When you began your business, you may have started with a great product or service. It was your baby. You were sure that everyone would love it and buy it. You did all the work to bring it to life; research and development, marketing, and even raised the capital to get going. You opened your doors (physical or virtual) and then it happened…crickets.
What if I told you that your business started backward? A better way to start is with your ideal client/customer or Ideal Customer Avatar (ICA). Your ICA is not one specific person, but a composite of people who you think of as one person for the purpose of marketing and creating. Who do you want to serve?
Here are two reasons why:
- Your ICA has very specific needs or pain points. When you start there, your product or service will be the remedy for their pain. It may be your dream to sell dog roller skates, but if no one wants to buy them, you’ve just wasted a lot of resources – primarily time. What do the people you serve need most?
- Your ICA has a very specific budget. When you know what your client will pay for your product/service, you can price accordingly. If your widget will only sell for $19.99 but costs $30 to produce, you have a problem. This won’t be a business. It will be a charity – and you will go broke faster than you can say Dolorean.
If you can start your business with these things in mind, great! You’re off to a very successful venture. But what if you already have a business going? Why will knowing my client help me now?
Most importantly, you can course-correct. Who is using your product or service now? Why do they find it the answer to their needs? You may already know this, but if not, ask them. The longer you are in business, the more focused your ideal clients become. You can also test to see what price point your customers will buy.
Now that you have a clear picture of your ideal client/customer, how will that affect your marketing? Message. It may seem counterintuitive, but focusing all your marketing messages on your ICA will actually bring in more business, not less. The more focused your marketing, the more your ICA will identify with your product/service and brand. Your ICA should feel like you completely “get them.” Every piece of marketing material will use the colors, language, and worldview of your ICA. The truer the connection, the more loyal the customer/client. You will be sending out highly targeted ads to a highly targeted audience. This keeps marketing costs down.
Another benefit of knowing your ICA and marketing to them is you can tailor your message to only the kinds of clients/customers you want to serve in the future. Your marketing messages become a “trailer” for your business. In the theater, moving trailers serve to narrow their audience so that those who show up really love the show. When you love something, you tend to share it enthusiastically. That’s what you want with your product/service – raving fans that spread the word. Ever been to a movie that was nothing like the trailer? Big disappointment. We don’t want to disappoint our ICA.
So here’s an exercise you can do right now to find or focus on your ICA. Plan to do this at least every quarter.
- Demographics: age, sex, economic status, education, and geographic area.
- Tastes: Would they have a Pinterest board? What would be on it? What Facebook groups would they be in? What colors are their favorites? Music?
- Lifestyles: Do they work out? What hobbies do they have? Pets? Kids? Travel?
- More – what else do you know about them? Preferred social media accounts?
These can be clues, not only on how to market to them, but also where they may be hanging out. This can help you place your ads where your ICA is already spending time. Why post on Linkedin if your ICA doesn’t know what that is?
It’s never too late to get to know your ICA – it will probably be someone you’d really like to hang out with. It may be you!