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5 Tips for Targeting Your Ideal Start-Up Customer

5 Tips for Targeting Your Ideal Start-Up Customer
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There's a big difference between visitors and customers.

The logic is simple: Would you rather your startup have 10,000 monthly visitors to its site with a 10 percent sales conversion or attract the attention of 100,000 visitors with only a few finally deciding to buy from you?

This question, as simplistic as it is, remains a big source of frustration for many online entrepreneurs. They often invest a lot of time, energy and finances to drive traffic to their sites, only to find out these people are not even the ones they want to fish out in the first place.

So how can you steer clear from the many traps of aimless traffic generation? Here are five tips:

1. Be a problem solver. You have to admit that at least part of business success has to do with the timeliness of your products or services. You must answer people's needs. The key is settling into a business that has problems you really love to solve, with customers whose pressing needs you are very good at addressing. When you’re able to identify your niche, you don’t only go out there to earn, you have a unique passion and an offering that suits the needs of those people.

Related: The Two Ps of Consumer Behavior: (Seeking) Pleasure and (Skirting) Pain

2. Get into your customers' psyche. People buy not only because they need things, they often buy to satisfy something deeper in them. It’s often the feeling they associate with a product that they finally make the decision to buy. Everybody needs a pair of shoes, but not just any shoes can satisfy that need. This is when branding, reputation and customer service come into play. In fact, this is why there is marketing in the first place. Get into what excites and interests your target market. This is the only way you can tailor-fit your campaign to the people who would not think twice of paying for what you have to offer.

3. Where are your customers? In online marketing, determining how your market interacts with the Internet is very important. It gives you leads to "where" they are online. Online behavior can point you to what sites they frequent, the social-media networks they prefer, the news they’re more likely to read and so on. If you know where they are, you can be sure to focus on places you need to have a commanding presence. This assures you of a steady stream of traffic of ready-to-pay customers, and it prevents you from effectively barking up the wrong tree. We all know how costly and time consuming that can be.

Related: How to Turn Your Startup into the Next Campus Craze

4. Do you really know them? To really pinpoint who your target customer is, you'll want to dig in deep… find out how they tick, if you will. The key is to learn about them, even change with them over time. So basically, this means you can't just buy one customer list and operate off that in perpetuity. You'll need to continuously find out about your target audience. Are they reading things you should be reading? Do they shop at stores you've never heard of? All of these puzzle pieces could fit together and help you identify the bigger customer picture, if you're willing to spend time accumulating them.

5. Close in on the deal. Once you know your customers and understanding where they are and how they think, you can specifically design an online marketing campaign that appeals to those people who would love to pay for your products or services. By being a problem solver, you’re forced to know yourself and understand your brand's strengths and weaknesses. But understanding who you want to engage with online really seals the success of your business.

Related: 6 PR Tips for Generating Publicity for Your Startup

What customer-targeting strategies would you suggest fellow entrepreneurs follow? Let us know in the comments section below.

The author is an Entrepreneur contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.

Matthew Toren is a serial entrepreneur, mentor, investor and co-founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com. He is co-author, with his brother Adam, of Kidpreneurs and Small Business, BIG Vision: Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right (Wiley). He's based in Vancouver, B.C.

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