Everything you do in business should start with answering the question: “Who is my ideal customer?”  Knowing your ideal customer is one of the most important aspects of marketing that exists. It’s how you create products and services that truly resonate with people. It’s also how you determine the best way to market those products and services to them. Finally, it’s how you avoid issues and problems that come with trying to sell to people who aren’t truly part of your ideal market.

 

Study the Customers You Have

One way to help you with this process is to consider the customers you already have. What do they buy from you now? What types of things do your current customers have in common? If you’re not sure, you can conduct a survey to find out the information you need. Offer an incentive to people for completing the survey, such as a percent off something you know they’d want, a gift card, or a free checklist.

You probably already know that you need to collect general information about your customer, such as their age, location, gender, income, education, marital status, and occupation.

However, the most valuable information is something called ‘psychographics’. This includes things like their personality, attitudes, values, beliefs, hobbies, lifestyle, challenges, frustrations, and behavior.

Finally you need to discover your target market’s buying habits. This includes the places they go to buy, what types of products and services they normally buy, their typical buying strategy, who they buy from, and what they like or dislike about your competitors.

 

What if you don’t have customers?

If you don’t have customers of your own right now, you can look to your competition to get to know your audience. Find a business that markets similar products and services to the audience you believe is ideal. Join their lists, observe their discussions on social media, and note what questions the audience asks the most.

Understanding all the factors that define your ideal customer will help you identify ways that you can provide value to your target market and become top-of-mind when they’re ready to buy something.

 

Your Customer’s Buying Process

 

As you go through the steps for defining your ideal customer, it helps to understand the overall buying process that most people go through.

Typically, a customer will identify their problem or something they need, and then research it in multiple places. They’ll then compare the various solutions that are offered.

Finally, they’ll make a buying decision based on the factors that matter to them most. But, it’s not over yet… Your customer will always evaluate you based on your last product or service. That is why it’s so important to understand who your customer is, their pain points, exactly how you can solve them, and what types of offers will compel them to purchase.

The buying cycle may look like this:

  • Identify Problem/Need – This is where people realize they have a problem. They probably do a Google Search about the problem.
  • Find Their Purchase Options – The search reveals some options of what they could buy to solve their problem.
  • Research to Alleviate Concerns – They read product education, from you or someone else, and find information that addresses their fears and concerns.
  • Make a Buying Choice – They choose to buy something.
  • Use the Purchase – They use the product or service.
  • Evaluate Results – They make a judgment of success or failure regarding their purchase, which colors future decisions for good or bad.

The first three phases of the buying cycle give you an opportunity to capture potential leads for your own product or service. The other phases give you an opportunity to directly convert prospects to customers and ensure that they become lifelong customers.

Here’s a simple series of steps you can follow now to help you determine who your ideal client is so that you can create a compelling lead magnet.

  • Gather demographic and psychographic information on the customers you have
  • Survey them to find out more information
  • Look to your competition if you don’t have enough or any customers of your own yet to study your audience.
  • Specify why you’re the ideal person to offer your ideal customer a solution.
  • Map your ideal customer’s buying process.
  • Write out your ideal customer’s profile.

Learning Activity:

Create an avatar for your ideal customer by researching the following areas:

  1. Who are your current best customers?
  2. What are their general demographics?
  3. What are their psychographics? Start with the areas listed in this module and add to them.
  4. What are their buying habits and their buying process?