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3 Steps to Determining Your Ideal Customer Profile

Have you ever been to the carnival?  One of my favorite games there is the shooting target game where ducks, bullseyes, and other shapes travel horizontally at different speeds and you shoot to tip them over for points.

Let me be clear.  I don’t like to play it, I like to watch people play it.

target-ideal-customersWhat’s interesting to me is the different strategies people use on the game.  One person may shoot all of the red ones because they are more visible to them.  Another person may shoot all of the ducks because they are bigger.  All the while they are moving their gun and refocusing at a new target traveling at a new speed and barely hitting any.

But the players I see score the most points are the ones that fix their gun to point in a certain location and wait for the big point targets to appear in their scope.  If they miss, it’s a very subtle adjustment they need to make before the next perfect target appears.

This analogy applies to the business world too.

Too often, business “shoot” at anything and everything hoping to land a new customer.  Unfortunately, businesses forget that they can’t be everything to everybody — and what happens, as a result, is customers expectations are not met and you end up serving customers you aren’t best equipped to serve.

The key to success is to determine your ideal customer profile.  Here are 3 quick steps to getting to an ideal customer you would be excited to focus on.

Step One: Determine the ideal problem you solve

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This step is the first because it is the most critical.  Most of us, in our business, can solve a lot of problems for clients.  But, to be frank, that does not mean we should.  Here is a rule of thumb to help you know the ones to focus on:

  • Do I enjoy solving the problem? No reason to market something you DON’T enjoy doing.
  • Do customers tell me I’m good at solving the problem? This is important for many reasons.
  • Do I make lots of money solving the problem? Hey, we don’t work for free.  You need to optimize your time and resources to make the most you can.

When you find a problem you solve that hits all three targets… then you’ve hit a bullseye.

Step Two: Define Your “Why”

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Think about the companies you love to be a customer of and you will probably recognize that you identify their “why”.  A “why” is simply put, why a company does what they do.  Those companies that define it best, do so in a way that identifies with their target audience in a way that creates an emotional tie.

Some of the biggest and best companies have done this better than most.  Here is a recent blog post we wrote to help you determine your “why”

Step Three: Establish Your Target Persona

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Once you have defined the ideal problem you solve, and you have articulated your “why”, it’s time to establish your buyer’s persona.  A persona is a semi-fictitious representation of your perfect client.  It’s important to do this because all of your marketing materials become more effective when they are specifically written just for this person.

Here are some elements of a well-written buyer’s persona.

  • Background / Demographics – age, gender, education, etc.
  • Unique Identifiers – things like owning a home, bought a boat, etc.
  • Common Objections – says things like “so-and-so doesn’t work”, or “I hate ________ . “
  • Real Quotes They Say – write down phrases you would hear from them.
  • Where They Get Their Info – internet, friends, business groups, etc.
  • What Do They Think – talk about what’s in their head
  • How Do They Feel – talk about their emotional side
  • Where Do They Go – talk about what’s important to them

There certainly is more to consider, but these represent a great start.  When you properly document this, you can then give this information to your graphic designer, copywriter, web developer, marketing company, etc. and tell them that all marketing materials need to be seen as given to this person.

One Thing NOT to Do.

Notice that this whole article does not mention a company.  Do NOT make your persona about a company.  The reason is that companies don’t have problems — only PEOPLE have problems.  Therefore, companies don’t hire people to solve problems.  PEOPLE in those companies hire.  It’s an important distinction.

Download Our FREE Buyer’s Persona Template

Here’s something that will speed up the process.  Download our free buyer’s persona template.  It will help you to quickly document your thoughts in a format you can share.

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