Picture this: you’re walking into a party, and you’re not quite sure who’s attending.
What do you do?
Do you just start randomly chatting away, hoping someone will connect with what you’re saying? Probably not. Just like at that party, in the business world, it’s important to know your audience before you start speaking with them.
You can do this by creating a customer profile for your business.
Who is your ideal client?
If we sat down today, and I asked you to tell me everything you know about your ideal customer, how much could you tell me? Can you go into detail about why they buy from you?
When you are specific in how you talk to your customer, you’ll attract more of your ideal clients who’ll connect with your messages.
How do you become more specific? By getting to know your customer.
How do you get to know your customer? By creating a customer profile in your business.
A customer profile should be the starting point for all business marketing activities.
What’s a customer profile?
A customer profile is a document that has every bit of data and information you know about your ideal client. It goes beyond a list of their name, age, income to cover their buying behaviour, how they consume and share information, what they are trying to achieve and what keeps them up at 2am.
For example, if you know your ideal customer uses Instagram, it would be better to focus your marketing efforts on it, instead of TikTok or LinkedIn.
Why is it important to have a customer profile?
Imagine designing a stunning outfit without knowing who it’s for – would you end up with a tailored masterpiece or a mismatched mess? The same goes for your business. Understanding your customers helps you create the perfect products and services that resonate with their desires, problems, and aspirations.
What’s the difference between a customer profile and your target market?
A target market is a group of customers who are interested in what you’re selling. For example, a school is a target market for a school photos business. However, the photographer’s ideal customer could be a female parent who’s tired of stashing away her children’s photos in a cardboard folder. If they were introducing a new, digital photos download service, the business could offer it to her, IF they knew this information.
When defining your ideal client, you’re thinking of and speaking to one person only. When defining your target market, you’re thinking of a group of customers who buy the same product or service for different reasons. For example, the target market for a bakery is people who love cake. However, one customer buys cake for themselves because they like to treat themselves after a long week of work, while another customer buys the same cake for a party because they’ve heard it’s popular with a celebrity they follow.
The messaging and promotions the bakery creates will depend on which of the two customers above is their dream customer.
Now that you know what’s an ideal client is, how do you create a customer profile?
3 methods to use to create your ideal customer profile
Alright, time for some detective work – but trust me, it’s the fun kind! Here’s how to get to know your customers in a way that doesn’t involve confusing spreadsheets or intimidating graphs.
Here are 3 methods that I use to create a picture of my client’s dream customer.
- Voice of customer research.
I always speak to 2-3 recent clients that had an amazing experience with my client’s business. I ask questions designed to uncover what their situation was before, the challenges they faced, how they found my client etc.
Want a list of all the questions I ask during voice of customer research? Download my workbook.
- Sources for desk research
Here are my go-to sources for finding out what customers think of my client’s product or business. I’m looking to find common themes or problems and a peek into their lifestyle, preferences, and the stuff they’re passionate about.
– Client testimonials
– Forums like Quora and Reddit
– Discussions button on Google
– Social media comments mining
– YouTube comments
– Product review websites
– Competitor testimonials
– Amazon comments mining
3. AI-generated customer profiles
Recently, I added ChatGPT to my customer profile creation process. It’s a good start point, but I’ll always match what it gives me against actual client interviews to make sure it’s accurate.
If you’d like the list of prompts I use for ChatGPT, it’s included in my workbook.
Which customers should you interview for voice of customer research?
To get a full picture of the customer, their motivations, desires and challenges, I recommend interviewing:
- A new customer
- A long-time customer
- An ex-client.
Talking to the above mix of clients will help you find out:
• what you’re doing well
• how you stand apart from your competitors
• what attracts a new buyer to your business
• any content gaps
• if there’s opportunity to develop a new service or product.
By speaking to an ex-customer, you’ll find out what made them leave and if there’s any room for improvement in how you’re running your business.
My tip is to have a maximum of 3 customer avatars, otherwise it can get confusing!
The need for multicultural customer avatars
At a copywriting conference last year, I spoke about how customer avatars have evolved from being about Sue, Robert or George and why businesses need to recognise it and adapt.
Your business may have customers who hail from multicultural backgrounds. You need to keep this in mind when creating a customer profile in your business or marketing plan.
Clients who come from ethnic backgrounds will have a different set of problems to solve. They might behave differently in how they respond to your marketing messages. Think about the images you’re using in your business, are they inclusive? What about the language you’re using?
To avoid making assumptions, sit down with a multicultural staff member or customer to understand what drives them to buy your product, and if there’s language currently being used which could be triggering or exclusive.
Having a documented customer avatar for your business means you’re not starting from scratch each time you or your team want to write a blog or create a product or service. Keep adding to it every time you get a new piece of intel about your client. It shouldn’t be something that’s ticked off, and then forgotten. The customer profile document should be updated frequently and circulated to anyone in-charge of creating content, even your VA.
Use the language your customers use, create content that resonates with their interests, and be there to solve their problems. Your business isn’t just about products and services – it’s about building relationships.
Knowing your customers means you can target your marketing efforts where they’ll have the most impact, saving you time and resources.
What to do next
If you’re interested to learn more about how customer avatars can help you drive profitable marketing campaigns, you can listen to my interview with Jacqui Noonan from White Deer Graphic Design.
Need a template to create a customer profile for your business? My workbook, How to create your ideal customer profile will help you get to know your customer so it informs your content and marketing. Download it here.