4 Steps to Identifying the Right Customer for Your Business

The success of everything you do for your business online — creating a website, using search engine marketing or social media marketing, emailing special offers, etc. — hinges on one thing: pinpointing who your ideal customer is, and tailoring everything you do specifically to that customer.

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STEP ONE:

The first step in identifying your ideal customer is making sure you’re thinking of the right person. At a minimum, your ideal customer will:

  • have a problem your product or service can solve
  • have the means to buy/use your product or service
  • have the potential to become engaged with your product or service (if you want repeat business)

The more narrowly you can define that customer, the less money and time you will waste casting a wide net. If you can’t aim for your ideal customer, then what’s the point in aiming at all?

STEP TWO:

Use this worksheet to drill down into who it is you want to come knocking at your (digital) door:

1) What is your product/service? Define it from the customer’s point of view, not yours. How does it solve a problem for a customer, or improve their life?

2) Who do you currently think your audience(s) is/are? (Hang onto this thought, and see if it changes once you’re done with the process!)

3) Let’s get specific! What is your ideal customer’s…

  • gender?
  • age?
  • life stage?
  • profession?
  • local? virtual? both?
  • income level?
  • family configuration?
  • education level?
  • interests?
  • urban or outdoorsy?
  • active & knowledgeable online?
  • religion/general spirituality (what do they care about?)?
  • ethnicity?
  • tastes (news sources, political affiliations, music/book tastes, favorite foods, car, exercising…)?
  • pain points?
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STEP THREE:

Now you have the information you need to create your customer avatar. This isn’t just a person, it’s a story, because at its heart all good marketing is storytelling. “He who tells, sells,” is a marketing mantra for good reason!

Here’s an avatar for a wine retailer:

Perry is a 55-year-old professional with a household income of $150,000. He’s married with adult children and lives in the suburbs. He goes to high-end wine tastings and spends $10,000-$15,000 annually on wine. He’s looking for wines that are unusual, please his palate, and that convey status.

If you have more than one type of ideal customer, you need different customer avatars for each type. For example, the wine merchant might also have this customer avatar:

Roger is a single 28-year-old urban professional with an income of $100,000; he spends $5,000-$10,000 annually on wine, not including yearly vacation travel to vineyards. Tasting and drinking wine is a social activity for him and he enjoys being the first in his crowd to discover a “new” vintage or special wine.

Now that you have your avatar, you need to learn more about them. It won’t help you reach Perry if you’re using Facebook and he spends his social media time on LinkedIn or Instagram. So let’s look at a few more specifics:

1. Where does your avatar get their information?

2. What has to happen in your avatar’s life for them to buy your product or engage with your service?

3. Do they share your brand’s values?

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STEP FOUR:

All of the above this takes some time to do — usually days or even weeks to come up with the right avatar for your product or service. Once that’s done, use your avatar to design marketing and sales strategies to attract your ideal customers by:

  • advertising in the media where your avatar spends the most time (online, blogs, websites, print, TV, radio)
  • creating marketing and advertising messages that address your avatar’s pain points
  • using targeted social media to share content relevant to your avatar’s concerns
  • including words and phrases your avatar uses in your sales and marketing copy (this is often overlooked and is essential: it’s a subtle way of telling your avatar you’re all in the same club)
  • communicating in your avatar’s preferred format (text, visual, video, long-form, short-form)

BONUS POINTS:

Once you’ve told your avatar’s story, it’s time to craft yours! With your avatar in mind, tell a story that captures your brand, including your values, your mission, your brand story, bearing that ideal customer in mind. Your avatar can help you here! It’s always better to show than tell. Stay away from just listing vague and general qualities, and really focus on how your brand helped a specific person (your avatar). You want your audience to connect with this person and know how your brand tangibly improved their life. Your avatar is going to morph into what’s known in marketing as the “hero story,” the story of your plucky little brand and how it’s the best solution to potential customers’ problems, needs, or desires.

Jeannette de Beauvoir helps clients identify and attract their avatars through solid marketing strategy and moving copywriting. More at www.jeannettedebeauvoir.com.

Written by

Bestselling novelist of mystery and historical fiction. Writer, editor, & business storyteller at jeannettedebeauvoir.com.

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