The most successful entrepreneurs know the right pond to cast a line in to reel in the perfect fish.
What the heck does that even mean, you ask?
Well, think of the fish as your own prospects, and your product or service as the bait. When you know exactly who to target in your marketing and sales efforts—those who truly resonate with the solutions (bait) you created to address their problems—and where exactly those people are the most plentiful, you’ll find it that much easier to reel in the right prospects, transitioning them into buyers.
After all, you can’t make a lousy attempt to market your offering to each and every school of fish out there—aka everyone. Sorry, but everyone is not your audience. If that’s the case, you’ll just be playing a never-ending game of catch and release until you find your perfect prospects. And, that’ll cost you a pretty penny (and your precious time).
Unfortunately, it’s not all fun and games when it comes to fishing for your perfect customer. Unlike Ernie from Sesame Street, it doesn’t come easy, and you can’t just call them and cross your fingers they’ll jump in your boat. I know, bummer, right?
That’s why many entrepreneurs like you don’t have the will to research his or her audience. Thus, if their prospects are made to feel like outsiders, they’ll simply go to the next person. Someone who really knows their people—what it is they’re going through because they’ve been in their shoes.
And, someone who welcomes them with open arms at each and every point of contact—from their website to their blog, a phone conversation, and more.
So, at last, I’m here today to give you the guide you need on how to identify your ideal customer for your product or service. Once you know all the details about your ideal prospect, you’ll get ahead of competitors while crafting alluring content to entice your people to bite onto your offer—hook, line, and sinker.
I know writing, however, can be even more of a time suck. Lucky for you, I have just the tool you’ve been searching for to save you some much-needed time in the copywriting process. Be sure to stick around until the end of this post to get in on the secret.
Who Is Your Ideal Customer? The Ultimate Guide You Need to Catch Them Today.
First, let’s define what exactly an “ideal customer” means.
Simply put, your ideal customer finds the products or services your company provides to be the perfect solution to their problems or needs.
In a perfect world, they’ll also help push your business in the direction you want it to go. To do this, they must be loyal; eager to buy and use your offering frequently, and likely to recommend you to people they know.
Many entrepreneurs pinpoint their ideal customer by building an ideal customer profile (ICP)—aka buyer persona or avatar. It gives you a snapshot of the most valuable prospect likely to buy. More on this later.
Okay, so why should you care about finding them?
You might be a little reluctant to define your ideal customer. It definitely seems as if you’re excluding other audiences that might potentially buy from you—a classic Gretchen Wieners “Mean Girls” moment.
So, why in the world would you want to do that? Well, focusing on the right people makes your job a heck of a lot easier for the following reasons:
- Helps develop focused, effective messaging. You’ll be familiar with the words and phrases your prospects understand the most. And, you’ll be crystal clear about the value you offer them and the benefits of working with you.
- Increases your efficiency and uses resources wisely. You’ll know exactly where you can find your people. As a result, you can select the best social media platforms to be active on, rather than trying to cover all the bases.
- Ensures product/service offerings are much more precise. You’ll know what exactly it is your prospects need, and, ultimately, want to solve their biggest headaches.
- Saves you precious time and money. You’ll attract ideal customers with less effort and avoid wasting time on prospects that don’t bring value to your company.
You following the importance of taking time to do this for your business yet? Great. Now for the fun part…
Here are the steps you need on how to identify your ideal customer (& reel them in) today.
1. Know your product or service.
Now, you’re probably thinking: duh. That’s a no brainer. But, I’m not referring to the features that come with your offering, the big picture of your financials, or even your website copy.
I’m talking about what your business does from the customer’s point of view. This is your chance to set aside time to really step into their shoes. So, go ahead and grab a pen and paper because you’ll want to be thoughtful about this.
Jot down your offering(s) and what problems of theirs you help solve. For example, if you’re a professional organizer, you aid in relieving your clients of excess chaos and clutter. That’s the feature of your services.
Thus, they’re left with an increased level in productivity, systems to maintain an organizational space, and so much more. That’s the benefit of using your services.
And the added perk is they’ll no longer need to spend their precious time searching—once again—for that misplaced or lost item before they’re out the door for work or a fun outing. Less pandemonium equals less stress and more energy to put towards things they enjoy doing.
Also, evaluate who is finding value in your offerings right this second. And, be sure to pinpoint what exactly it is that sets you apart from your competition—your unique capability, so to speak.
