Usually people tilt their head when I ask, “Who is your ideal customer?” Most of the time, they’ve never given it that much thought.
“Anybody with money” or “local businesses” are the most common responses. The problem is, everybody wants to attract those groups.
Getting clear about your ideal customer means you’ll be better able to:
• Figure out where and how to reach them online
• Write much better content for your website
• Adjust your offerings as necessary
• Position your business and differentiate
• Have a better chance of being found, heard, and visible to the right people
So how do you get clear about who your customer is?
When you stop trying to speak to everyone and anyone and start speaking directly to only your most valuable customers — they’ll notice. Customers have so many choices these days, it’s dizzying. When they land on your site and you seem to be speaking directly to their concerns (not everyone’s) — you get them, you really get them — your competitors who are speaking to just anyone and everyone don’t stand a chance.
“Who is your target customer?” seems like an easy question, it’s actually a big, hard, unpleasant question. So people push it to the side: “I’ll answer that later.”
Sometimes who you think your target customer is isn’t in alignment with your business goals.
Sometimes you’re afraid to define it because you’re scared you’ll alienate current or potential customers who have cash-money to spend.
I recommend this exercise: spend some time brainstorming all of the qualities your ideal customer possesses. Don’t overthink it, just let your imagination run wild and write it down. Here are some example questions to get you started:
- How does your ideal customer feel when they work with you or buy your product?
- How do they react when you give them great service?
- How do they make you feel?
- What are they like as people?
- What are their problems, pains, and struggles?
- What’s important to them? What are their core values? What do they believe in?
- What do they do on the weekends?
You can also approach it from the other angle too: My ideal customer is not ______. My ideal client never ____.
Or, might list the qualities of all your favorite clients and look for patterns. For me, I realized that all of my most rewarding client experiences were with people who were engaged, organized, high-achieving, and discerning. I realized that these are qualities of entrepreneurs who have ‘skin in the game’, or professionals who are highly-invested in a higher cause (i.e. non-profits, green energy, etc.).
Creating a Customer Persona
Sometimes your target customer is already defined and there’s no way to niche down. This is when a customer persona can be extremely helpful. In a nutshell, it’s a fictional customer who you assign traits and characteristics to that will help you craft your message to just one person.
Why it’s useful: When you create your website or advertising copy, or even when you prepare a video script, your message will be more approachable, conversational, relevant and much easier to write.
(By the way, this is an extremely helpful exercise even when you’re able to focus on a specific niche, too.)
There are many examples of customer persona templates on the web, customer persona I created for my clients. Feel free to download — no email sign up required, just click to open! — and use for your own planning.