Oh the elusive, perfect, magical, ideal customer.
Most brand owners will start to form an idea of who their customers are after they’ve seen a few sales with the idea that the people buying from them right now offer information about who will buy from them in the future.
Now, I don’t want to say this is wrong – it’s one way to approach your audience, sure – but I will say that it’s a limiting approach to who your customers can be.
Creating your ideal customer profile and building your brand voice from there is one of the most potent ways to ensure your audience is ripe with buyer intent over time. It allows for you to focus your marketing to communicate with your dream audience. (Instead of the solely audience you already have.)
The Buzz About the Ideal Customer
This is one of the most common first questions we ask people on strategy calls: WHO IS YOUR BRAND TALKING TO?
The way we see it (and the way we work with our clients) is your branding and marketing strategy should be entirely based around who you want to be talking to. NOT who you’re currently talking to. This is what makes the ideal customer such an elusive unicorn.
It can be difficult to dream a person, or thee people, to life – but that’s what we’re going to do to help you manifest the customers and clients that you deserve.
Manifest Your Audience with an Ideal Customer Profile
It’s human nature to find people like ourselves (or a version of ourselves that we want to be) to be around, online shopping is no different. People want to shop with brands that “get it”. This is especially true for the audiences of sustainable brands. Right now, sustainability is such a buzz word that buyers dedicated to changing the world through conscious consumerism are going above and beyond to pinpoint greenwashing and to find brands they can trust with their loyalty.
To manifest your dream audience, you need to show up already speaking their language and understand their desires, fears, and opinions. That will allow you to create valuable content through a brand voice that touches specific needs within your audience.
So how do you show up on the scene with a brand voice that kicks ass and gathers email addresses? By creating a detailed ideal customer profile.
How to Build Your Ideal Customer Profile
Of course, building and using your ideal customer profile is a very in depth process, so it’s not possible to fit it into a single blog post (despite what you read on the internet). You can ask us to create your ideal customer profiles and tell you how to sell to them with our Holistic Marketing Strategy project, but here are the basics.
To build your ideal customer, you need to put yourself in the shoes of your perfect buyer. I call this your, “cast of characters” because it’s likely that you’ll want to pull in a couple different types of people. I usually create three different “characters” for the brands we work with and then combine their styles to create a brand voice and content strategy guidelines.
But – let’s not get ahead of ourselves there.
Start by asking yourself a few questions to really get to know your ideal customer and what they would expect from a brand like yours. Because this is a creative process of ideals and not necessarily based on a real individual, this process can (and should) take some time. Spend that time forming a picture about who you want your customers to be, right down to the dreams they have and the socks they wear. Then, when it comes time to build your ideal customer profiles, you’ll be filled with realistic answers.
A High Level Ideal Customer Profile
This is your most basic information about your ideal customers – it’s also where most folks stop in their audience manifestation process. Your high level informational piece is where you compile information about your niche, and stuff that is likely to be true about everyone in your cast of characters. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- What is your niche?
- What is happening politically, socially, sustainably in your niche this year that your customers would expect you to know about?
- What larger demographic typically buy from your niche? Note here that this is can also be non-sustainable buyers because you do compete with your less-clean alternatives.
- What problem does my product solve for my audience, generally and why do they like that?
- What are some general demographics or values that your ideal customers have in common?
- Examples would include things like: independent thinkers, trendy, health conscious, enthusiastic/optimistic about change, they’ll spend money on quality (or not), dog lovers, future thinking, sustainability focused, educated, affluent, etc.
Having your general audience information and niche laid out allows you to start thinking about the differences between your cast of characters – and that’s where things get interesting.
Split Up Your Folks
Once you have your larger demographic, get more specific on the type of person you’d like your brand to connect with and what their underlying motivations are for loving your brand. This is where I usually split my cast of characters. Two to three people is a good number to stick with here because remember – you can’t be everything for everyone. You are going to use these few very specific ideal customer profiles to create your brand voice. Don’t make it too difficult for yourself.
For this level of details, ask yourself questions like:
- How will my product impact their life?
- What aspects of my product are they stoked on?
- What is their relationship with money?
- Do they have agency to make their own purchasing choices?
- Elaborate on how some of the features in your high level assessment show up for this character.
- Example: if they’re down to spend money on quality products, why is that? Is it because they’re trendy and they want to show off? Or is it because they respect true craftsmanship? Or maybe it’s because their version of sustainability is buying once and using forever? THIS IS IMPORTANT.
Try to pinpoint here why this type of person would shop with your brand.
Go Deeper with Your Cast of Characters
This is the part that most business owners are missing in their ideal customer profiles. Here’s where you pinpoint why your ideal customers will love you enough to rep you – and that’s where the manifestation comes in.
Your customers are people. They have whole lives that they live 24 hours a day. They have fears, doubts, troubles, questions, needs, love, stress, reasoning, jobs, kids, families, friends—everything that you have—and if you want to manifest loyal customers, you need to communicate with these parts of your ideal audience.
It’s at this point, I give my cast of characters NAMES! I start referring to them as if they’re a person, because they are. Even if your customers aren’t exactly this profile, they can relate to these people – and they will respond to how you communicate with these people.
This is largely something you’ve got to create based on your gut, but here are a few questions to guide you to knowing these who these people truly are.
- What are they afraid of?
- Example: Not like, “spiders” but like, “they have been experiencing intense eco-anxiety and they can’t talk about it.”
- What are their interests and guilty pleasures?
- What role do they play in their social groups?
- What relationships do they value most?
- Example: if they value their friendships consider creating brand voice guidelines that have a friendly tone.
- Elaborate further on how some of the information you know about them generally and from their spending habits.
- Example: If they’re down to spend money on quality products because they respect craftsmanship, why? Did they pick themselves up with their own bootstraps? Were they raised that way? etc.
Skip to the Good Part – How to Manifest and Sell to Your Ideal Customer
Okay, the trope is true here too, you can’t just skip to the manifestation part. You may be thinking, is this all really necessary? If you want to manifest your perfect customers – yes.
Because this is absolutely a case of, “build it and they will come”. Once you have your cast of characters split out, get to know them. Then create your voice, imagery, and content guidelines as if you’re the leader of a group with these people in it. Because you absolutely are.
Who is your ideal customer? Tell us about him/her in the comments.
If you need help with this, or you just want to talk about how you can use your ideal customer profiles to make your voice guidelines and content, schedule a free call with us.