How To Find Your Ideal Customer

Posted By admin On 29/12/21
May 27, 2015

While it’s true that defining your ideal customer can feel like you are excluding other audiences who might buy from you, focusing on the right people brings clarity to your marketing efforts which ultimately leads to a more profitable business.

Now, let’s talk about crafting your Ideal Customer Avatar. #1 List all the common traits of your idea customers So both demographic, think age and gender and occupation, and then also think about the psychographic, like attitudes and values and lifestyle and hobbies. Think of your customers. Here are some tips to help you find your business's ideal customers: 1. Define your product or service from the customer's point of view. What does your product do for your ideal customer? For most small businesses, finding qualified customers remains one of their biggest obstacles. Given that good customers are so difficult to find, we sometimes wonder if the ideal customer is a myth. Try to find three or four ideal customer profiles. You may discover that not all questions are relevant for each, and that’s fine. Wherever possible, base your answers on customer data you’ve captured through your sales or loyalty platform, or web analytics.

New York Times best-selling author Ramit Sethi said it best: “Algorithms change. Tactics change. But the fundamentals of learning what people want, seeing exactly where you can help them, and then telling the right people about it (emphasis mine) are classic strategies that worked 1,000 years ago and will work 1,000 years from now.”

This post is about getting to know the right people who will benefit from and pay for your products and services. What follows is 10 essential questions to ask in the process of defining your ideal customer. Let’s get started.

1. Where do your ideal customers hang out?

Name the digital and physical spaces where your ideal customer hangs out. The more specific, the better.

“Hangs out on Facebook” is too general.

“Hangs out in the Wine Lovers of Atlanta Facebook group” is more precise and actionable.

“Likes the outdoors” is too general to mean anything insightful.

“Likes going to the park every Saturday morning with their kids” shows habits and values.

“Reads blogs” isn’t targeted enough.

“Obsessively reads Lifehacker, Techcrunch, and Reddit” is revealing. Knowing where your ideal customers hang out influences:

  • Where you advertise (certain Facebook groups, niche forums, physical locations)
  • Places to listen and learn about customers
  • The best blogs for writing guest posts

2. Where do your customers get their information?

In an ideal world with unlimited resources, your company would have helpful and relevant content on every single channel. But since you’re not Coca-Cola, you have to be strategic about targeting where your ideal customers go to get information.

When your customer is in research mode, where do they go? Google? Certain blogs? Books? Magazines? Twitter?

Write your findings as a simple sentence: “When Maggie is curious about a topic, the first place she goes is Google search on her iPhone.”

3. What are your customers challenges and frustrations?

Empathy is the biggest benefit to defining your ideal customer’s challenges and frustrations. By knowing what it’s like walking in your customer’s shoes, you’ll be able to create great products and services that address their specific pain points and problems.

Here are a few examples to jog your creativity:

How To Find Your Ideal Customer
  • “I wish someone would just edit this video for me.”

  • “I need to lose ten pounds before spring break.”

  • “Ugh. I wish I could schedule my tweets.”

Your ideal customer’s challenges and frustrations impact a number of things:

  • Services you offer: The service you are offering has to cure a large enough pain point that your ideal customer will pay you to do it for them instead of doing it themselves.
  • Products you make: Similar to the service you offer, the products you make must solve your ideal customer’s challenges or frustrations to be worth buying.
  • Emotions you speak to: There are a number of emotions behind the challenges and frustrations your ideal customer is experiencing - sadness, anger, fear, hope, a desire for something better. By speaking to what your customer is feeling, you’ll be able to connect with them emotionally on more than just a rational level.
  • Customer stories you tell: The logic here is simple. When your ideal customers see an existing customer who solved their challenges and frustrations with your product/service, then they are more likely to buy your product/service.

4. What are your customers goals and priorities right now?

How To Find Your Ideal Customer

Knowing your ideal customer’s goals and priorities help you paint a picture of what life could be like after using your products and services. Think of it as selling the dream.

When your products or services help your ideal customer reach their goals, also known as product/market fit, it becomes much easier to write copy for your blog, website, and other touchpoints in the customer journey.

Here are a few examples of copy written to speak to customer goals:

5. What brands do your customers like?̋

Make a list of the brands your ideal customer likes, both in general and within your space. At a higher level, it’s like the Mac versus PC commercials. Both brands have their own look and feel and draw different types of people. Is your ideal customer more Nordstrom or Ross? Target or Walmart?

For brands within your space, knowing what companies your ideal customer likes could spark ideas for future partnerships to pursue. Or give you inspiration on how to better connect with your audience.

6. What is your customers preferred form of communication?

Do they tweet? Text? Chat? Email? Or prefer physical mail? This is a matter of where your audience wants you to communicate with them. For example, a number of brands use Snapchat to communicate with teenagers. Why? Because teenagers aren’t spending their screen time checking Facebook. The core principle is to communicate with your customers where they already are.

7. What phrases and exact language do your customers use?

Robert Collier has this genius quote: “Always enter the conversation already taking place in the customer’s mind.”

