Forget everything you think you know about your clients.
You may believe that you know them already. Female, aged between 35 and 44, small business owners, married, two kids.
Demographic information won't get you very far. Nor is it instrumental in establishing your competitive advantage. There is a better way to profile your ideal client.
To get ahead of your competitors and create emotional connections with your customers, you need to understand them better. The customer profile format can vary, you may hear the term buyer persona or user personas, which essentially mean the same thing. Whilst there is no hard and fast way to approach this, the customer profile format and approach I am about to share with you works...
You need to know how they think, what they feel, hear, and what they say and do.
What are their pains and problems with what you do? And how does your offering solve or fix that pain/problem?
What makes your offering better than the competitors?
Don't worry if you don't know the answers yet. Digging deep into your ideal customer using the information and steps presented here will help.
Your business has two faces, much like a coin.
You have the side only you see, the inside face. And the side your customer sees the outside face.
As a busy entrepreneur, you spend most of your time concerned with the inside face of your business.
Make this process better. Improve cash flow, fix this, deal with that.
Too little time is spent on the most prominent face of your business. The one your customers actually see.
Whether you like it or not, as an entrepreneur you are a marketer. If you don't make sales you have no business, right?
There will be fires to put out in your business every day. And they will consume you if you let them.
I would challenge you to dedicate some time to take a deep dive into who your ideal customer is.
Figure them out.
What makes them tick? What keeps them awake at night? Create a profile.
Profile, avatar, persona. These terms are interchangeable. They are just marketing speak for a typical ideal customer. The most profitable. The kind that you would like to attract more of into your business.
With this information, it becomes easy to make the customer-facing side of your business attractive to the people you want to attract.
Once you have clarity, many internal problems will resolve themselves.
Leads and sales will flow more freely into the business.
So exactly how do you get this clarity?
There are many ways to skin a cat. One way I like to create a profile is using an empathy map.
An empathy map is a brilliant method of profiling your ideal customer.
The empathy map helps us to understand the emotional drivers behind a decision to buy. It is much better than simple demographic and lifestyle profiling.
It is these deeper motivations that will give you the best insights into how your brand can appeal to your audience.
I discuss this in more detail in a previous post Uncovering The Real Reason People Buy From You.
The empathy map places our focus on what our customer is thinking and feeling, what they hear and see, and what they say and do related to our product or service.
This gives us a much rounder view of who they are and what makes them tick.
Start by giving your character a name and paint a picture with some basic demographic information.
Use your existing customer data if available. If not, a great tool is Facebook Audience Insights. It provides an excellent starting point for exploring potential demographic segments.
If you have an existing business, start by looking at the most profitable customers. You will usually find the 80/20 rule at play. For instance, 80% of your sales will come from 20% of your customers (see Perry Marshall's Book 80/20 Sales and Marketing).
It makes sense to focus on the customers who make up the lion's share of your profits. You want to attract more of these kinds of customers into your business. Wouldn't you agree?
Here is an example that I use in my marketing coaching business.
Completed customer profile worksheet for BizOwner Jack
My example starts something like this...
Biz Owner Jack is 46, married with three children. He runs a small business that he hand-built himself. He is intelligent. Business savvy and excellent at communicating with the people around him. He spends much of his days on the phone and his laptop, coordinating, building relationships, and nurturing his business.
Once we have a general picture of Jack, we can think about how our coaching and mentoring programs might fit into his world.
What are Biz Owner Jack's pains and frustrations?
Jack can't afford in-house marketing expertise, so he uses external marketing agencies and consultants.
His experiences have been very hit-and-miss over the years.
He found people he thought he could trust in the past, and they have over-promised and under-delivered. For example, he spent $4,000 having his website rebuilt by what he judged to be a reputable web design agency. Six months later, a beautiful website, no business.
He needs more leads and sales coming in regularly.
Whatever he tries doesn't work. Boosting Facebook posts. Twitter ads. Feels like money down the drain.
He is frustrated because he knows given time he could figure this out himself. He instinctively knows what his customers want. He built this business himself. He knows his stuff.
Time is Jack's nemesis.
Jack spends too many hours in the office. He desperately wants to get his business to where he can escape for odd days to be with his family.
Jack wants time freedom. Freedom to travel. Freedom to pursue his lifelong love of photography.
Marketing isn't Jack's strong suit. People are Jack's strength.
If only he had a list of the marketing things he should be doing and in what order. Or a guide to point him in the right direction. He could execute most of the steps himself.
Think and Feel
Jack doesn't want to become a marketing expert. He just wants to know enough to achieve his ambitions.
He acts on instincts. Trusts his gut. Feels frustrated at people who operate without integrity and expects results.
He knows he can make a big difference in his business with the right strategies and tactics. But he doesn't know how or what to execute to get more leads and sales.
With marketing, the potential excites him, but he feels overwhelmed and frustrated as he doesn't have the time or skills to execute.
Jack's wife says they never spend enough quality time together anymore.
He hears stories at trade shows of competitor successes on social media.
Jack sees his laptop screen. His competitors.
He reads about leveraging digital marketing to get more leads and sales but doesn't know how it applies to his business.
Say and Do
Buys the latest tools and courses that promise to fulfill his need for more leads and sales. But doesn't have the time or the skills to execute in his business so sees minimal results.
Looks for external help but is skeptical.
Pains (before using my coaching service)
- Needs more leads and sales.
GAINS (after using my coaching services)
- Experienced guidance.
- Practical help and accountability.
- Online system to provide a flow of leads and sales.
Picturing your target in your mind will make your communications more potent. They will resonate. They will get better engagement and better results.
Create an empathy map for your ideal client. If you have more than one distinct area of your business, create a profile for each one.
When completing your customer profile, you can use a variety of sources. Existing customer data. Talk and ask questions to past and present clients.
Brainstorm the process with other team members (if you have them). Take your best guess if you don't.
Remember, this is a fluid process. Nothing is set in stone. But better to have a handle on your ideal customer rather than nothing at all.
Once you have clarity on your target audience, you can use the insights to create lead magnets to solve their pain.
Create messages that speak to your 'Jack' directly. Resonate emotionally with what he/she is feeling. And convert more of your website visitors into leads and customers. Check out this post on How to Market Yourself as a Coach and How to start an online coaching business.
Since Jack is pressed for time and keen to take action, I have created a list of 10 Steps To More Leads and Sales. See how it relates to the profile? Download the checklist and apply the steps in your business.
I hope you now have the confidence to profile your ideal customer for your business. I created a worksheet that you can download to help you create your ideal client profiles.
Once you have the clarity, you can create messages that resonate and drive action.