Ideal Customers – finding them and marketing to them is the KEY to really ramping up YOUR small business!
Perhaps right now you’re experiencing the same problem I was having in my direct sales business.
My marketing messages – posts to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like just weren’t producing the kind of results I was hoping for, and I couldn’t understand why.
I was beginning to give up hope of ever making a go in direct sales and felt like I was just spinning my wheels with social media and other online marketing efforts. I posted and posted, but wasn’t getting many sales, or much engagement of any kind.
As it turns out, I wasn’t alone. Lots of my direct sales sisters were reporting the same problem, and many of them were on the point of abandoning their businesses.
We all had the same thoughts.
After all didn’t EVERYONE need our great skin care products? Didn’t ALL women want our fabulous jewelry? Of COURSE they did!
And because we felt this was the case, we expected to be able to post a beautiful company-created graphic on Facebook or Instagram and have women immediately line up to buy, buy, buy or join our team!
But they didn’t.
The Solution – Profiling Ideal Customers
After lots of blood, sweat, tears and research, I came to realize that in my particular case, I wasn’t engaging with ANYBODY in particular because I was trying to talk to EVERYBODY online!
And what I learned, and is summed up nicely in this quote from Seth Godin is that:
“Everyone is not your customer.” ~ Seth Godin
I discovered that a “one size fits all” social media message is NOT attractive. Literally – it does not ATTRACT. It doesn’t speak to anybody on a personal level.
And so people tend to just ignore these types of messages – they’re just more noise in an already noisy online world.
Today people want – and perhaps more importantly – EXPECT a personalized message. A message that speaks directly to THEM.
Your potential customers want to EMOTIONALLY connect with your message – essentially why you do what want.
(Check out Simon Sinek’s TED talk video to help you figure out your ‘Why’ message!)
I needed to find a way to speak directly to the cares and concerns of a PARTICULAR woman – one of my ideal customers. A woman who really needed the products I had. A woman who had problems I could solve, needs that my products could fill.
“You can’t be everything to everyone, but you can be something to someone.” ~ Andrew Davis
But who was that woman? How could I find her, and what would I “say” to her when I did find her?
Finally, though, I discovered my first ideal customer – ‘Awesome Angie!’ Let me introduce you!
Ideal Customer Profile – Awesome Angie
To give you an idea of just how specific you want to get with this, here are just a FEW things that describe one of my ideal customers (the full profile is MUCH more extensive!):
- She’s a thirty something, creatively self-employed woman, married and mother of three – two girls (ages 12, and 9) and a boy (6).
- She works from home and lives in the suburbs of a town in Northwest Washington state, where she often shops at independent boutiques, craft fairs and farmer’s markets.
- She and her husband own their own home, which sits on an acre of land. A little bit city and a little bit country! They spend a lot of time outdoors, and love to entertain friends and family.
- She loves naturally-based and hand-crafted items, and prefers to buy eco-friendly and sustainably based products. BUT – she’s also money conscious and is always on the lookout for reasonably priced products.
- Her husband is employed full-time outside the home, and earns enough money to allow her to stay at home with her children and to pursue her own dreams of self-employment.
- She’s very much a suburban mom, and drives a mini-van to run errands and drop off/pick up her kids from school
- She’s very creative, not only in her business, but in every area of her life. She’s passionate about creating and loves running her business, but has so much else going on – including her husband and children, a good group of girlfriends, a home she cherishes, hobbies she loves – that she can become overwhelmed trying to manage it all.
- She often wishes she knew more women who were trying to build their own businesses from home, who she could talk to about the process
- She has a big vision of what her business can become, though, and is willing to do what it takes to make that a reality
- Her favorite online platforms are Facebook and Instagram. Facebook because that’s where her friends and family primarily hang out, and Instagram because she can really showcase her love for photography there.
- She finds a great deal of satisfaction in being able to take even a few minutes out of every day to pamper herself a little with inexpensive, yet wonderfully made naturally-based skin care products. A good face mask or a short soak in a warm tub of bath salts both soothes and reinvigorates her. She’s ready to face the world!
And now – as promised – here are the two steps YOU need to take in order to make more sales by creating and talking directly to YOUR ‘Awesome Angie!’
Step 1 – Develop YOUR Ideal Customer Profile
The very BEST way to begin narrowing down your target market and developing a picture of your ideal customers is to start by thinking NOT of the customers you COULD attract, but rather of the customers you’d really LOVE to attract. Someone who would be easy and fun to serve, someone with the wherewithal to actually purchase your products, someone who loves what you do for a living and just might be interested in learning to do it too!
To start with – take a minute and think about your top five or ten customers.
Based on what you already know about them, identify some similar characteristics. Are they all women? Are they pretty much between the ages of 25 and 45? Are they married? Have children? Did they graduate from high school? College? Do they work outside the home? What’s their current financial situation?
If you are just starting out or don’t have a top 10 list, imagine the types of people that you would like to be your customer.
If you’re in direct sales, often your ideal customers will resemble YOU to a great degree. If that’s the case, take some time and answer all these questions about yourself, being very specific in your answers.
Imagine each of your ideal customers. For example, perhaps you are you looking for busy dance moms, or single women who like to dress up for work. Perhaps your ideal customer is someone who loves to share their favorite products as much as they love to wear and/or use them – they’re the “influencers” in their particular circle of friends!
Create a clear picture in your mind of who each of these people is.
In fact, pretend you ARE these people. Take a walk in their shoes, if you will, and try to imagine what life looks at through THEIR eyes. Let your imagination fly!
