I remember when I was just starting to grow my farm business, someone asked me who my ideal customer was. At first the answer seemed obvious (couldn’t everyone be my ideal customer?) but when I tried to explain it out loud I found myself unable to articulate it. It wasn’t until I actually sat down and did the “math” that I was able to figure out exactly who my ideal customer was – and I’m so glad that I did. Knowing your ideal customers, and how they differ from your current customers, is an essential part of developing your farm business and ensuring that you’re delivering a valued product or service to an audience that will benefit from it the most.
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What is an ideal customer?
Let’s start by defining what is considered an ideal customer. As I mentioned above, your ideal customer is a customer that will get the most value from your farm’s product or service. In essence, this customer will view your farm as a one stop shop for exactly the needs they’re trying to address or problem they’re trying to solve. An ideal customer is also one who will give you the most value in return in that they will hopefully purchase from you again and again as well as recommend you to others, allowing you to further grow your customer base.
Your current vs. ideal customers
I think it’s also important to acknowledge that by working to identify your ideal customer it doesn’t make your current customer base any less important. In fact, looking more closely at your current customers is a great place to start.
If possible, categorize current customers for your farm by demographic (such as location, age, income level, family structure, etc) then see what patterns start to arise. Which customers have engaged with you the most? What are their average purchase amounts? And what demographics do they all share, if any? You’ll want to make note of these traits as you begin work on identifying your ideal customer.
You might also consider collecting more direct feedback in the form of reviews or testimonials from current customers to see areas in which your business is succeeding at meeting their needs – and ways you can potentially improve.
How to identify your ideal customer
Once you’ve looked at your current farm customers, it’s time to try and build a profile of your ideal customer. It doesn’t have to be super specific (although I’ve seen some business owners actually create an identity for this ideal customer with a name and all!) but in essence, you need to consider this ideal customer’s what, why and how.
The what can come from the work you did earlier in categorizing your current customers. What do your most active and engaged customers all have in common when it comes to age, location, occupation, income level, familial status, etc.? With that information you’ll be able to form a basic snapshot of your ideal customer’s profile.
The why takes a deeper look at the ideal customer’s motivations. What are their preferences when it comes to making purchases? Do they have certain values or life habits? What would drive this ideal customer to purchase from you? When thinking about the why you might even consider what other sorts of businesses they engage with that may align with yours.
The how considers how this ideal customer likes to receive information, or in this case, learn about and interact with your business. Are they frequently online and prefer to make purchases online? Do they use social media? Or do they prefer to discover new purchasing opportunities in person?
Once you’ve figured out the what, why and how you’ll arrive at the who, i.e your ideal customer! I know this work might seem overwhelming, but having a clear picture of who your ideal customer for your farm is will help you to build a loyal and active customer base that will support you throughout your seasons of growth.