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Tips to Identify Your Customers

Identifying Customers
By Sharon Housley

It is common knowledge that "targeting" customers will result in a higher sales conversion than non-targeted, random traffic that just happens upon your website. In order to effectively target your customers, you need to know who and where they are. Customers come in all shapes and sizes, so how do you discern which customers are the best to target?

The following are tips to identify your best customers...

1. Existing Customer Base

Get to know your existing customer base. Who is buying your software? Do you have a large concentration of existing customers in a specific vertical or market segment? If so, how can you better reach more people in that demographic. Survey existing customers, and ask them how or where they found you or your products. Ask customers to suggest places for you to advertise. Talking with existing customers can be an eye-opening experience.

2. Communicate With Customers

Learn how your customers are using your software. Create a dialogue with existing customers, and try to gain an understanding of how they are using your software to solve real-world problems. Consider how others in a similar situation can use your software to overcome similar obstacles. Use the information to build content for your website. Request profiles from customers (along with permission to publish them), and create whitepapers that describe how customers are using your software in unique or unusual ways.

3. Evaluate Competitors

Examine your competitor's websites, and determine who your competition is targeting. Where do your competitors advertise? Perhaps they have found a niche market that you have not yet tapped. If the competition posts customer whitepapers on their website, review them and consider how your software could also fill the need described, and possibly better or easier than your competitor. Use competitive intelligence to uncover markets that competitors are selling into.

4. Talk To Resellers

Resellers are often instrumental in tapping into new markets and identifying potential new markets. Develop a dialogue with your resellers. If you find a reseller with an unusual idea for extra value add-ons, consider ways you can work together to develop more sales.

5. Alerts

Set up automatic alerts to find out what niche or vertical-market blogs and forums are talking about your software products. Participate in those conversations, and offer assistance when appropriate.

6. Viral Markets

Some niches are more viral than others. Sharing resources is less common in the commercial business world, because those businesses often compete against each other. But in other areas, such as schools and public safety organizations for example, people are often very willing and eager to share information about effective solutions they've discovered. If you sell into a market that tends to be viral in nature, use this to your advantage and set up incentives for customers to refer their colleagues or other organizations to you. Happy customers will often evangelize solutions that work.

Understanding your customer demographic will allow you to target them more effectively. Most ISVs have limited advertising dollars, and a minimal amount of time available. Targeting your best customers will result in a higher return. .

About the Author:
Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll software for creating, editing, publishing RSS feeds and podcasts. In addition Sharon manages marketing for RecordForAll audio recording and editing software.


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