How to Understand Your Customer and Improve Your Small Business

Understanding your customers is the cornerstone of branding, marketing, sales, and practically every aspect of running your business. Without a deep understanding of your customers' needs, preferences, and pain points, it's impossible to create a strong brand that resonates with them. 

Understanding your custoemrs, helps tell you where to sell, how to sell, how to sound and how to look. For example, let's say you where marketing on Facebook because you already had an account for it, but if none of your users where no on facebook but twitter, this would mean your message would never get infant of the right people, this results in wasted time and money. Knowing where your audience and mean the difference from making money and closing your business down.

The crux of any good digital marketing campaign is to identify the specific characteristics of your ideal customers, including geographic, demographic, and psychographic variables.

The more you know about your audience, the more powerful your marketing efforts will become both in the digital and printed space. At some point, whether it was in a Marketing 101 course you took or from self-learning, you’ve probably heard that getting to know your audience is incredibly important.Aside from the general demographics, do you really know your users?

Aside from the general demographics, do you really know your users?

  • Personality traits.
  • Interests.
  • Values.
  • Opinions.
  • What are they like?
  • Who/what are their influences? What are their values?
  • What are there needs? What are their questions?
  • What are their challenges and pain points? What would be a WIN for them?
  • What types of content do they consume? Where do they consume content?

Knowing all of this will help you:

  • Come up with an accurate list of topics and keywords to target.
  • Set up your pages to convert more effectively.
  • Create a great user experience.
  • Optimise your content.
  • Craft the perfect message to cause your readers to take action.
  • Find key influencers in your market.

So how do you understand and know your audience? Below is a step-by-step approach to help you understand this and to create a successful digital marketing campaign.

An image of a person thinking about the type of customers the business may have

Step 1: Conduct Market Research

The goal of market research is to get as many details as possible about the group you’re targeting, which you can later to build personas. There are many ways you can gather this information, including the following five methods.

Step 2: Reach Out to Other People

No matter if you’re doing this solo, in a small team of part of a department, it helps to talk to people outside of the group your working in, may this be friends, other departments or a friend on facebook. Take advantage of the wealth of information that exists among other people around you, they may have a different perspective on the type of customers and who they are.

Step 3: Gather Data Using Tools

Another way to gather information if, with the use of tools to help you do this, These tools range in price, but can provide assist you in building a foundation of information, ranging from basic demographic data to specific habits and interests.


An image of the site YouGov

YouGov Profile:

Good For: Identifying a broad image of your target advance

This site has a free and paid version, the free version gives you some information and a sketch about your target audience, you can also gather information from the competitor companies to to to help build and give information on them. To get the right data, you need to identify a brand, activity, book, movie, celebrity, etc. that you know aligns with your audience


An image of the website SimilarWeb


Good For Identifying competitor audiences, Researching audience behavior

This site also has a free and paid version, if your competitors or other companies you know who might have smaller target audience have a website,  you place it into this site and it gives you a lot of information such as, traffic location, sources, how they are getting there, what social media channels, Interests and much more.

A person working on some marketing infomation

Step 5: Research Social Networks

If you ever wanted to read your customers’ minds, social media is the closest you will get. This concept is known as social listening. It consists of monitoring the various social networks to discover what is being said about your brand, your competitors, and topics relevant to your business.

You can even identify trends in your audience’s interests and problems.

Also, you can determine what social networks your target audience is the most active on, as well as the influences in that space. Instead of asking your audience questions, you can listen to their social conversations and determine what type of content will be the most valuable and relevant to them.

If you are all-ready useing social media with your brand, you can use the “Analytics” section to learn about the target audience you all ready have and learn more about them and what social media channel and working better for you. (You can also gather Analytics data from any ads you run on those sites swell.)



Instagram (Via the app, in order to see the analytic information you need to convert your profile to a business account to view that accounts “Insight” (learn more:

People in a interview setting

An interview is a great way to understand your target audience on a more personal level.

Because interviews are a time-consuming process, the population you research will be smaller. Generally, you will aim for 10 to 20 interviews. One of the simplest ways to go about qualitative research is to conduct interviews with several existing customers and prospects. The questions should be prepared in advance and designed in such a way that they reveal the respondents:

  • Personality traits.
  • Buying preferences.
  • Interests.
  • Motivations.

The interview itself should be treated as a conversation. There should be a lot of listening to your end.

This Interview can be done in person, email or online. You can either send them questions via a message or have a more interactive and profession survey with free online tools such as the following tools:

Survey monkey:


People building a robot

Step 6: Build Your Personas

Following the steps above, you should now have collected detailed information about your target audience (Don’t worry if the information you have at the moment is not much, this can be built over time) Now you can start to build buyer personas. The reason why we do this is that marketers who use personas achieve 73 percent higher conversions.

A persona isn’t a simple buyer profile. A buyer persona is a representation of your ideal customer, based on market research and actual data about your existing customer base.

Step 1, helps you understand and put together the information about them, where they are, what platforms they are on, and more. Step 2 will help you create personas that offer a voice from your ideal target customers.

Below are some tips to help you build personas for your digital marketing campaign.

Step 7: Identify All the Personas You’re Targeting

Once you have finished with your market research, you may (or may not) have identified more than one buyer persona. That’s OK. In fact, it’s pretty common. All of these personas should describe different target customers. You will tailor your content and SEO efforts to connect with each of these customer segments.

For example, if you identified millennial's as one of your buyer personas, you will develop a content marketing strategy that speaks directly to them. You will also consider what words they use and the websites they frequent.

A person typing on a type writer

Step 8: Write a Detailed Description of Each Persona

It isn’t enough to jot down a “type” of a persona you have identified. Instead, you want to describe, in detail, each one.

You would include basic demographic data, but also other pertinent information, such as the person:

  • Interests.
  • Pain points.
  • Priorities.
  • Goals.
  • Concerns.
  • Personality traits.

A megaphone

Step 9: Put Personas Into Action

Once you create personas, you should regularly refer back to them when you are working on any facet of digital marketing, including SEO, content development, and social media marketing.

For instance, if you are thinking about redesigning your website, creating a social media strategy, or targeting new keywords, refer to your personas. View them as your real customers and focus on how you can best connect with them. You should also map your content to the various personas you identified.

Now you should have a good understanding of your target audience, remember this does not stop here, as you grow your target audience will grow with you and it may change as you evolve.

Before we head off though!

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