According to Small Biz Trends, if your answer is “everyone” keep reading. Businesses with too large a target market (i.e. every household in America) struggle to get any customers at all, and here’s why: not understanding who your customer really is keeps you from being able to better serve that customer.
So don’t pick petals and go find your ideal customer.
If you’ve never completed an exercise on identifying your ideal customer, I encourage you to do one now. Grab a notebook or start typing. Answer the questions fully, and get creative if you’re not sure of the answers. The goal is to paint a picture of who your ideal customer is.
You’ll likely have other types of customers, but focus on the ones that you enjoy serving, who needs your service, who can afford them and who you want more of:
Who is my ideal customer in terms of age, gender, education, location?
What other sorts of products/services do they buy that relate to mine?
If you’re B2B, what role does your customer have in their company?
Where do they get their information about brands? Online? Print? Television? Friends?
How did they find your company?
What’s important to them?
What do they think of the value of your product?
Next, model your ideal client profile on an actual client. Consider what makes this customer perfect in your mind. You can physically draw a person or cut images and words from a magazine to visually define this person. When you’re done, your profile may be similar to this example:
“My ideal client is a male small business owner. His budget is small, but not tiny, and he understands the value of marketing, though he may not have the skills or time to work on it himself. He also invests in an accountant, as well as web-based sales software. He reads small business blogs (which is how he found my company). He values customer relationships and trust over just getting more web traffic. He finds my prices a little high, but knows that the investment is worthwhile”.
You don’t need to guess. Take your best customers and ask them to fill out a survey or call them on the phone and ask these questions. Feedback and surveys are excellent tools to gather this data and valued customers won’t feel imposed upon, they will actually appreciate the opportunity to help.
Here are 3 steps to get started:
Step #1: Create your ICP.
The point of this exercise is to identify who you are marketing to, who is going to buy your service, your product or donate to your organization and than to make sure that all your marketing targets this specific type of customer. Again, if your branding is too generic, and you’re trying to be all things to all people, you’ll fail. Zero in on writing your messaging directly to this ideal customer, and you’ll find that you instantly attract more of them.
Step #2: Shed the unwanted client.
Look at your least favorite clients and customers from the past year and identify the common traits between them – did they all say the same thing, think the same way, have the same skill level, work in the same industry, etc. Put together a “Red Flag” profile, the opposite of an ideal client profile, to help you identify the red flags of your less-than-ideal clients before they sign a contract. If one of your red flags show up in the sales process, let them go..
Step #3: Understand what your ideal client needs to make the decision to hire you or buy from you.
By now you know who your ICP is, When researching your ideal client, find out what is most important to them when making the decision to buy. Do they need it fast, easy, cheap, in-depth, flexible, available at odd hours? Do they need to see examples, read testimonials, see videos? By knowing what is most important to them in the decision-making process, you can be sure to include those elements on your website, in your irresistible opt-in offer, on your sales page, and in the sales conversation.
Once you paint the picture of your target client, your messaging will come naturally.
Businesses with too large a target market (i.e. every household in America) struggle to get any customers at all, and here’s why: not understanding who your customer really is keeps you from being able to better serve that customer