Finding Your Ideal Customer

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Every business coach or mentor will tell you that before you can be successful as a salesperson, you need to define your ‘Target Market’ or your ‘Ideal Customer.’ We know, in fact, that large corporations spend thousands of dollars developing a complete personality profile of their ideal clients. Many even have an actual actor come in and perform for a day as the Ideal Customer to interact with the marketing department and help them target their marketing more effectively.

If you are a small solo-preneur business, you may wonder how much time you should devote to this and HOW you can do it correctly when it is just you and not a huge budget. While the large corporations may spend thousands of both dollars and hours to accomplish this, you don’t have to spend thousands of either. It is however, just as important for you, and perhaps more so. A large corporation also comes with a large budget for marketing, so if some of it goes wide and doesn’t connect with the target, that’s not too big a blow. If you have a much smaller marketing budget, wouldn’t it be true that how your marketing is targeted is much more critical? You want every dollar and hour you spend on marketing to be laser focused to exactly the market you are trying to reach.

There are some simple steps you can take and also some free or low-cost tools to help.  The first and easiest step is to identify your best customers right now. Which customers buy repeatedly, are pleasant to deal with, are very happy with your product or service, and most importantly, have referred others to your company? This is a huge step and cannot be over emphasized. If you can find 3 – 5 of these customers, first make sure they know how much you appreciate them! Next, see if you can find some similarities between them that may help you narrow down your market.

Here are some other thoughts that I hope will help you as you try to narrow down and define your Ideal Customer.

First, don’t be afraid to be very narrow. Start small. It is a mistake to think that EVERYONE in the world is your Ideal Customer. I know it may seem counter-productive to only focus on a small crowd when you want to make big sales, but trust me; it is the way to start. Find a small core group of folks who really NEED and appreciate what you have to offer. Serve them well, and create a base of satisfied customers who can’t wait to tell someone else about what you have done for them.

Another way to help you figure out who is your Ideal Client is to think about what you have to offer. Who needs this service or product? What problem are you solving for people?

Now let’s nail this down in concrete. Take the customers you already have identified, your thoughts and ideas from the above two paragraphs and create a paragraph about your Ideal Customer. Answer these questions:

  • Are they male or female?
  • Approximately what is their age?
  • Approximately what is their income range?
  • Where do they hang out online? And offline?
  • What do they read?
  • What do they listen to?
  • What do they search for online?

If you find more than one, that is okay, you can even assign names. Bob or Judy or even Kat for instance. You can also find images online that seem to represent the persona you are creating.

Of course this is not a one-and-done type of exercise. As you develop your products and services, you will be able to refine and improve your personas and find which of your ideas and thoughts turn out to be true and which don’t work for you. Keep creating, thinking, and digging for information wherever you can find it. This is very worthwhile work. The narrower you can target your marketing the more effective it will be and this is the bottom line; profitability.

If you need a little more help with this you might find these two tools recommended by John Jantsch helpful. First is which helps you to create maps of clients from an excel spreadsheet of your existing clients.   There is also Ask Your Target Market, or AYTM, which is an innovator in online market research. This tool can help you find your market through their built in panel of over 4.5 million people. You can also use their free survey services to use your current list to better understand your current customers.

However you start, just start. This is important to growing your business! And just for fun, share your Persona names below please.


This guest post is by Kat Simpson. Kat is a trusted eCommerce author, speaker, educator, and entrepreneur. Kat Simpson has been a successful eCommerce merchant for over 10 years; is an eBay Education Specialist and Gold Level PowerSeller, as well as a successful Amazon merchant. Currently Kat is the co-host of popular weekly eCommerce Podcast FBARadio.









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