There is already language in your customer’s mind for their problems, needs, and desires. Your job is to listen and write it down.

When you are researching the places where your ideal customer hangs out, document the exact phrases they say and store them in a spreadsheet to spark ideas for website copy, blog posts, and landing pages. Or send a survey using SurveyMonkey to ask open ended-questions and document your audience’s word-for-word responses.

People are naturally attracted to other people who speak their language, get their sense of humor or have the same point of view. It provides a feeling of belonging and connection that can create loyalty towards your brand. Your goal is for customers to say to themselves “Whoa it’s like they’re talking to me” every time they read your writing.

8. What is your preferred customer’s budget?

Pricing is tricky. Price too low and people will undervalue you, but price too high and no one will buy. For example, if a house in San Francisco cost $100, everyone would know it’s a scam. Whereas if a cup of tea cost $100, it’d be ludicrous.

The sweet spot is to charge the maximum amount your ideal customer is ready, willing and able to pay.

9. What does a day in your ideal customer’s life look like?

7:55am - George wakes up to the sound of smooooth jazz

8:15am - Brews the new Costa Rican roast using his shiny new Keurig

8:43am - Stuck in traffic on the 101 listening to smooooooth jazz again

9:15am - Gets into the office

9:18am - Checks email, like everyone else

10:01am - Starts prepping his company email newsletter

12:05pm - Eats the Italian combo at Subway

Your

1:08pm - Afternoon lull, wishing his office had a nap pod

How To Find Your Ideal Customer Profile

2:35pm - Sends newsletter

2:38pm - Brainstorms how to generate more leads to meet quarterly growth goals

4:00pm - Interviews a customer for market research

How To Find Your Ideal Customer On Instagram

6:15pm - Drives home ready for a Breaking Bad marathon on Netflix

Imagining what your ideal customer’s daily life looks like adds a personal, human element to your marketing. It also gets practical - when is the best time to email them? When are they most likely to respond to your communications? When are they most attentive?

10. What makes your perfect customers happy?

The customer journey is more than robotic transactions and the exchange of money for goods and services. As emotional beings, people want to interact with brands that makes them feel good about themselves.

Where are the places in your ideal customer’s journey you can insert surprises, do the unexpected, and bring a smile to their face? Maybe it’s a handwritten thank you note after signing up for your service, a personalized email sent on their birthday, or free shipping for all deliveries (who doesn’t love free shipping?).

Inserting happiness into specific customer touchpoints can create a deeper level of emotional connection that grows loyal and raving fans for the long-term. Or as Marty Neumeier would say, improves that “gut feeling” people get when they hear about your product, service, or company.

How To Find Your Ideal Customers

The end result

After answering all of these questions, write a paragraph summarizing your findings. It could look like this summary of Maggie, the ideal customer for a web design blog focused on female designers:

“Maggie loves spending time learning about wine in her Pinot Noir Lovers Facebook group. It’s a passion of hers. Her biggest frustration in her role as a designer is figuring out how to use Photoshop. When she’s in research mode, the first place she goes to is Google search on her iMac at work. Her long-term dream is to start her own design practice so she can make her own schedule and work with clients she wants to work with, especially non-profits. Last week when she was shopping at Anthropologie browsing her favorite blog on her iPhone, SF Girl By The Bay, an ad popped up with an invitation to check out a course for web design.”

The end result is a better understanding of where and how to reach ideal customers who will gain massive value from what you’re offering and pay for your products and services, happily.

So you’ve defined your ideal customer? Here’s how to personalize their experience with data.

Over the years I’ve helped hundreds and hundreds of SaaS providers from around the world rapidly accelerate customer acquisition and reduce their SaaS churn rates.

And in just about every instance I found myself asking them the same questions.

The fact that these questions were not easily answered or – if they were – that the answers were ignored, often shed light on the underlying cause of several different problems my SaaS provider clients faced.

From stagnating growth, to unacceptable churn, to a less-than-acceptable ROI on AdWords and other paid traffic spend, it became clear to me that we have a problem.

And this problem isn’t small or to be ignored.

To the contrary, it is resulting in SaaS provider executives – just like you – going back to their investors and board with less-than-stellar results, for Founders and CEOs of SaaS companies who know they have the best product out there pulling their hair out at the lack of new customers or the super-high churn rates.

And for the SaaS CMO and Marketing teams who have implemented rigorous A/B testing programs that are functioning properly but not resulting in statistically significant lift, the crisis is mounting.

What is going on here?!?!?!

Simple… you’re attracting the wrong audience and here’s why.

Attracting Your Ideal Customer Is Not an Accident

We know that attracting the right customers is critical to growing your SaaS business, and this includes reducing your SaaS churn rate.

The reality is, you’re not attracting your Ideal Customers, at least in the numbers you’d like, because you either haven’t identified your Ideal Customers or you have, but choose to ignore that fact and continue trying to be all things to everyone so you “don’t miss any opportunities.”

But you also know that’s wrong and goes against everything we know to be true in marketing, right?

