For any business to be successful, it is important to know exactly who your ideal customer is. However, defining your niche isn’t as easy as you might think.

Indeed, some business owners run their companies for years before they get a true understanding of who their products or services most appeal to. So, it is important to get a head start on the competition by getting a handle on this detail as quickly as you can.

Luckily, there are several ways you can do this – including the six steps outlined below.

1. Analyse your existing clients

One of your biggest clues as to who your ideal customer base is can be found in your existing client base.

If you don’t have this information readily available, take the time over a three-to-six-month period to collate data about your clients. This should include their location, industry, age, gender and, if possible, their income level.

A great way to do this is to run an automated survey, which you could incentivise them to fill out with a special offer, such as a 10% off voucher for their next purchase.

2. Evaluate their behaviour

As well as their demographics, you should take steps to establish how these customers found your business.

For instance, if you discover most of your sales come from organic searches on Google you can establish what type of device was used to find it and which particular keywords were used. This, in turn, can tell you a lot about the behaviour of your customers i.e. they are tech savvy – which you could apply in marketing strategies.

Likewise, if you received a lot of sales through customers clicking links on product demonstration videos on YouTube, you can reasonably determine that this is how your ideal customer wants to be marketed to.

3. Understand your customer’s motivation

Usually, people buy a product or service for a particular reason, and your ideal customer is no exception. Therefore, to better identify them, it pays to understand their motivation.

For instance, shops that sell wedding dresses target women who are getting married. So, they can tailor their marketing activities around that particular niche. Similarly, the motivation for many people to buy a treadmill is to lose weight or maintain fitness, while those who engage the services of business coaches such as Brainiact most likely want to make them more robust, profitable and sustainable.

Knowing why people are buying your products can significantly help you narrow down your ideal customer. Although the motivations outlined above are more obvious, don’t be afraid to ask your customers the reason for their purchase if they are not so immediately clear in relation to what you offer.

4. Establish their purchasing triggers

For any particular product we buy, there is usually a purchasing trigger. This could be anything from the attractiveness of the packaging and the cost of the item to whether it was on a special offer or has lots of good reviews.

It is very important to know what triggers your customers into purchasing your product or service because you might be able to establish a clear pattern.

Potentially, customers might view your product as the market leader, which would mean they were after the best available option. Others might buy it because it was cheaper than your competitors or because a particular advertisement campaign you ran resonated with them.

The more you can understand what factors triggered your customer’s decision to purchase your products, the more you can tailor your content creation around them.

5. Determine who is not your ideal customer

It can be hard to work out who your ideal customer is. However, it can be very easy to determine who is not. For this reason, it is worth outlining this straight off the bat because it can start to make things clear.

Many businesses say their products are for everyone, but the sales data will tell you they are not.

For example, most 25-year-olds are not looking to move into a retirement home. At the same time, bald people are not really in the market for shampoos or conditioners. Therefore, running Facebook adverts that appear on their feeds is not likely to generate a high ROI.

If you try and make your product available to everyone, you will end up not attracting anyone. Therefore, you should try and find the people who genuinely value and require your products or services as they will be most likely to procure them.

6. Who do you want to work with

Sometimes, it’s not just about who wants what you are offering. It is about who you want to work with, particularly if you are a service provider.

The process of running your operation is usually much more efficient and enjoyable if you are working with the type of people you enjoy working with. So, make an effort to establish who that might be.

For example, a self-defence instructor might want to empower women to better deal with potentially threatening situations. Similarly, a graphic designer might want to work with small business owners who make the approval decisions themselves, as opposed to large-scale companies where the process might be more involved.