This must be truly, well, unique. So, do your research. Play detective and spy on your competition—in an appropriate way—by checking out their website and even giving them a call to see what they tell their prospects.
Are you a real estate agent? Being a great one is to be expected by your clients. For that reason, being the best won’t be a high-quality unique selling proposition (USP) for you.
Instead, think about the performance gap—the problem in your industry. In real estate, it might be that people are leery of allowing agents to sell their homes because they don’t believe they have a sense of urgency to quickly get their house sold.
Thus, your USP could go something like: “Our 13-step marketing plan gets your house sold in 30 days or less.”
In the end, writing all of these details out makes it that much easier for you to identify the types of customers you can best serve.
2. Outline your goals & core values.
After evaluating your business from your customer’s point of view, and identifying those who currently find value in your product or service, you can move onto outlining your goals and core values.
On the goal side of things, spend some time meditating on the following questions:
- Do you feel happy with the current type of customer you’re attracting to use your product or service?
- Is that customer pleased with you?
- If not, do you feel the need to branch out and begin targeting people who would bring you the most value?
If you answered yes to the last question, that’s okay. Just because you have clients or customers at this very moment in time, doesn’t mean they’re the model people to help propel your business to where it is you want to go.
Maybe they’re making your churn rate high. Or, you’re receiving too many complaints, from them, specifically regarding your product or service’s features. So, it’s time to change things up.
When you do that, however, be sure to really think about and outline your goals and core values. Do you want to start focusing more on startup founders over large-scale company executives? Be sure that segment of prospects most aligns with your goals and core values. As a result, you’ll be able to successfully adapt your targeting strategies.
After all, as Brian Clark with Copyblogger expresses, “You don’t just accept who you find—you choose who to attract.”
3. Ask the right questions to profile your crew.
This is important because you may think you know who your crew is, but that’s because you’re quite possibly examining them from where you’re standing.
And, let me tell you this: you are not your audience.
You’re a subject matter expert in your industry, and they aren’t. That’s why they need you. So, don’t get trapped thinking they share the same characteristics you have.
Therefore, you need to ask yourself a hefty list of questions to accurately profile your ideal people. Doing so will make it easier for you to step into your prospect’s shoes, helping you create content that advises them along their journey.
Here are some to get you started:
> Personal Details—Who Are They?
- Is this person male or female?
- How old is he/she?
- Where does he/she live?
- Is he/she married? Divorced? Single?
- Does he/she have any children? If so, how many and how old?
- What type of education does this person have?
- How does this person spend his/her day?
- What are 2 to 3 things he/she is most proud of?
- What is the most important thing in the world to them?
- What are 2 to 3 of his/her biggest fears?
- What are his/her primary goals?
> Occupation Details—What Motivates Them?
- Where does he/she work?
- What is his/her role in the company?
- How much money does he/she make?
> Communication Preferences—How Can You Reach Them?
- Where and how does he/she mostly access the Internet? (work/home, phone/tablet/computer)
- What social media platforms does he/she use?
- Where do they spend their time online when they’re not on social media? (industry forums, etc.)
- How does he/she like to consume information? Are they a reader, watcher, or listener?
- How does he/she prefer to communicate? Phone, email, direct mail, text message?
> Product Preferences—What Are They Looking For From You?
- Where is your ideal customer right now?
- Where do they want to be?
- Why do they want to be there?
- What can you sell them to get them from where they are now to where they want to be as quickly as possible?
- What is the main struggle in getting to where they want to be?
- What are 2 to 3 solutions they’ve tried that are NOT working for them? Why aren’t these solutions working?
- What alternate solutions do they have? What are the pros and cons of each one?
- If presented with your product or service, what would his/her immediate objections be?
- What features do they expect your product to have?
> Purchasing Decisions—Why Did They Choose You?
*Current customers ONLY.
- Why did he/she decide to work with you?
- How is your product or service different from competitors?
- How does your product help him/her achieve his/her goals?
Note, when answering these questions, you can do any of the following if you’re already an established business:
- Dig into your analytics—Google Analytics, your marketing automation platform, and/or CRM. This’ll help reveal the desires that led your audience to your site.
- Bring your team (no matter if it’s big or small) into the mix—customer service, marketing; you name it. If someone is involved in interacting with your customers, they can provide you with a fresh perspective on their behavior and characteristics.
