How To Identify Your Ideal Customer: Who You Serve
It can feel so exciting when you come up with an idea for a business. Whether it be a product or service. The mind can shift to all the wonderful possibilities, how much money you’re going to make and the fun stuff like design, graphics, a logo and so on.
But who is going to actually put their hand in their pocket for that product or service, and why should they buy? This is where you need to identify your ideal customer, the person who will pay you to solve their problem through your product or service.
Regardless of what idea you come up with, to turn it into a sustainable and profitable business, it needs to solve a problem people will pay for. Although I refer to product or service throughout, you are selling results.
Identify The Problem
The idea for a product or service tends to come first because it’s something that’s impulsive and can just pop up in your mind one day. From that idea, you will need to identify the need for it, if people are willing to pay for it, and if there is a big enough pool of people to sell to.
Whatever you create should be for a specific group of people, you can’t serve everyone… Understanding the problem (pain points) of your customers and knowing who they are is essential. Without this knowledge, you’ll find it difficult to attract, retain and convert them.
Create Your Customer Avatar
Most successful entrepreneurs will be able to tell you who their customer avatar is. The avatar has a name, face, and story. Now although creating your customer avatar can involve a lot of research, thinking and reflecting, its fun too! Think of it as writing a book or short story and you have to come up with fictional characters, that’s what this process involves.
The great thing is, you can have more than one. For example, I serve both men and women in my business so I have two. When you create your customer avatar, answer these questions to make them come to life and then create a short story from it that clearly describes who they are.
- Are they male or female?
- What is their name?
- How old are they?
- Where do they live?
- Do they have children?
- What is their marital and employment status?
- What do they do (business owner / in a career)?
- How much money do they make?
- What matters most in their life?
- What characteristics and interests do they have?
- What are their values and goals?
- Where are they in life right now? Think about how they may be feeling.
- What are their concerns?
- What do they want to overcome and achieve in the next six to twelve months?
- Who do they want to become?
What are their problems, pain points, struggles, frustrations, and challenges? These are the thing(s) they would be prepared to purchase, invest in to solve the problem they are facing.
When you go through this question, go deep. Here’s what I mean by this. If your customer avatar wants to lose weight, you really want to get to the root of why this is, what they have or haven’t done to date. From here you should be able to paint a picture on what is really holding them back from losing weight.
With your customer avatar in mind, think about how your product or service will make their business/life better. This relates to the benefits it will provide, the results that will derive from it and the transformation that will take place.
Of those benefits, pinpoint the number one result and the ones that are going to get your customer excited and think “this is a must have for me.” That’s what you want, not a nice to have, but a must have product or service.
How can your customer, experience, get a sample of your solution? It’s like going to the supermarket and they have samples of something new for you to taste. Or when you go into a department store and they have someone with perfume or aftershave you can try. Identify ways to entice your customers.
Articulate Your Solution
Now you understand the problem of your customer and know who they are, you need to be able to clearly articulate the solution you have created for them. When you create content for your audience, whatever it might be, write directly to them.
Visualize your customer avatar as you write to build that connection, one that resonates. This will help you to market effectively. The know, like and trust factor that leads your prospective customers to your door.
Don’t focus on features, instead stay focused on the benefits. The features relate to the deliverables of your product or service. The benefits relate to the results they can expect, the change.
Paint a picture, of what their life or business could be like from working with you. What they will walk away with after a specific timeframe. If you have a physical product, focus on how it’s going to make them feel, describe any transformation they can expect and how it may make their life easy e.g. save time.
On a final note, keep in mind that your customer avatar and target market will evolve. Because the marketplace changes, and so do we as individuals. Our ideas evolve and change with us. It doesn’t have to be perfect or set in stone and this is always something you can go back to and adapt.
If you find that your customer avatar is an extension of who you are or your former self, it’s normal. The reason behind this is you really understand their pain points and what they are going through because there is a personal connection.