As you conduct this exercise, be sure to write down EVERYTHING that comes to mind from the perspective of your ideal customers.
When you write AS your customer, it allows you to include what he/she might be thinking but would never say out loud to you (or anybody else)!
Ideal Customers – Creating A Profile
Here are just a few of the questions you can ask yourself about your ideal customers:
- What’s her name?
- Where do they live? (City/Country, Rent/Own)
- How old are they?
- Relationship status? Kids?
- What do they do for a living? Yearly income?
- Some favorite books/magazines/tv shows/movies:
- Blogs/websites they visit often:
- What kind of car do they drive?
- Which social media platforms are their favorites? How much time do they spend on them?
- Do they like to travel? Where is the last place they visited, and where do they want to go next?
- If their friends could describe them in three words, which words would they use?
- What does he/she need?
- What are his/her fears?
- What problems does he/she have?
- What is most important to him/her?
- What is he/she willing to invest in?
- Does he/she value quality, price or convenience?
- What does he/she desire in customer service?
- I want my client to feel _____________________________________________ when working with me.
- Other stores they shop in, online & off (think locally, too!):
- What sort of things do they search for online (as related to your business or products)?
- What are some of their favorite hobbies and downtime activities?
- What’s their clothing style? Favorite things to wear?
- What does their dream vacation look like?
- What are some words their closest friends & family would use to describe them?
- What’s most important to them in life? What do they most value?
- What does a typical weekday in their life look like?
- How do they spend their weekends?
- What are they feeling before they buy from you?
- What worries or fears do they have in life? What keeps them up at night? What problems do they have they’d like to solve?
- What are they thinking before they buy? What are some of the specific thoughts going through their head that help them decide to buy or not? Think about concerns they may have, how they envision using your products, what they tell might be telling themselves to convince themselves it’s worth the exchange of their hard-earned income.
Step 2 – Create A Specific Marketing Message
Once you create a really, really specific profile of the customer or team member you wish to attract, it’s so much easier to develop a marketing strategy to reach them.
When you know their lifestyle, personality, struggles, fears, etc, you’ll then know how to appeal directly to them in your social media content and product descriptions.
You’ll also know which social media platforms they favor, allowing you to concentrate your efforts there.
Ultimately, It’s All About the Language
You won’t know what to SAY to your ideal customer until you really get to know her, inside and out.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make in marketing your products or your business is to use language that works best for YOU, rather than the language your ideal customers would use!
Using the same language that your dream customer uses is incredibly important for two reasons.
First, you must be able to tailor your social media profiles in a way that will resonate with your dream customer. If she doesn’t find your bio interesting and appealing, she’ll move on to someone else whose bio DOES attract her.
Secondly, knowing how your ideal customer thinks will allow you to create marketing materials that appeal to HER. You’ll also be better able to choose keywords in your advertising, Pinterest board descriptions, etc. that she is most likely to search for!
How Do You Do This?
The BEST ways to know the language – words and phrases – your ideal customers use is to listen to them, either in person or on social media!
Join groups or communities on social media where your ideal customers or team prospects hang out, and then listen to the conversations they are having with each other.
Pay attention to the language used when a potential new team member approaches you to learn more about what you and your business have to offer. This will tell you what they are most concerned about or interested in.
Pay attention to the conversations around you when you’re hanging out in places your ideal customers hang out in – maybe your nail salon, a book group, or your church
If you’ve specified in your profile what magazines your ideal customer likes to read, check out those magazines for their headlines and article subjects. They KNOW what their readers are looking for and want to know more about, as well as the language that will attract them!
On each of the social media channels you use, in the content you create you can speak directly to your ideal customers, their problems and how you can HELP them. After all, you want them to know they’re in the right place and that YOU are the person who can help them with their specific problems!
And when you’re able to do those things… guess what?
Your DREAM customer will come to YOU! She’ll connect with you and your message! She’ll feel engaged! She’ll follow you on social media! She’ll BUY your products and tell all her friends about you! She may even want to join you in your business!
It’s Really The Best Way… Promise!
Now – I understand that it may be a little scary to pick out just one “small” segment of the population that will best resonate with your product or service and to focus the majority of your marketing efforts on them.
I know you’re probably telling yourself – like I originally did – that your product is for everyone. Or that if you only market to Mary, then you’ll miss out on sales to Sue and Linda and Janice.
Remember, though, that while you’re building a PROFILE of just one person, there are actually tens of thousands of people out there who will fit that profile! My ‘Awesome Angie’ isn’t alone. There are hundreds of Angie’s in any medium size city, thousands in each state!
And – to make it even better – ‘Angie’ is FRIENDS with Sue and Linda and Janice. So while YOU may not be marketing to those ladies, they may very well be attracted to your products through Angie! Win-Win!
Marketing to only your ideal customer actually works to your benefit! If you speak to – and connect with – a very specific community and build a relationship of trust with them, you will then have a loyal group of people who WANT what YOU have to offer.
And – once they become your loyal customers, they will continue to buy from you as long as you continue to provide that sense of community and belonging! In the long run, your marketing efforts will be easier and more profitable than if you market to that “everyone” avatar.
Remember, at the end of the day you want to be building RELATIONSHIPS with individuals. And, as a businesswoman, you are lucky enough to be able to CHOOSE exactly who those people are!
Now It’s YOUR Turn!
I’d love to hear how you make out with the creation of YOUR ideal customers! Share any tips or tricks you come up with in the ‘Comments’ below! Run into a roadblock? Ask a question and we’ll work it through together!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”