- Research your social media audience—check your analytics using the built-in reporting tools on your active social media platforms. And, remember, you’re looking for more than just surface level data. Consider what your followers’ interests are and even the other people/brands they’re following. Followerwonk and Buffer are great (and FREE) analyzing tools to get you fired up.
- Build a survey to send to current and/or prospective customers—for current customers, craft some questions to send to them via your email platform in order to get to know them better. For prospective customers, you can consider adding a short and sweet popup to your website to gather even more big-time data.
And, if you haven’t released your business to the world or generated a good chunk of sales just yet? I’m giving you permission to snoop on your competitors today. Head on over to SimilarWeb to begin.
No matter what you do, though… please, please, please don’t skimp on this step. You need to take the necessary measures to ensure you’re on the right track to pinpointing your ideal customer.
4. Compile that information to map out your ideal customer profile (ICP).
Remember when I told you not to skimp on step #3? Well, that was for good reason—all because you’ll be compiling that juicy info you collected to sketch out an ideal customer profile (aka brand persona/avatar). And, your persona will only be as good as your data.
When I say, “Sketch,” however, do you get the urge to call it quits and bolt off this page? Well, good news is, you don’t have to be a highly skilled artist to tackle this step. I’m simply referring to a written composite of your ideal prospect. Cool stuff, huh?
And, I’m not going to force you to incorporate all of the details from the information collection stage. But, just enough to evoke an image of your customer while incorporating the following information:
- Personality/communication style
- Challenges and how your company can alleviate them
- Purchasing process
- Company’s elevator pitch—how you’d describe your product or service to this particular customer
Oh, and don’t forget to give your persona a name. Even though this is a fictionalized character that represents your market, naming them will only help liven things up.
If you’re lost on how to organize all this information, you don’t even have to create your ICP/buyer persona from scratch (phew!). Grab your ScriptDoll Ideal Customer Worksheet and Profile to keep it all organized.
5. Run “sanity checks” as you go to monitor & adapt.
Just because you’ve crafted a persona, doesn’t mean you won’t attract other people who stand on the outside of those specific characteristics. For that reason, it’s important to remember to conduct “sanity checks,” so to speak, on your personas—a quick and simple check to see if they’re still realistic according to your business goals and values.
After all, your personas will change as you discover more information about those who are showing you their wallets. And, this is more so true if you’re just starting out in your business as you likely created them based off of personal thoughts, feelings, and hunches.
So, don’t forget to regularly return to your customer personas and modify them (or remove them entirely) to ensure you’re targeting your ideal crew effectively. Simply ask yourself the following questions and adapt accordingly:
- Would they know they were your ideal customer simply by looking at your website?
- Would they feel your product or service was created just for them?
- How do they compare to your:
- Current customer base?
- Prospect funnel?
- Prospects who didn’t convert?
- Churned customers—those who didn’t come back?
6. Remember your hard work.
You’ve defined your ideal customer. Now what? Well, don’t let all that great insight and hard work go to waste.
Here are three ways you can strengthen your marketing efforts with those handy dandy buyer personas of yours.
- Speak their lingo. Go ahead and sprinkle buzzwords, slang; you name it into your content to really resonate with your target audience. Doing this will get them to feel an immediate connection to your brand, persuading them to move forward with becoming a customer. Sometimes, in the quest to develop your brand personas, you might even collect sound bites. These are prized possessions, as they’ll take you one step further towards making your people feel like you truly get them.
- Hang out where they are. Are they frequenting Facebook? LinkedIn? Industry forums? Specific organizations? Go there. But, don’t go if you’ll just be lurking in the background. Instead, use this as an opportunity to listen and communicate with them. You’ll most likely discover problems they need solved or questions they need answered, giving you the perfect topics to focus on for your next content pieces. As a result, you’ll be viewed as an expert in their eyes and gain some hard-earned trust.
- Audit your existing content for persona alignment. If you already have a content library on-hand, take some time to audit it through the eyes of your persona. Some pieces will perfectly appeal to them, and some won’t. For those blog posts or sales pieces that don’t connect with them, it’s time to purge or rewrite. Your choice. Just be sure to place a greater emphasis on those as ineffective content only weakens your strategy and confuses your target customers even more.
And, you’ll want to avoid making these rookie mistakes along the way.
