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Linda is a passionate educator, a highly sought-after business coach, and a Certified Management Consultant.
Taking some time to define your dream customer can make a big difference for your business – by targeting the right people for your business, you can increase your sales and turn potential customers into returning ones.
Aside from the family members and a few friends who have supported you in your business endeavours, I’m going to assume that your answer lies somewhere between, “I don’t know them that well” and “I’ve never met any of them.” While you don’t need to know each one of your customers by name, you should at least know what solution they are looking for and how your business can help them achieve that.
One of the main components of advertising is educating the public about your products and services; this process is made easier when the business and its potential customers clearly understand who the other is and what they seek or have to offer.
Fear not, brave entrepreneur. It is not necessary to wander aimlessly among a crowd of people, searching for potential customers. Instead, you can create an outline of the customer personas you believe will benefit the most from your business’s product/service before you even make contact with the public.
A customer outline is a template that you can use to “create” your perfect customer by inputting a name, age group, education level, estimated yearly income, and family status, along with pain points and motivators that you feel will influence their decision to interact with your business.
Creating a customer outline is the most effective way to determine who your perfect customer is short of actually meeting them. Customer profiles are great marketing tools – not only do you learn about the people to whom you want to market, but you get a chance to really think about your own products and services in terms of how they will benefit others.
Customer outlines help you understand what motivates and hinders your ideal customer and allows you to use that information to market your product(s) or service(s) more effectively. They give you insight into who your potential buyer is, what they seek, why they might turn down an offer, and allow you to create a marketing strategy that speaks to them.
Start off simple: create a single persona that embodies all of the characteristics that your potential customer would have. If you think that more than one persona would benefit from your product/service, then create separate personas for each one.
Tip: the more clearly you can define your dream customer, the better it will be to understand what it is they need and, in turn, how you can help them.
Describe their personality
Is your ideal customer enthusiastic and outgoing, or are they calm and reserved? The adjectives that you choose to use to describe them will give you an idea of how they will interact with your company. For example, think about how your company might reach someone who is:
Education, career, and lifestyle
One’s education is certainly not definitive of one’s intelligence, but determining the education level of your potential customer may lead you to bigger questions such as their understanding of your industry or whether or not they know the value of a high-cost product over a longer period of time, etc. It is important to factor in practical and life experience as well – such things should not be overlooked because they are just as important!
Why do they do in their spare time? What aspects of their life take priority? Are they dedicated to maintaining a healthy lifestyle or do they spend most of their days indoors at a desk? Do they like the way that their lives are currently, or do they wish for something more?
Strength and weaknesses
This section is most directly related to your own company and its offerings. By outlining your dream customer’s strengths and weaknesses you are able to identify where and how you might be able to help them solve a problem or achieve a goal.
Your ideal customer’s profile should be detailed, but don’t forget that perfection is a myth; they have weaknesses, but that’s ok – you will be able to help them get stronger. What does your ideal customer need or want to improve? What do you fear, and how does this stand in the way of what they aspire to be?
A good question to ask: what keeps them up at night?
Their pain points
In this section you would determine what is bothering your customer the most. Once you identify their pain points you will be able to think about how your company can help alleviate or resolve the problem. With your company in mind, describe:
How do your customers define what is too costly? Does the product or service that they are interested in take up too much time or cost too much money? Maybe it requires substantial efforts or special training that they don’t have time or money for.
Your product or service isn’t going to suit every customer, and some may struggle with certain aspects of its design or usage. It is for this reason that it is important to think of potential difficulties that your customer might run into when using your product/service. How can you make this easier? Think of additional features that make it more user-friendly, instruction manuals, or customer support and follow-up service.
How much do they rely on service and support? How much more likely would it be that they purchase a product or service that can be used independently? Think group courses vs. at-your-own-pace courses that are completed independently.
Think about your brand’s message. Include a section that speaks to what your ideal customer might gain from the product or service. It is for this reason that you need to understand how they perceive value. For example, does your customer value price drops, extended support, or additional features, bundled products and services or early-bird deals?
Do you know someone who would benefit from reading this article?