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Hi! And welcome to Startup Marketing. Today, we’re going to talk about your ideal customer. Also known as your target audience in the marketing world. Your ideal customer is exactly what it sounds like. They’re the people who you know your product or service is the “best fit” for. They will find the most value in your product or service. 

When you’ve got your story and your “why” down and you’re ready to start building your brand, having an ideal customer is important because it helps you narrow your focus. You can’t be all things to all people, so you’re going to want to choose a group to focus on. It will also help you build key messages, which we will get to in the next episode. 

Ideally, you’ll be able to niche down as much as possible. For example, instead of focusing just on “small businesses”, I focus on women-owned small businesses. I even have a smaller niche that I can speak directly to: the “mompreneur”. Jury’s still out on whether or not I like that term, but it’s used to describe women who are moms that found businesses. So, I guess that makes me a “mompreneur” too. 

The more you can niche down your audience, the easier it will be to speak to them and for them to relate to you. I can relate to the moms out there who want to own their own businesses because they want to be able to spend more time with their families; and they can relate to me. So, they make a natural target audience for me. I also have an ideal customer who’s a woman that’s starting her own business (a little broader than the mompreneur) and an ideal customer of a woman who owns her own business already, but still needs a brand or wants to refine her brand (even broader still). 

When you have an ideal customer in mind, you can make your marketing efforts more effective and focused. I’ll say it again: you can’t be all things to all people. Speaking directly to an ideal customer saves you money and increases your sales because they’re the people who can and will buy the most rapidly from you. That also means your marketing efforts are less expensive and we all know that we feel really good about anything that helps us be the most efficient with our dollars!

As a business owner, if you have a niche ideal customer in mind, it also makes your job a hundred times easier because you don’t have to recreate your marketing and business materials for several different audiences. You can spend your time creating high quality sales and marketing materials specifically for your 2 or 3 ideal customers. 

Now, we’re going to dive into some of the really technical details of what you do with your ideal customers. In the marketing world, you use your ideal customers to build these things we call personas. I don’t know why, but I get super nerdy about personas. I mean, I’m super nerdy about marketing in general, but I find personas to be really interesting to create. And, yes, I realize at some point I’m going to have to stop telling you that today’s topic is my favorite thing to do in marketing. 

Typically, you’re going to have 2-3 ideal customers you serve. This gives you some flexibility within the framework of those customers. For example, if your ideal customer is someone 25-35 years old, you know everyone in that age group isn’t exactly the same! So, like I said, having 2-3 ideal customers in mind gives you flexibility. From here, we’re going to work on building personas. Our goal with personas is to help you understand your ideal customers’ needs, experiences, behaviors and goals.

If you’re just starting out, creating your personas is going to be a bit more of an educated guess than an exact science. If you already have customers, you’ll be able to use historical sales data and other data to determine who your target audience is. We’ll go through both. 

For those of you just starting out, take the time to go and talk to 15-20 of the people you think are your ideal customers; this was advice given to me by my business coach when I was building Authentic. You’ll learn a lot and likely gain the insights you need that either confirm or help you shift your ideal audience. Or, if you’re like me, you’ll find that you’re talking to the right people, but their needs are different than you anticipated, and you’ll be able to shift your product or service offering as you work toward your launch to best serve them.

For those of you who have a business or customers already, you can use a lot of things to base your personas on. Take a look at the people who are currently buying from you, what do they have in common? If you have a website, use Google Analytics and Google Search Console (free tools) to see who visits your website, how they access your website, where they live and general demographic information about them. You also have access to talk to those customers! Send an email to ask them a little bit about themselves. Talk to them if you interact with them face to face. There’s a lot of ways you can gather this information if you currently have customers. 

Once you have the information on your ideal customer pulled together, you can start creating those personas. Personas are simply fictional characters that represent the 2-3 broad groups of ideal customers you’ve put together. 

To build your personas, take your 2-3 ideal customers and thoroughly think about things like:

  • Their age
  • Their income
  • Where they live
  • Their hobbies
  • Their challenges as it relates to your product or service
  • How you can address their challenges
  • Objections they might have to buying your product or service
  • How you’ll overcome those objections

There’s a lot to take in here, so you can download this list by visiting getauthenticbranding.com/resources.

Once you’ve gone through and documented these things about each of those 2-3 ideal customers, you’ll have built your personas! Having these personas created means you can efficiently:

  • Create really targeted messages for your ideal customers – remember, you’re not trying to be all things to all people; your goal is to be the right fit for the best person.
  • Be super efficient with your marketing – you’ll be able to better choose where to place advertising if that’s something you do (because you’ll be able to do research to find out where people who match your personas spend their time)
  • Send better emails
  • Tailor your product or service offerings

Just to name a few. Knowing your ideal customer and creating personas is another building block to your brand. It’s going to help you keep your product and service offering manageable and scalable while helping you be efficient when you’re creating materials. 

For example, if you own a boutique, your personas will drive decisions like what types of products to stock in your storefront. If you run a fitness program, you’re going to be able to make better decisions about the types of workouts you want to offer and how long they are. For me, my three personas: the mompreneur, the women startups and woman-owned small businesses drive the type of content I put on this podcast and my social channels. They also influenced my product offerings. When I first started building Authentic, I had a vision of being able to offer my marketing knowledge in the form of someone who DID marketing for small businesses. But, as I talked to women business owners, I quickly realized that idea was not scalable. The women I talked to definitely wanted someone to do that, but not at a price point that was realistic for me. Buried within those conversations, though, was the idea that they’d be more than happy to do their marketing themselves, they just wished they had someone other than Google to teach them how to do it well. Thus, the idea for my product offerings was born. 

If today’s episode felt like a combination of marketing and business to you, you’re on the right track. Marketing and business should really go hand-in-hand. Each one influences the other. So often, business owners treat marketing and branding as something completely separate from the “numbers” side of their business. But, as you can see, the business side of things greatly influences the marketing side. And vice versa. Good personas will be based on solid business research. So, your assignment today is to start doing the research, identify those 2-3 ideal customers and build your personas. 

Of course, I’m always an email or DM away to help you. Together, we can build something crazy successful. Get in touch with me via my website: getauthenticbranding.com. And of course, don’t forget to subscribe, rate and review my podcast to help other women like you find it. See you next time!