Don’t go overboard and create too many personas. You might think you’re doing your company and team a favor, but really, you’ll just muddy the waters even more when it comes to figuring out whom you’re targeting/marketing to. So, begin with a core persona and work your way up from there. Once you’ve amassed enough data, and evaluated your most successful customers, you’ll have a clearer picture of where one persona ends and another begins.
Don’t just think about positive personas. Use your personas to consider the people you don’t want to do business with. Maybe they cost too much money to acquire, they don’t have the budget to pay for your product or service, or they don’t match up with your goals or core values. For starters, interview those who have a low satisfaction score or didn’t return, possibly indicating they weren’t a fit for your company in the first place.
Don’t consider personas to be an individual person. They’re interpretations of your ideal customers—not real people. Avoid gathering characteristics, challenges, goals, etc. of one person in particular you feel best fits the mold. Instead, pull data from multiple prospects or customers to identify the characteristics that best make up a group to craft your brand persona.
Don’t view personas as being too difficult for you to develop. It’s not as mammoth of a job as some make it out to be. It really doesn’t take up that much time. You can always come back and add to them once you collect more data. Always remember, your company can benefit from investing time into creating them now—helping you down the road with your content creation, SEO, and ultimately, your overall growth.
Oh, plus, I’ll leave you with these champion examples to get your persona juices flowing.
When looking for top examples to copy, who better to consult than the Buyer Persona Institute? This multi-tab persona profile definitely takes things up a notch (or two), but it does all the right things—focusing on the customer’s wants, needs, and pain points.
Shopify’s sample buyer persona definitely illustrates that the age old wisdom—”know your customer!”—still rings true to this day. Not only does the brand hit the nail on the head with demographic information, but it also highlights the concerns and motivations customers like him have.
It’s not enough anymore for a brand persona to be highly detailed. It must also be well designed and look professional, ensuring it can be scanned rather quickly to absorb comprehensive information. Brightspark Social Media accomplishes this rather well.
Ready to reach your ideal customers with content that sells, but feeling lost when attempting to master the writing process?
Yup, I understand 110%. I was feeling that way too until I found the solution to alleviating my biggest headaches. Meet your new copywriting companion: ScriptDoll.
It’s a sales copy engine dedicated to assisting you with composing persuasive sales content in minutes. Once you create your product portfolio and answer a handful of painless questions about your product, target audience, and more, ScriptDoll drops those answers into thoughtfully crafted content scripts that sell—sales letters, email sequences, you name it.
Here’s why ScriptDoll is so beneficial to entrepreneurs like you:
- Frees up your time to put focus towards more productive tasks—simply complete your product portfolio, answer a handful of painless questions regarding your target audience, product details, features and benefits, and more, and ScriptDoll turns your answers into attractive content in a matter of minutes, reeling in your ideal customers.
- Keeps your content fresh with an ever-growing, extensive library of templates—new templates are added on a monthly basis, from sales letters to video sales scripts, email sequences, and much more. You’ll avoid putting your audience into a zombie state-of-mind, no matter your content needs, steering clear of sharing the same thing over and over again.
- Saves you some serious moola by keeping your copywriting in-house—there’s no need to drop loads of money on outsourcing your writing tasks to copywriters. And, you can also avoid investing hours of your time trying to improve your skills in a copywriting course. That’s because ScriptDoll crafts its effective templates thanks to its connections with champion copywriters around the world!
- Decreases your workload to almost nothing with ready-made product profiles—are you a puppy trainer, dentist, plastic surgeon or graphic designer? If so, you’re in luck because your product profile has already been completed for you. There are many more waiting to be used within the software engine, making it that much easier to push out content that converts.
Get The Bait You Need to Reel In Your Perfect Customer—Join ScriptDoll Now for Copy That Sells!
As Saskia Gregory, writer and success coach, says, “Defining your target market or niche is the single most important business decision you can make as an entrepreneur.” And, luckily, some of the heavy lifting was done for you here today. So, go ahead and put all this information to good use so you can start fishing in the right pond for your ideal customers to take your business to the next level.
Plus, you’re finally looped in on a tool that can help save you time during the writing process.
Entrepreneurs like you are raving about ScriptDoll—relieving them from the struggles of writer’s block while mixing in details about their target audience to create alluring content with little to no effort.
We hope you’ll join them and look forward to you getting the results you’ve been searching for. They’re ready and waiting for you.
How have you defined your ideal customer? Drop us a line in the comments section below. We’d love to hear what’s worked for you in the past or what you’re excited to try next while scouting out your perfect prospect.
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