Most businesses want more customers. Let me tell you why that’s a BIG mistake. More customers is not the same as the right customers. So while you’re wasting time busily trying to keep someone happy who doesn’t value you and never will, your ideal match could be walking right on by.
More often than not, when I ask a business to describe their ideal customer I hear things like, “Chicago brides” (in the case of a wedding planner), “event planners” (in the case of an event vendor) or “Fortune 500 companies” (in the case of a corporate event planner). General, blasé, unremarkable and totally non-actionable. By trying to appeal to such a vague and large group of people, you’re unable to speak in a language that captivates any one type of customer, you’re unable to tell them specifically what problem you’ll solve for them and you’re unable to tell them what goal you’ll help them achieve. The result is that you’ll sound just like everyone else. This increases your competitive pool and the chances of you being seen as a commodity.
The only way you will attract your ideal customers is if you first create a crystal-clear picture of who they are.
Let’s first look at what a good ideal customer profile is NOT:
Name: Brie Smythe
Occupation: Retail Salesperson
Family: Engaged, no kids
A good ideal customer profile is:
Brie Smythe is a style-obsessed 29-year-old woman wishing she lived in a chic loft in Soho, but, with a humble retail sales income, she lives with her parents in Torrington, CT. She watches Gossip Girl religiously, carefully taking note of how Serena and Blair pull together their looks. She does her best to emulate their styles while shopping at suburban big box stores like Target. She met her fiancé in high school—she was the pretty cheerleader and he was the football star. They have dreams of moving out of their small town once they’re married.
See the difference?
The first is not only a snore-fest but it provides no clear insight into who your customer really is. The second paints a picture of her personality as well as her hopes, dreams and fears. I can now imagine which magazines she might read, which blogs she might subscribe to, and how to talk to her so that I cut through the clutter.
Just one hour of your time can unlock the key to your idea customer profile. What you’ll need:
• A printout of your customer list
• “Ideal Customer Profile” spreadsheet
STEP 1: make a list of your favorite clients. These are the clients that make you happy, you produce your best work with and often times are most profitable.
STEP 2: make a list of your worst clients. Unlike the first list, these clients are not enjoyable to work with, you often spend far too much time servicing them and feel unsatisfied at the end of the project or event.
STEP 3: look for similarities. Try to understand what unifies the customers in both groups.
demographics - The statistical data about the customer:
• Where does she work? What’s her specific job title?
• How much money does she make?
• What’s her level of education?
• How much revenue does her company generate?
psychographics - How your customer thinks:
• What are her biggest concerns or her biggest joys?
• What is her biggest problem at work?
• What does she value?
• What are her goals?
behaviors - How your customer behaves:
• How does she feel about your brand?
• Is she a new customer, repeat customer or raving fan?
• Does she have a special way of working?
STEP 4: build your profile. From the information you’ve pulled together, begin to build your ideal customer profile. The key to successful business is better customers. You’re on your way!
Lara McCulloch-Carter is a brand, marketing and social media consultant and the author of ready2spark (ready2spark.com) the number-one independent meetings and events blog.