And the rules apply to you just like everyone else, right?

Okay.

So, to ensure that you’re attracting the right customers, take some time with your team and answer these questions.

  1. Would they know they’re your ideal customer if they looked at your marketing site?
  2. Of your current customer base, what percentage does your ideal customer represent?

Question #3 is a super-interesting metric that few SaaS companies actually monitor (but should).

In fact, when I go through this exercise with a SaaS provider who is struggling to achieve the results they’re looking for, the answer is generally less than 10%, indicating that 90% of their customer base is made up of customers outside the “ideal” spectrum.

BTW, I’m very interested to see your answers (especially #3) so email them to me when you’re done.

Ugh… language!

Look… when you don’t know who your ideal customer is, you can’t talk to them using their language.

Whether on your marketing site, your ad campaigns, inside your app, through your email follow-up, or even your sales conversations, if you don’t know who you’re talking to you’re in trouble.

When you don’t know who your ideal customer is – or aren’t willing to focus on just them to, you know, avoid missing all those other opportunities – you can’t speak the language of that particular audience.

We can agree that HR Pros use different words than Chefs who use different words than Attorneys and so on, right? Maybe different tones, formalities, etc. Perhaps they even want different things, have different needs, desires, and so forth, right? Sure.

Well, when you try to speak to everyone, you can’t use the words of the HR Pro or the Chef or the Attorney…

… instead, you have to drop to the lowest common denominator among every potential customer, which means you aren’t saying anything of value to anyone!

Said another way:

People don't buy from you because they understand what you do… they buy from you because you understand what they do.

— Lincoln Murphy (@lincolnmurphy) March 20, 2013

Oh… but the language issue that comes from not speaking to an ideal customer gets even worse for SaaS companies!

Because most SaaS companies don’t see themselves as “services” and instead hold on tightly to their technology pedigree, you often won’t stop at “lowest common denominator” language…

… nope, you drop even lower and stop talking about the customer at all, instead focusing 100% on your product, features, technology, APIs, and all the other stuff that doesn’t matter when you’re trying to connect with your potential customers (beyond early adopters).

And because you should extend your marketing/sales funnel into your app knowing who you’re attracting will help you create an in-app experience congruent with their needs/desires/expectations.

Zuora Puts Their Customers Front and Center

Look, I can tell when a SaaS company hasn’t identified (or chooses to ignore) their ideal customer before I ever talk to ’em…

… because their marketing is all about their product!

Which means I’m not surprised when I talk to those same SaaS providers and hear that their business is stagnating, their churn is high, etc.

So it’s refreshing to see a company like Zuora take the opposite tack and really put their customers front & center:

Now, I’m not saying you have to go that far, but what a great example of using your (best) customers to help you resonate with more customers LIKE them.

And something to note here is that Zuora isn’t a small, vertical-specific company; anyone that fits into the “subscription economy” is a potential customer of theirs.

But they know who their Ideal Customers would be and they’re actively marketing to them so they (the ideal customer) will KNOW that they’re Zuora’s ideal customer, too.

Other customers who may not fit into the “ideal” mold aren’t prevented from doing business with Zuora, but by drawing a line in the sand Zuora is saying “these are the types of companies we most want to do business with.”

And, frankly (these are my words… Zuora hasn’t been and isn’t a client), Zuora is – by identifying with certain customer types – also subtly pushing less-than-ideal customers away.

Zuora, without saying it directly, is indicating that early stage startups and smaller companies might be a better fit for less-complex billing solutions like Chargify or Stripe.

How To Find Your Ideal Customer

But I also happen to know that some companies are starting to outgrow those smaller billing solutions and, as one of the companies I’m working with recently said about Zuora, “we want to be a $250M/ARR company, so we want to use the systems a $250M/ARR SaaS provider would use.”

That’s what I call an aspirational customer.

So just because you draw a line in the sand and actively try to resonate with your ideal customers, doesn’t mean you won’t get customers from outside that ideal spectrum… it just means you’ll DEFINITELY get customers within that spectrum, predictably, which is probably different than what you’re experiencing now.

Get Crystal Clear and Take Action

So we know a picture is worth a thousand words, right? Well that product screen shot on your main marketing page is speaking to me loud and clear… you don’t know who your Ideal Customer is or you’re unwilling to draw that line in the sand.

And it should be speaking to you, too… but are you listening?

You can make some quick changes by simply taking your existing product-centric “sales copy” and replacing it with customer-centric, value-based, actual sales copy.

Remember… What’s In It For Them (WIIFT)?

What will your ideal customer get from your offering?

Make that your headline and bullet list, instead of you-centric messaging and lists of features.

Then you can evolve from there and spread that messaging throughout the rest of your sales funnel.

But it’s at least better than what you have today…

…of course, to do that means you have to know who your ideal customer is!

How To Find Your Ideal Customer

How To Find Your Ideal Client On Instagram

So…

Who’s your ideal customer?

How To Find Your Ideal Client Photography

That’s one of the most powerful questions you probably don’t have a clear answer to.

It’s time to get clear.