve their goal to become wealthy, independent, and feel proud.
For reaching their goal, very often, they need to solve one problem after another. That’s how they get progressed.
Problems that keep them away (that you can solve)
There is always something that stands between where they are and where they want to be. That’s the problem. List the problems that this person has.
As I said for me, the business owners who do not have enough sales, no idea how to win new clients, don’t make enough money. Not enough skills in the team. These are all problems I can help to solve so that they can reach their goal.
Painful feelings related to their problem
It’s a universal truth that people do not make decisions rationally; they decide emotionally. That’s why it’s important to understand how they feel and describe the feelings that resonate with them.
Fears they have if they don’t solve their problem
Describe their fears: for example, my fear as an entrepreneur is losing important clients, losing important employees, maybe declare bankruptcy because I didn’t get the sales, and might become an employee again.
These are typical fears for me and other business owners.
Alternatives that didn’t work or make it even worse
Maybe talk about alternatives, they’ve tried already, but they didn’t work. For example, I tried many things in the past, and I figured out why all these things didn’t work and came up with the Ecommerce empire program. So these are alternatives you could show your customers and explain why they don’t work.
Questions the person asks related to the problem
You will ask: Why is that important? You will soon learn. You need to find what these questions are because you need to answer the questions and objectives they have. I will show you how to find these questions easily.
A valid question is how you can learn all these things for your customers?
If you have NO clients:
If you have absolutely no idea because you’ve just started the business and you are very new to this business thing, you can search the web for problems, for people you would like to work with.
Believe me; it’s never been easier to find the problems of your target audience.
As a starting point, you can write down what is important for you: what people you prefer to work with, what attributes they should possess – do you like introverts or extroverts, male or female, etc., whatever is important for you.
Then try to find groups on Facebook, Linked In, forums, where these people engage on the web and have conversations. Join them. Listen carefully. Make notes of the questions they ask and see if you can help them. Not to sell them, but help them so you can get a better understanding of their problems and their needs.
You can also use Google keyword planner to enter a search phrase and then see what people ask often.
I will show you then what to do with this information.
If you have clients:
What you need to do is to group your past and current customers by job title (if B2B), review exactly what they asked you to do for them, and most importantly, ask them questions.
I have basically three different personas in my agency: the business owner of a mid-size business, a marketing manager in a larger corporation starting from 200 employees, and a product owner also from a larger corporation.
These are my three main personas. I find that out because after running my business for 7 years, I did exactly this – I went through my client base and group them by job title. Then I see what they asked when they initially approach my company because this is how I understand their problem.
Next, I sent them the following 3 questions.
- What is your biggest goal in your business, in your marketing department, your life, your family? (It depends on if your business is B2B or B2C, and the area they want you to help them)
- Which main 3 problems keep you away from reaching your goal?
- What do you think would be most helpful for you to solve these problems?
You want to know their problems because you can’t help them solve them if you do not know what they are.
With the third question, you will get an idea of what is already top of their mind. What solutions do they look for? What they believe could help them and that is what resonates with them if they see it on your landing page or ads. You can use this information to create a story for them.
If you have something you want to sell and it’s not top of your customers’ mind, take something top of their mind and then (you remember the bridge) help them go step by step over the bridge to where they want to be. Otherwise, it won’t really work.
Why should your customers give you these answers?
If you give them motivation, they will do it. Give them a WHY (purpose).
So what could be a motivation?
You want to align their interest with yours. You want to get this information. Not to sell them but help them further to solve their problem. It would be best if you made it easier to understand why they should do this. And this is the example I use:
We’ve been working with entrepreneurs and business leaders to grow their ecommerce business, increase profitability, and get them more free time. We got a lot of feedback, and we saw we can do even better. And we want to!
(and that’s true. I get a lot of feedback. But I also appreciate feedback when people tell me, ok, Elena, that could be better. I would appreciate this and that. And I appreciate it because I can make it better. That’s my motivation
I even give them more motivation by offering them a reward for their answers.)
If you answer these 3 questions, you get access to all improvements and solutions we found in cooperation with over 300 leaders like you. Not only do you get access to this knowledge, but we’ll also improve our service with a focus on your goals, and you give you a 10% discount on your next order.
Just give them motivation and reward; they will give you the data. I sent this to 300 clients, and I got 86 replies.
Develop your business WITH YOUR CLIENTS
So, you can send those three questions to your customers and then put their answers into an Excel sheet.
I did that, and when I summarized the results, I noticed that many business owners:
- Increase Profitability (often by increasing revenue)
- Focus on company goals, not operations
- Increase revenue without increasing workload
- Improve processes
- Get more clients and a predictable revenue stream
- Reduce workflow/Too much work
You can assign points to each group to see where there is more demand, and then you can prioritize and focus on a particular need.
- Find reliable employees
- Reduce time in business, work more on the business
- Have high yearly peaks and not consistent workload/Having too much work or too little
- They are involved in any decision/ High dependency of the business from the business owner / Being bottleneck when growing
- Automated system to reduce manual workflow
- Inefficient project management
Then you go to the problem.
OK, if you want more revenue, why don’t you have it then?
If you want to work less, why can’t you work less?
If you want to increase your profitability, why didn’t you get there yet?
What customers want and why they do not achieve it are critical.
Having a better understanding of your customers will help you improve your services based on the feedback. By doing that, you develop your product and business with your clients in mind.
Now you know everything you need:
After collecting all that information, knowing exactly their goals and problems, you can segment them into similar personas. Then you can prioritize and take the one that has the highest potential to get a solution from your services.
Example of a segment:
Goal: A business that makes them wealthy, free, independent, and proud. The typical goals they have are:
– Need more client
– Need reliable employees
– Need more profits
– Need more free time
These are the 4 things that I always help my clients at Ecommerce Empire.
It’s not about selling them your services and products. The market is so busy, so crowded with useless offers. Don’t do that. Focus on problems.
It’s not about making money – money is the consequence you get when you provide value.
It’s about helping them solve their problems so that THEY can reach their goals.
Money = Problems you solved.
The amount of money you get equals the problems you solve.
If I have to rephrase it – money follows value. You cannot get money if you do not provide value.
The relation the value you provide to the price they have to pay to get this value should be 1 to 5 or 1 to 10.
If I make you 100,000 EUR extra, would you pay me 10,000 EUR to get there?
Sounds like a good deal, right?
So that is how you build your pricing based on value. That’s also easy to sell.
So in my next article, I will explain how to attract new clients using the Persona profiles you’ve created for your business.