Avatar. Ideal Customer. Perfect Client.
Defining who your product or service is for seems like a no-brainer. I sell life insurance to families. I teach music to children. I make environmentally friendly soaps for people who avoid lauryl sulfate.
But it is not that easy.
You also need to pinpoint motivations. Internal conflicts that generate the desire within to buy one product over another. Psychological triggers that fire within your customer’s inner thoughts.
I am going to outline a system for you for identifying your business soulmate. If I were you, I would consider doing this process for every major product or service you offer…eventually. Baby steps for now though, start by creating one for your biggest priced item/product line/service.
Step 1: Nail Down Your Demographics
Details such as age, gender, location, income, and education will help you get a sense of who will be buying. Adding in more in-depth information like Industry, Job Title, Marital Status, and children will further define the motivations for needing to invest in a product or service.
For example, if I were a gym for young males, I would develop an entirely different online strategy than if I were a gym for middle-aged women. My copy would have a different voice, my graphics would have a different feel, and the content shared would focus in different areas.
Say that I was, in fact, a gym owner. My gym focuses on women ages 25-45 in a suburb of Dallas. The women are likely moms and are budget conscious. They need quick workouts with a punch of fun. The gym offers early morning and late night classes for working moms, as well as mid-day offerings.
Step 2: Explore the Psychographics of your customer
Once you have a good feel for the demographics of your audience, start to dig a little deeper. This should take you several days or even weeks. It is something that you may keep coming back to as your business evolves and finds its place in the market.
Psychographics include details such as characteristics, hobbies, and sources of trusted information. Then, move a little deeper with what worries and fears keep them up at night. Consider what the biggest challenge that they face in life is and also what the perfect solution to that problem might be. Last, spend time thinking about what the secret motivation behind the customer's actions might be. Keeping these things in mind, let’s fill our gym idea out a little further.
The ideal mom customer knows that keeping her body active increases her energy level, but can’t always find the motivation to get up early or leave the house late. She wants to be attractive for her partner, but it is more important to feel good about herself. She doesn’t have time for hobbies past crafting for the kid’s school projects and drinking wine. She depends on word of mouth referrals more than on any advertisement or trend. She trusts her circle of friends and their advice above anything else. She fears becoming old and being like her mother or grandmother. She wants to stay active and mobile well into her 80s. She also fears that she sets a bad example for her children if she doesn’t put a priority on healthy eating and exercise. However, she doesn’t want to take time away from her already short time with her children. Her challenges include finding time to get her brows waxed, balancing the family budget, and not falling asleep while listening to her kids read at bedtime. The best thing in her life would be a gym that made her WANT to go. A place to gather with her girlfriends, workout, and stay fit and not spend all day. She wants to walk in, do her thing, and walk out feeling like queen of the world. Deep down, on the inside, she wants to be the one on Instagram that all the other mom’s wish they were. She wants to feel like she has it all together.
WHOA…right? Are you already thinking about how you could market to this woman? How you could structure your posts, offers, ads, and content?
Let’s go one step further!
Step Three: Assign a name and a face
The last step is helpful in really getting a vision for who you are speaking to. The picture in your head (or even better a real picture you find to represent your in-brain image) will give you great guidance when decided what things to do further down the road. Ask yourself what kinds of clothes the customer wears, how they style their hair, and what shoes they wear during various activities. Also, think about what their name will be. It is important that they have a name, you will learn why in a minute!
You could even take it further (as far as you want, really) by naming pets if they have them. Kids if they have them. Describing their partner or spouse. Another key to relating to your ideal is assessing the vocabulary they use. What are the 5 most used words in their vocabulary? You do not necessarily have to use these words in your marketing, but the attitude behind them should be there. Last, who are their role models? Intentional or unintentional? An intentional role model might be Beyoncé. They love them, they want to be them, etc. An unintentional role model might be the PTO president or the most popular girl from high school. They don’t purposely choose them to look up to and compare themselves to, but they did it all the same.
Ok, let’s finish up our gym lady example.
Her name is Suzy. Her husband is a high school football coach. She works part time as an insurance customer service representative. When going to the gym, she wears activewear from Old Navy or Target. She has one Lululemon tank top that she wears more often than she should. She has a low maintenance hair cut that is trimmed every 3 months. No highlights. She mostly wears a ponytail or messy bun, except for Sunday Church or rare date nights. She has 2 kids, age 7 and 4. She shuttles them to school, dance, soccer, church kid’s activities, and playdates. She loves Netflix binges and has no idea what comes on real TV. She is in love with Fixer Upper and wonders how Joanna Gaines does it all. She knows she says Shit too often in front of the kids, but feels silly saying Shoot. She also says ‘like’ and ‘um’ more than she’d like but can’t seem to stop herself. She lives for wine on the couch at night.
Now, here is where the magic happens….
When you are creating a graphic for a Facebook ad, you ask yourself “What would Suzy think about this?” If she wouldn’t relate, then you redo it. If she would love it, then you keep it.
If you are writing a blog post about 5 perks of lifting heavy, you write it TO Suzy. You keep her in mind the entire time, THEN at the end, make your call to action directly to her. How is she most likely to respond? What does she want you to provide her in order to elicit her email address? What headline is going to catch her eye?
You see, the work upfront to create this persona is a bit intense but you HAVE TO DO IT. It makes everything from this point on SO EASY!!!
NOW! A freebie for you! ;)
A worksheet where you can fill in all of your key customer’s information and even a place to draw or paste a picture! I encourage you to put this up in your workspace or on your computer’s desktop. Always have this person in mind. ALWAYS!