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Who is your Customer? How do you Recognize It?

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This is hard to write about, and hard for business owners to accept. It seems so negative. Still, it seems like we all need a fresh reminder.

Famous American stand-up comedian, actor, and author Bill Cosby said it well: “I don’t know the secret to success, but I do know that the secret to failure is trying to please everybody.”

We need to know both who is our customer and who isn’t before positioning our marketing efforts. Marketing is vague and scary activity but that is only until we don’t have clarity on whom to market! Once you exactly know who is your customer on paper (yes, I said on paper – you gotta grab a pen and a paper) your marketing efforts becomes a fun activity & 1000% effective. By end of this blog you will have immense clarity in order to market your business. In this blog, I will help you walk you through define your target audience.

  1. You need customers. The first thing you need to start a business, maybe even the only thing you really need, is customers. It all starts with at least one customer.
  2. Who is your target customer. When asked who is your customer, the usual answer is often that they serve many customers. This includes internal and external customers, distributors, buyers, influencers, employees, and so on. Calling them all “customers” is common and even acceptable. But it perpetuates a myth that misleads. They are not all customers in the true sense of the word. Companies are making a mistake when they give all these constituents an equal or greater priority than they give their primary customer. This leads to focusing time and energy in the wrong places, inhibiting a company’s ability to create value and grow.

When deciding who is the customer, the focus should always be on the people using the product.

In detail. Not just generalities but who is this person, what drives her, what does she really want from you, what does she like to read, eat, watch?

Where does he live, and with whom? What does he drive?

3. Who isn’t your customer. Sometimes the secret to success is who isn’t your customer.

Let’s take an example of Facebook. How does Facebook earn? It’s a myth to some people.

Facebook recently announced they crossed a billion users. But these users are truly Facebook’s customers? yes? No, there is no shame. There was a time I also believed so. But in reality, these users, that does not exclude us, are basically Facebook’s products! Yes, that’s correct. Facebook real customers are who chooses to market on Facebook for their product and services.

You started a Directory business or a dynamic website of your product/service, you probably would have read dozens of blogs that suggests to market through social media – running paid campaigns that will help you reach out to a bigger audience. It’s a fact, we also did it in last week when we ran a buy 1, get 1 sale to gather more likes, reach out of a bigger audience, so to do that you run a paid campaign on Facebook. Here, in this scenario, you decide to pay to Facebook to buy what? Facebook users’ attention! Hence Facebook basically used “us” it’s users as a product whom his real customers (businesses) can market to.

Idea of WordPress Business Directory is the same. The real customers of a directory are not the business listings but the visitors. By defining your customer’s persona you will learn what your potential businesses truly need. The answer is, They seek attention – they want to be seen by many, observed by many so that when they actually need service/product they could be called upon their services.

Let’s take your example,

You run a local directory of New Jersey Real Estate. Once you are through the road of your first 10 business listings your primary attention should be at the potential property buyers/renters rather than the properties who will put listings on your directory. You gotta attract visitors that convert into business. To do obviously, it is important to know and believe in your product. If you don’t believe that New Jersey is a really a good place to move in you can’t sell the idea of moving to anyone. Then you gotta think deeper, imagine why would anybody be interested to buy a home in New Jersey? You gotta study moving to New Jersey would be a good idea for who exactly?

What benefits New Jersey has to offer? You gotta flesh out and refine the set of audience who is more likely to move to New Jersey,

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  • What are the specific demographics of your ideal customer for moving to New Jersey? such as,
    • Age – 30- 45 age group
    • Social status – Married Couple mostly also bachelors as it has got good IT companies available for career
    • Education – Graduates mostly
    • Gender – Male & Female both
  • What are your customers’ lifestyles, activities, values, needs, interests or opinions?
  • Where are they located? What type of environment do they live in?
  • What are the key phrases or quotes that they would use to describe their problems (that your product or service will remedy)?


Imagine one particular customer and find answers to the above questions and keep that in mind while producing content next time. I always keep Google Adword Keyword Planner handy while writing. New Jersey currently has 1900 people searching keyword, New Jersey Real Estate seem to have a great potential.

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Also read: How does potential business decides to get listed on your directory site?

It’s also equally important to know “who isn’t my customer”. Focusing on the wrong primary customer leads to failure

It’s hard to conceive that the people you sell to, collect revenue from, and talk to every day of the week are not your primary customers. IBM thought ComputerLand was its primary customer, not the computer user. But then Dell and Apple created offerings that took the distributor out of the equation. The result? ComputerLand went the way of the dinosaur, and IBM eventually got out of the PC business. But computer users didn’t disappear. They were, and are still today, the primary customer.

A clear example of knowing who is and who isn’t your customer can be found in the restaurant industry. Some restaurants appeal to people in a hurry, or people on a budget, or people looking for a romantic rendezvous, or people who appreciate and seek out the taste treats presented by culinary masters. Every successful restaurant has carefully decided who their target customers are, and who they are not, and then manage their marketing efforts accordingly.

Ask yourself: Who is my customer? Who isn’t my customer? Then focus your marketing efforts to reach your target customers most effectively.

The first step in profiting from the customer is knowing who they are. We have gone through the confusion and the resistance to make the right choices, so value can be created. This is part of our ultimate guide on How to Start an Online Directory in 45 Minutes – Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners. Learn more about our “What next once your blog post is published?” in our next post. Sign up for the newsletter so you don’t miss a post.

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