You’ve likely heard the term Ideal Customer and maybe even worked on determining who your Ideal Customer is, but how well do you know them? Is it enough, or should you dig deeper so that your results are better?
We almost can’t know our Ideal Customer too well. I know it may seem silly, but the truth is, the more time you spend getting to know them, understanding them, talking to them, and learning about them, the better your business will do.
One of the biggest mistakes I see is that people don’t truly know their Ideal Customer, or they think they do, but what they know is only superficial information that doesn’t help them enough.
Can you describe your Ideal Customer well enough that someone would say, “Oh, that’s me!”?
Could you describe them with almost as much detail as you’d describe your best friend?
If not, you probably want to get to know them a bit better.
I know this can feel silly, but the reality is the more time and energy you invest here, the better the results will be for everything you do from a business and marketing perspective.
So, let’s start at the beginning:
What if you’re reading this and thinking, I have NO idea about any of this, or I’m just starting, and I don’t have an Ideal Customer yet?
You can use demographic and psychographic research to help with some of this. You’ll also refine your Ideal Customer as you learn more.
Sometimes, when we’re just starting, our Ideal Customer is us a few years back before we learned how to do what we now offer.
Think back to that timeframe. What did you need to know to move from where you were to where you are now?
Now, start answering some more questions:
What you love and hate doing may help you identify what you want to offer, who you want to work with, or, more importantly, what you don’t want to do or who you don’t want to work with. You want to ensure you build a business that serves people you want to work with, doing things you love to do, right? No one wants to end up working with customers who they can’t stand.
If you’ve been in business for a while or did something related to your business in your corporate career, then you might be able to base your Ideal Customer on a client you worked with in the past or someone you knew with this same problem.
In my experience, there is nothing more powerful than interviewing your Ideal Customer and asking them first-hand about their needs, wants pain points, and experience to date. They will tell you what they’ve tried and what they haven’t tried (and why). They’ll let you know what worked and didn’t (and why).
If you can interview a potential Ideal Customer (or five!), you’ll learn SO MUCH. Ask them about their experiences with the products or services you offer.
Find out who they are and what they want (this may not be what you think they need), and make sure what you want to create is something they want to buy. See if they’d pay money for the items you want to sell.
Determine if you want to work with this person and solve the issues they want to have solved.
Your Ideal Customer will be a combination of the people you help the most.
Take the information you’ve gathered about your Ideal Customer and create a persona for them. Could you bring them to life (in your mind)?
Choose a picture that represents your Ideal Customer. Give them a name, age, marital status, etc. Create a persona representing your Ideal Customer, and before you develop a product or service, ask yourself, “Does my Ideal Customer want this?”
Our news writing instructor made us create an Ideal Customer persona for our class in college, and her name was Mabel. We had to ask, “Does Mabel care about this story?” before pitching our story to the class. We didn't produce the story if we couldn’t collectively agree that it would matter to Mabel. So, pick your Ideal Customer’s name and ask yourself, “Does Mabel care about this?” Does it help her? Does she want to buy this?
By spending time better understanding your Mabel, your marketing efforts will work better because you’ll know what to create and how to help.