Define Your Ideal Customer and Make Every Word Count
Turn “Bla, Bla, Bla” into “Wow! I’m so glad I found you.”
Corporations use a process to discover and define their ideal customer so they can talk to them directly: they craft a persona. A persona is a document, so rich with detail and information that it becomes a new personality in the room with them. This is the ‘person’ they direct their messaging to and every word is a conversation with them. When the message resonates with you – you’re a part of the audience they are intending to capture.
As a small business owner, you can strip down the process and create an immensely useful tool to help discover your ideal customer. Defining an ideal customer has a direct impact on your business. First, it enables you to both better define your business goals and second, you can begin to have a valuable conversation with your visitors. Know who you are targeting and your message will resonate. Block the possibility of becoming an annoyance by not wasting their time – establish a conversation that is a value-added for them.
For any business (regardless of size), know who you’re talking to before you speak. Without this knowledge, the message is diluted, weak and scattered. Talking directly to an ideal customer gives focus and a genuine note to your voice. Your ideal customer is at the center of your success. Often times this step is not explored until one is much further down the road. The sad fact is that this lack of clarity can derail your business.
For many small businesses, the limits on the advertising and marketing budget are matched only by the limits of available time, and there is little margin for error. Use this method to make each dollar and minute spent a value added by removing the guesswork from your efforts. “Who am I serving?” “What do they want or need?” “How can I help?” Each is a key question. Knowing the answer will positively impact every aspect of your business.
The discovery process gets you beyond small talk
When you are out socially, meeting someone for the first time, you often ask a few questions to discover shared interests. If there is enough common ground you make a connection and move into a conversation. Personas serve the same purpose as the discovery questions you ask at a party. When you know your common ground, you can add meaning and depth to the conversation you are having at each touch point.
Existing businesses: Look at your current customer to get started
If you are just starting this process and have already been in business for a while, looking at your existing customer will tell you a lot about who you’re having a conversation with today online. Think back on the actual conversations you have had and look for clues that give you deeper insight to their interest in you and your product. Not only can this help deepen your conversation but if you discover you are not talking to your ideal customer you can begin to adjust your message and bring them to the conversation.
Before engaging with a new customer type, craft a persona just for them. The way you speak to them may be very different and this process will give you strong insights about them.
Understanding your customer and what motivates them will help you craft a better dialog with them at every point of the conversation: in person, on your web page, in social media, or any printed materials. Knowing their goals and interests can also help you ensure that their expectations are met after they make a commitment to you.
How to create your ideal customer profile
Here is a quick way to define your ideal customer. Answer the following questions–and include any others specific to your area of interest to help you know your ideal customer. You may want to create more than one personality for distinct customer types but stick to three or less so your messaging doesn’t become too diluted. Don’t make the information so broad that you fail to define your ideal customer; include enough detail to be able to focus your conversation in a way that will resonate and have value for them.
Include these items to define your ideal customer:
- Name, Age and Sex
- Income level
- Married or single
- List 10 adjectives to describe them
- How often they use your service or similar services
- What/who influences their purchasing decisions
- Where do they research before making a decision
- How comfortable are they with technology (which will affect how you connect with them)
- What benefit will they receive from working with you?
- How will they feel after working with you or using your product?
Give them a face
- Include several images clipped from magazines that express their essence and really show their personality.
Here is a great tip: Create a unique welcome page for each ideal customer type and send them there instead of your generic home page on the web. This will start your conversation on the right note and you can deliver a message specific to their interests. For example, if you are an artisan, perhaps you would have a page specific to your collector and one for merchants. This is not the ‘details’ page but a genuine welcome mat with messaging directed to their interest in your product, outlining why it’s the one they want. It’s a great opportunity to talk directly to them so make it as personal to them as you can.
What comes next?
Now that you have crafted your ideal customer, print your document and pin it on the wall. Making your customer visible will focus your message and the direction you take in your marketing efforts. Now they can always be at the table with you so that whenever you write you can talk directly to them.
Think of this as a living document; revisit this process periodically to do a tune-up. You will constantly expand and shift your view as you discover what works well in your business or as your focus shifts. So think of your ideal customer as a good friend and, as in any friendship, remember it’s good to keep in touch.
Thank you for reading this right down to the end. Embrace the process and enjoy the benefits of a business that thrives. And add in a little ChaCha to celebrate – Georgia