Businesses world-over must at some point engage in the task of deciding on who their ideal customers are. It’s easy to fall into the trap of simply desiring to make products that appeal to everyone.
Why would you want to limit the reach or accessibility of the items you make? The crazy thing is this: If you tailor your brand and messaging more specifically by determining your perfect customer, you will not only attract those customers but others as well! Whatever industry you work in, understanding your customers is vital. From the small business selling handmade products to the largest transnational corporations, you need to define your ideal customer in order to market your products to them.
It can feel like a daunting task, so we put together some fun questions to help you think outside of whatever box you might be stuck in. We’ll dedicate some future articles to specific strategies once you identify your perfect customer. For now, just take some time and brainstorm.
These are a few important initial questions:
- Who is the person you picture when you think about someone using your service or buying your product? What do they look like? This doesn’t have to be too detailed for now, just write down you’re initial thoughts. This is a great starting point, so you can start filling in the details.
- Age: Is the person young or old? Try to place them in an age bracket that’s no wider than 10 years, such as 16-24 or 50-60. Some customers may exist outside of this is your core. Think about what this age group needs, what responsibilities they have, and how they might best be reached.
- Income: Given the nature of your wares and how much they typically cost, your shopper should easily be able and eager to make a purchase. Try to imagine what they normally earns. Do they prefer cut-price budget options or are they into the finer things in life?
- Occupation: Decide on a job that you can see your core customer doing. This gives you an idea of their lifestyle. Do they work weekends and nights or a 9-5 office job? This helps you determine when they can be reached.
- Education level: University grads live different lives and speak differently to those who never went to college. You will want to shape your messaging accordingly.
- Friends and family: Who are their support network? What role does your brand play in that?
And now, some fun/quirky questions that can help give you even more insight:
- What kinds of movies do they like? This helps you understand what gets them excited and what kind of media they respond to. Do they prefer light-hearted and funny messaging or emotional campaigns?
- What does their ideal weekend evening look like? Again, this gives an insight into personality. Are they an outgoing party-lover or a more introverted type who stays in with a good book?
- What kinds of friends do they have? Your company should be a friend to them. Are they looking for intellectual stimulation or emotional support? Offer that!
- What makes them excited or emotional? Your brand should imitate this!
- What kinds of shoppers have you had the most success with in the past? Build on this success going forward.
Previous experience can be a helpful bellwether for future plans. Think of your previous successes or high-sales events:
- Who spent the most money? These are your high-value buyers who you want to be the focus of your marketing campaigns.
- Who got most excited by your work? They’re guaranteed to be the most loyal to your brand and the most likely to promote it to their friends. Try to encourage them to leave reviews or become affiliates.
- What makes that person unique in your mind? Word to identify what is special about them and then highlight how your brand speaks to this aspect. Maybe they’re particularly interested in helping others. Show them how your product helps them do this. Maybe they’re committed to supporting local brands. Show them you’re a small business creating handmade products, the profits of which go back into the community. Or perhaps they’re fiercely ambitious. Match their ambition. Show them that you want them to succeed as much as they do.
Once you’ve answered these questions, your ideal customer should start to come into focus. Your ideal customer could begin to look a lot like someone you know, like your own spouse, parent, child or close friend. What if it turns out that you are your own ideal customer? Take note of what you’ve discovered as you answered some of these questions, and start considering this perfect shopper as you make plans for your new Spring Line of products or your next marketing strategies. Start to make plans and tailor your business in such a way that keeps their interest and makes them truly happy. You’re on the right track!