Know Thy Customer

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How well do you really know your customers? In order to effectively advertise with the goal of bringing in more customers, it’s important for your company or organization to collect and record everything you know about your customers—the ones you’ve been selling to as well as ones you want to target for future sales.

It may surprise you to find that it’s difficult to describe a customer set as one homogenous group. That’s because most customer sets can (and should) be broken down into smaller subgroups (often referred to as customer segments), each with different and distinct characteristics.

The good news is that describing these subgroups will help your company or organization to create marketing and/or advertising messages with laser precision. Understanding customer differences and needs can also help serve existing customers more effectively—and what company couldn’t use an increase in customer satisfaction?

Ask the Right Questions

Step 1 in “Know Thy Customer:” Gather your organization’s marketing people into one room—and anyone else who should logically contribute. If your company is small enough, include representatives from the Sales department, and even the president or CEO. If your company is sufficiently marketing-savvy, this should be a short meeting. If it turns out to be a long one, you’ll likely emerge from the meeting with a better understanding of the drivers of your company’s success—which will have benefits far beyond your PPC advertising campaigns.

Then discuss and answer the following questions:

  • Where are your customers located? Are they clustered in particular countries or cities? (You’ll need to know this in order to properly use a powerful PPC feature called geotargeting.)
  • What are the ages and genders of your customers? (The answers for this, as well as the next four questions, will certainly influence the wording you use for ads and landing pages, and equip you to use the demographic-targeting capabilities of some PPC services.)
  • What educational level(s) have your customers attained?
  • What range(s) of income do your customers earn?
  • What are your customers’ common occupations? Are they students, employed part-time, employed full-time, or retired?
  • Are your customers married, unmarried, or divorced? Are there children in the household?
  • What kind of buying behavior do your customers exhibit? Do they regularly conduct research regarding prospective purchases? Do they then buy offline or online? If the latter, how many times do they visit the site before they buy, and over how long a time? (Knowing this will help you decide what search terms potential customers will be using, and hence which keywords you should include in PPC ad groups.)

If your company is in the business-to-business (B2B) space, you should answer the following additional questions:

  • What company sizes are you targeting?
  • Who is the final decision maker? What is that person’s level in the organization?
  • How long is the typical sales cycle?
  • Will the customers purchase online, or do they require telephone and/or face-toface contact?

Answers to all of these questions should be understood and shared with anyone who’s involved in creating, managing, and optimizing the organization’s PPC campaigns. You’ll find they will equip you to pick the right keywords, write better ads, design better landing pages, and find the perfect sites for displaying ads to be seen by your target customer  segments.