We all want to connect with the right people and provide service for those who need our help. But how to really know who those people are, where to look for them and, most of all, how to attract them. Building your ideal customer profile can be helpful here.
To grow a brand we need to know our audience. Finding out who we’re talking to is crucial to understand how to build our communication and how to shape our offer to fulfil their needs. Marketers use ideal customer profile (ICP) to make sure their message gets to the right people. They know that creating such a characteristic can save a lot of money and time. And in the business, we care about every cent we spend on promotion and we want to do it wisely, right?
A couple of years ago I didn’t know anything about business but I wanted to build a list of returning clients. I was struggling to get attention simply just because I didn’t know who I’m talking to. At the same time, I didn’t know what these people need and where to look for them. I ended up working with clients who didn’t understand my way of work, weren’t open to dialogue and expected things that I couldn’t provide.
I quickly understood that I’m addressing my communication to everyone and at the same time to no one. It cost me a lot of time, frustration and rejection. I learned my lesson and I quickly decided to take a step back and take a closer look at my business, my expectations and service I provide. I decided to choose a group of people I want to work with and create an offer that reflects their needs and solve their problems.
It didn’t only help me to understand them but also made me understand my own business and set up long term goals.
What is an ideal customer profile?
Simply saying is the representation of the people who would benefit from your service. Ideally, this’s a model of characters that you enjoy to work the most with, that share your values and appreciate your effort. Finding the attributes describing them help you to group your audience and target them for the promotion purpose.
Imagine you are running a small boutique in a mid-size city. Every day you meet many people. They pass by your shop and randomly decide to enter. Some people leave not amazed, some come to buy something and never return. But there are few people who come every single week and buy at least one item. You have a great chat, they appreciate your opinion and trust you when you say they look good in the outfit. After a while, you know more details about them. Their favourite colour and shapes – so you order the items that they will like. You know some of them have dogs and when the clients come to visit their pets stay alone at home, so you encourage the owners to bring their pets. You even offer some treats to make their furry friends happy. So your clients recommend your shop to their friend and you noticed that your clientele fits a similar pattern just because you created a place where people who value atmosphere, your knowledge and effort feels the best.
This happened because you spent time to reflect who your perfect customer is.
You can easily say who this group is – point out their preferences, describe demographic and emotional characteristics.
Why a small group is better than thousands of random people?
In marketing smaller target group mean better focus and better results. That’s why marketers build an image of an ideal customer that represents their target group.
For some people addressing small groups rather than go broader seems pointless. But it’s proven that narrowing target audience can do very well, help us to understand them better, address their pain point more accurately and create a stronger emotional connection. For a small business, it can be crucial and help to differentiate it from the competitors.
Start with a research
Many of us have a blurry idea who we want to serve and who can benefit from our products. But believe me, having everything written down can help you to stay more focus. That can make this fuzzy image clearer.
Start with writing down who can benefit from your product and with who you would like to work with. In the beginning, the range can be wider. Write down everything you have in your mind. You can start with simple demographics like sex, age, occupation, social status etc. Having a long list of these characteristics let you see the common thread.
After you have all the details dive even deeper. Use the internet to find out more statistics and reports about the industry, social groups your audience fits in and market predictions. That will help you to connect the dots.
Few questions to answer while building your ideal customer profile
To help you to put all the information in the frame, below you can find a few important questions you would like to answer yourself.
1. How old are they?
2. Are their mostly male or female?
3. Where do they live (if you run a local business you can be more specific)?
1. What’s their marital status?
2. What’s their financial situation?
3. Where do they work?
4. What’s their income?
5. What’s their educational level?
1. What’re their values?
2. What’re their fears and pain points?
3. What’s their personality and character?
4. How they interact with the environment and society?
5. What’re their lifestyle, passions and how they spend free time?
6. What’s their approach to a new experience?
Technology and media
1. Where do they find information?
2. What social media platforms do they use?
3. Do they share their experience on social media?
1. What relations they usually build with brands?
2. What do they look in brands and products?
The list can be even bigger depending on your brand and products.
Ideal customer profile in branding
In my practice, before I even jump to designing a brand identity I make sure I know everything I can about my clients business. Many of them just start their first company and very often don’t know their ideal customer profile. Instead of focusing on a narrow group of people they assume that their product is made for everyone. I quickly explain to them that knowing the target group is crucial to create a brand identity which will get to the people who will be interested to make a purchase.
Fear from narrowing this group is understandable but after the first presentation where I explain the process of finding the ideal customer profile the starting to understand why it’s so important.
Knowing ICP can benefit your business in so many ways – it helps you understand the strong and weak point of your offer, shape it in the way your audience will be able to relate to them, show them that you understand them and make sure they understand how it will benefit their lives.
Do you have any question? Contact me.
Hi, my name is Magdalena. Brand designer and strategist with a passion for creative thinking, travels, and coffee. I'm inspired by new challenges and everyday life. I observe, read and listen. That's how I learn and gain experience to use it in my works.