5 types of customers and how to convert them

Annisha Lashand

Annisha Lashand

Annisha is a writer and content marketer based in Toronto. She's produced SEO optimized work for both the B2B and B2C space, focusing on real-estate, branding, entrepreneurship, and travel. When she's not producing content for businesses, you can find Annisha writing poetry on her Instagram @annishalashand.

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Unlike Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates, it’s possible to know exactly what you’re going to get with your customers — at least, when it comes to getting a sale. Not all customers convert the same way. Some need to be convinced by research. Others with discounts. Others by social proof. It’s up to you to use the right methods throughout the customer journey to capture their attention. 

Let’s go over the most common types of customers and the best ways to convert them.

The discount detective

This person is on the hunt for the best bargain. They aren’t necessarily interested in your sparkly features or winning customer service; they just want to make a purchase and be on their way. They are experts at price comparing and probably use all sorts of tools to help them (like Honey).

Due to their thrifty nature—too expensive, or just right—these folks can be tricky to convert. If they don’t like your price, they’ll bounce on over to a competitor. But like all customers, marketers can appeal to their bargain-hunting tendencies to capture their interest and convert them. 

How to convert them

The most effective way to convert these discount kings and queens is to offer a deal the first time they interact with your business.  Have you ever noticed those “Spin the Wheel” pop-ups?  In exchange for an email address, you can spin at a chance for a discount.  Interactive apps that provide the customer with the “deal” they’re searching for – and you with their email address – can be a win-win.  A simple website pop-up offering a small discount in exchange for a customer’s email is another effective way to hook the Discount Detective.  If they don’t convert right away, you will be able to maintain your connection through future offers.

Alternatively, offering a free demo, trial, or consultation can entice the Discount Detective to engage. At the very least, you’ve captured their attention (and once again, probably email). Free trials can convert up to a whopping 50%

Note: Whether or not the Discount Detectives make good long-term customers is… debatable. They’re fickle by nature, and will only stay if you’re offering them crazy-high value. When we worked with a food delivery company, we found that their high customer abandon rate was due to the number of free trials they were offering; these customers would use the discounts and then leave.

The window shopper

This is the customer who likes to browse passively. If you were to intercept them at a store, they’d brush you off with a, “Thanks, I’m just looking,” and you’d compliment their shoes and let them carry on. The window shopper isn’t exactly sure what they’re looking for yet. It’s up to you to tell them what they need and why. 

How to convert them

If you have a strong brand identity, with compelling messaging and values that make a lasting impression, you’ll stand out in the mind of a browser. Brand experience is a powerful thing. It allows you to make an emotional connection with a passive browser.  

Once they’re hooked, it’s time to deliver the goods. Make your message solution-focused. Your job is to reveal that secret pain they didn’t even know they had and offer your solution.

Just check out PB-JIFE as a great example.  Solving all your peanut butter woes, their knives are extra long, extra strong, and boast a unique, curved bottom to make scraping jars easy-peasy.  Who knew your peanut-buttery knuckles needed this so badly?

The researcher

Behold, the Nancy Drew of customers. This human does extensive research before converting— they read reviews, blogs, expert articles, peel through your unique features, try your demos, get on your initial consultation calls, and ask Google all the hard questions about your business. 

How to convert them

It can be a tough sell, but the best way to convert The Researcher is by putting information about your business front and center. Don’t hide anything. Don’t make it hard for them to find answers to their burning questions. Make it easy for them to contact someone from your business to request further information. Create content and very clear FAQs that lay out everything about your business, services, products, and industry. Even if they aren’t researching your company directly, you may pop up as an answer in search engine queries and pique their interest. 

The skeptic

This person has had a few bad business breakups and walks around a little salty. They don’t trust marketers and are skeptical of how they’re being advertised to. The skeptic either looks past the message you market or directly attacks it (look no further than Reddit ads that have comments enabled) and goes directly to the source for answers: your customers. They look carefully for social proof that ensures the experience you’re marketing is true to reality from customers who’ve already converted. 

Think of the Skeptic as a Researcher who’s much tougher to crack. Don’t overlook these guys – 92% of consumers will read online testimonials and reviews first when considering a purchase. Because they’re most skeptical of new brands, if you win this customer over, they’ll be surprisingly loyal.

How to convert them

The best way to convert the skeptic is by letting them see behind the curtain. They don’t appreciate feeling patronized and are much too clever to fall for appearances.  They’re looking for substance. Collect and display your customer reviews and testimonials with pride! Encourage your customers to write reviews of their experience with your business on Google, Yelp, social media, and more. You might even want to consider using a reviewing system like G2 Crowd, or Trustpilot to collect and display reviews on your website. Create a sense of transparency around your brand and values, and use calls to action (CTAs) that drive contact or sign-ups below those reviews and testimonials wherever possible. 

The return buyer

Return customers have already chosen your brand. Don’t miss this opportunity to turn them into “Repeat Customers,” your most loyal followers, who will choose you every time. The trick is not only understanding what went right (or wrong) the first time but also making them feel special and keeping them engaged.

How to convert them

The best way to convert a returning customer is by getting feedback on their customer experience and maintaining communication with them through various marketing channels, like newsletters and social media. The key is to stay top of mind and not get drowned out by new kids on the block and old competitors. Have a new product release or service offering? Let them know through email and social media. You might even want to offer exclusive deals and discounts, or advanced notice on sales and promotions to customers who’ve already purchased from you. This will make them feel valued and increase their sense of loyalty with your brand.  

Phew! So many customers,  so many ways to convert them! Remember, the most important thing to do is maintain consistent and transparent communication with your customers through your brand messaging, email marketing, content, and social media platforms. Consider what type of customer you are, and how you are usually converted into a buyer. Chances are, you’re a combination of at least two of these, which is why it’s so important to take on a diverse approach to conversion rate optimization. 

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