How to Create an Ideal Customer Profile to Define Your Target Market
Written By : RICHARD FONG
Published on September 16, 2014
Even the best looking advertisements, most persuasive sales copy and impressive product will fail to sell without an understanding of the type of customer you wish to sell to.
Because of this, it’s important that every business – from a local neighborhood café to a multinational B2B services provider – create an ideal customer profile to define the type of customer it’s interested in tracking.
Creating a profile of your target customer might seem like a waste of time. After all, don’t you already know who you’re targeting? Despite this, it’s the most important first step your business can make in developing its online or offline marketing plan.
In this blog post, we’ll share a simple but effective strategy for creating a customer profile for your business. We’ll also touch on how you can use this customer profile to guide your online marketing efforts in the right direction.
Every business has an ideal customer, even if they don’t know it yet. A large number of businesses have more than one target customer. Think about the traits that your target customer has and the characteristics that define them.
Ask yourself questions about the type of customers you currently work with, or the type of customers you want to work with. If you operate a B2C business, write down the answers to the following questions:
What is your ideal customer’s average age?
Is your ideal customer male, female or both?
How much money does your ideal customer earn?
In which city/region does your ideal customer live?
These are the big four questions that define concrete characteristics of your ideal customer: their age, gender, income and location. With these four characteristics, you’ll be able to better target your marketing efforts.
For a B2B business, the characteristics you’ll want to define are different. Instead of thinking in terms of age, gender, income and location, think about your ideal client’s company history, revenue, size (in terms of employees) and location.
What is your ideal customer like?
The four characteristics above will help you broadly define your ideal customer. If you sell a niche product or service, however, you’ll need to further break down the characteristics of your ideal customer to better reach them.
Ask yourself questions about the type of interests and hobbies your ideal customer is likely to have. Again, if you run a B2C business, write down the answers to these questions to better define and understand your ideal customer:
What is your ideal customer’s personality like?
What are your ideal customer’s hobbies and interests?
What are your ideal customer’s priorities in life?
What does your ideal customer dislike?
Sometimes, knowing what your ideal customer doesn’t want is as powerful for you as a marketer as knowing what they do want. With the answers to these questions, you’ll have a far more detailed picture of who your ideal customer is.
How can you access your ideal customer?
Creating a profile of your ideal customer is half of the process; learning how you can reach them is the other. In order to fully define your ideal customer, you will need to think about how you can access them.
Of course, access doesn’t necessarily mean physical access, unless you’re a door-to-door salesperson. Think about how and where you can target your ideal customer using advertising or direct marketing:
Where does your ideal customer spend their time?
What blogs and websites does your ideal customer read?
What neighborhood does your ideal customer live in?
Where does your ideal customer interact with advertising?
Answering these questions arms you with not just the knowledge of who your ideal customer is, but how you can access them. This will help you plan your advertising, direct marketing or sales campaign to best reach your ideal customers.
For B2B businesses, the process of finding access is very similar. Think about your ideal customer not as a business, but as a person within the business that you could connect with using the answers to the questions above.
What problems can you solve for your ideal customer?
Every good business offers a solution to a problem. A neighborhood café solves two problems: thirst and caffeine addiction. An accountancy firm solves a clearly defined and common problem: recording transactions and filing taxes.
The questions above have helped you define your ideal customer and discover how you can reach them. Answering the questions below will help you discover why you should reach out to your ideal customer with your product or service:
What problem does your ideal customer face which you can solve?
How does your product or service make their life or work easier?
What is your ideal customer’s motivation to choose your company?
With the answers to these questions, you’ll have enough information to define your ideal customer, work out a plan to target them, calculate the best way to target them and work out why it’s imperative that you do.
The importance of creating multiple ideal customers
The majority of businesses deal with a wide range of customers. An accountant, for example, might help both local businesses and large companies manage their taxes and other financial records.
A café might serve local residents seeking their morning latte, out-of-towners on the way to a new destination and digital freelancers looking for a quiet place to sit down and work for the day.
Because your business probably targets more than one type of customer, it’s a good idea to create profiles for all of your ideal customers. Define their persona, the type of problems they face and how you (or your business) can access them.
Create your first ideal customer profile now
Defining your ideal customer is the first step in creating an effective marketing plan, no matter what type of business you run. Before you think about marketing ideas or clever advertisements you could design, sit down with a pen and paper and clearly define your ideal customer profiles now.