Describing Your Ideal Customer

By John R. Aberle | Sales and Marketing

Aug 17
Presentation slide of Princess Cruises’ “The Meaningful Traveler”

Do you know your ideal customer well enough to describe his or her gender, age, marital status, parental status, geographic location, and political or religious views? Depending on what niche of the marketplace you are in, any of those and many more points could be vital to creating a workable ideal customer profile that enables you to build a relationship which leads to sales.

Why do you need an ideal customer profile?

In a marketplace that screams at you all your waking hours, you learn to ignore anything that doesn’t speak to something you personally care about. Marketing professionals call it “ad blindness.”

The main way to overcome ad blindness is to write about a specific issue that appeals to a specific customer. When you describe the very thing that she cares about most at that moment in a way that shows you understand, you have earned her attention. Your headline will draw her interest to your first paragraph. What you communicate in that first paragraph will determine if she resonates with you enough to continue reading.

What is the ideal customer profile?

An ideal customer profile is an in-depth description of what she is like, what makes her tick, and where she lives. There are three broad categories of information to look for when describing her.

Three Areas for Defining Your Ideal Customer Profile

  • Demographics
  • Psychographics
  • Geographics

Demographics

The most commonly used category for describing your perfect prospect is demographics, which are mostly physical characteristics though it also includes this like church and club memberships, education level, age, race, gender, income, marital status, and family size.

Psychographics

This subject applies to attitudes, like beliefs in God; values empowering people or not; beliefs in hard work being the way to get ahead versus the “lottery consciousness,” which feels that life owes her a living. Does she like variety and new experiences, or does she prefer to stay close to prior areas of experiences and the basic comfort foods prepared simply.

Geographics

This field covers more than location, like San Dimas, California. It includes rural living, small town, big city or a metroplex like Los Angeles / Orange County. Does your ideal prospect live in the heart of the city or a suburb? Is she in an affluent neighborhood or an economically depressed one? Does she live in her own single-family home, an apartment or a condo in a high rise?

(Hopefully, you realize that your ideal customer could be a man.)

Princess Cruises and Psychographics

Recently, Princess Cruise Lines decided to research their ideal customer profile. In the 2016 Simmons Report, they found that psychographics were the important differentiators that determined who was more likely to choose Princess.

Meet the meaningful traveler

  • 91% love the idea of traveling abroad
  • 81% like to travel the unbeaten path
  • 76% would rather spend on experience rather than things
  • 71% like to vacation somewhere different every time

You can see from this that Princess Cruises can more wisely target their advertising budget to places that will appeal to people interested in traveling abroad, magazines and TV shows that show places off the beaten path, and sites where they talk about travel and both new and unique experiences.

Additionally, this psychographics information enables them to know what to talk about in their emails to past customers, in their commercials and social media postings, as well as in any print advertising. This is very different from the domestic traveler who just wants to go to his vacation home in the mountains every year or who returns home to visit family on every vacation.

PowerPoint image of a Venn Diagram for ideal customer profile of an Aerospace Manufacturer

​How to determine your ideal customer profile

Assuming you choose to avoid paying thousands of dollars to have a professional firm research your ideal customer profile, here are some of the steps that you can take yourself:

  • Look at your existing customer list to identify the top 20% of your customers*
  • Ask your existing customers why they chose you
  • Use retargeting to identify the characteristics of the people who visit your site (retargeting companies will identify those characteristics by tracking them using cookies on your site)
  • Look at sites who target similar audiences to yours, even your competitors, then use their sites for Facebook to pick their visitors for your ad campaigns
  • Participate in groups and forums to identify people and companies for your ideal customer profile

*The 80/20 Rule, known as the Pareto Principle, states that 80% of your business will come from 20% of your customers so look at your reports to identify what characteristics they had in common that attracted them to you and your products.

How to Use Your Ideal Customer Profile

Once you have identified the demographics, psychographics and geographics, if appropriate to your niche and market, of your ideal customer’s avatar then you can use that information in a variety of ways so as to build your relationship with her.

  • Participate in Organizations Where They Do
  • Participate in Social Networking Sites Where They Do
  • Read What Interests Them on Forums, Social Networking Sites
  • Read Trade Publications They Read
  • Become a Speaker at Industry Events
  • Write to the “one” person, the avatar, who matches that profile so as to make your material personal to her
  • Write you unique selling proposition to that avatar’s needs and wants

It’s ironic, but by writing to one person, that avatar, instead of writing to a group, you will come across more personable and sound more like you understand her problems and desires. She will find it easier to relate to you. And everyone who matches her characteristics will feel like you are writing to them.

Armed with that information, you can then write your unique selling proposition or USP to appeal to what people fitting this avatar care about. The USP tells them what is unique or special about your products, services, or business that makes you their ideal choice.

Using the USP, you can write your questions and benefit statements to appeal to those concerns. Your prospect buys when she sees a product fit her interests and needs – provided she trusts you. Showing you understand her and her situation then answering the question, “What’s in it for me?” eventually will build that trust. When she feels good about what your products and services delivers her, she will seek you out.

Knowing the avatar for your ideal customer enables you to invest your time, effort, and money where she is likely to hang out so she will see your messages frequently enough to become comfortable with you and your products and services.

Takeaways

Identifying your ideal customer profile enables you to write to a specific problem thus making your content standout from the crowd to people matching that avatar.

Major corporations use these ideal customer profiles to aim their marketing efforts to appeal to specific market segments. Princess Cruise Lines recently identified the psychographics of the “meaningful traveler” to focus on that avatar’s particular interests.

The five points mentioned about will start you on your campaign to describe your own ideal customer profile or avatar.

Summary

So, to get the most impact from your marketing campaign, first decide what your best customers, your top 20%, have in common. Craft your ideal customer profile or avatar from these common characteristics. When you present your solution, stay focused on the benefits to her. In your marketing materials, show you understand her needs and wants; speak to her concerns. This focus will help you build a relationship thus generating the most sales for your time, effort, and money.

Open your heart in selling,

John's signature in Rage Italic script

John R. Aberle

Aberle Enterprises

Image of How Relationship Selling Rewards Small Businesses book cover for 12 Types of Content Marketing’s #12 Books

P.S.

Do you love taking care of your customers and prospects? If you yearn to build more long-term business connections with your customers, get your copy of the Amazon Kindle eBook: 

How Relationship Selling Rewards Small Businesses

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About the Author

I have a strong love for small businesses, especially brick and mortar companies. After an 18-year career in sales and marketing, I started my own service company, which I grew in both sales and profits for the first five years. In my sixth year, the bottom dropped out of the printer market such that it made more sense to sell my assets and return to Southern California. There I went to work for an international small business consulting company. I spent over three years on the road with them helping small businesses to become more profitable and better managed. I then started my own company specializing in sales and marketing consulting, coaching and training. My emphasis is on heart-centered, relationship selling that empowers prospects to make their own choices.