Starting a business is ridiculously hard in itself, but then taking the steps to truly define every detail...well, that is even harder. What is one of the most important details that you need to be 100% specific on? YOUR CUSTOMER! How do you define your target market? How do you determine ideal customer for your business? This and so many more questions will be completely covered in this blog post!
What is the difference between a Target Market, a Target Market Segment and your Ideal Customer Avatar?
Knowing the difference between these terms is crucial to defining your business.
Understanding your Ideal Customer Avatar is crucial to saving money, time and reaching your customer.
If you break down the time you spend with the wrong customers, and convert your time into money, you realize that it is important to identify the right customers.
What is a Target Market?
A target market is a group of consumers that you aim to sell and market your products and services toward.
What is a Target Market Segment?
A market segment is a group of individuals defined by similar characteristics and pain points within a particular market.
Those one or multiple pain points are what you are looking to solve.
A business assigns criterion to define this market segment.
This can also be called market segmentation.
What is an Ideal Customer Avatar?
An avatar is a fictitious representation of your ideal customer and is within your target market segment.
An ideal customer avatar represents a business’ perfect customer.
This person will want or need your products and / or services.
So now what?
You know that you want your business, or potential business to be the best fit within your target market in your market segment. So, let’s help you define each of these for your business.
Tim Ferriss once said, “It’s better to have 1,000 people that love you, than 100,000 people who think you’re just okay”
How to determine a target market?
Break down your target market first by the industry you are trying sell in.
The three types of target markets are:
- The consumer market: where individuals or households buy products or goods. Example) Groceries
- The industrial market: where businesses are looking to buy products to use to create other products or use within their business Example: IBM buying plastic for their computers
- The reseller market: where companies buy products at wholesale to resell them for a profit. Example: A big box store purchasing a perfume line to sell in their store.
Define which of the above your business falls into.
Identify what your product has to offer that particular customer.
Determine the pain points you are looking to solve. For example, a dentist is looking to target individuals that are looking to maintain their teeth. A retailer may be looking to target women to buy their clothing line.
How to determine a Target Market Segment?
Now, break down your target market into a smaller more specific segment.
For example, a retailer is looking to target women ages 25-40 years old, who like fast fashion and basic clothing all in one. They also are looking to refine it further to target those who are in the vicinity of strip malls and in a particular region of the U.S.
So, if I know who and where I am targeting my customer, then why do I need to define them as one, single person?
Why do I need to be so clear on defining who my Ideal Customer Avatar is?
The reason defining your ideal customer avatar is so important is because it will allow you create more efficient and effective marketing messages.
If you cannot frame your customer into one single person then your marketing efforts will be scattered.
Framing your ideal customer will allow you to be 100% clear on who your customer is and allow you to better market, promote, and sell to your customer.
So, your goal is now to….
Focus and identify one particular person rather than just a particular market or segmented group of people.
But??? Narrowing in on one person feels like it would reduce the number of likely customers by because it limits my customer scope!
On the contrary.
Getting really clear on who your customer is will only help you to become even more specific in who you want to sell to and how.
You will attract an umbrella of customers that relate to this particular customer avatar, but sticking to this process will ensure that your messaging is specific and clear.
If you already have an established business, you should be able to test or survey into your current customers to understand who they truly are.
However, if you are starting out however, identifying your ideal customer will only help you refine your business even further.
How to Define your Ideal Customer Avatar?
Now, if you haven’t already, get a pen and a piece of paper and work to write a detailed description of who your Ideal Customer Avatar is. Ready. Set. Read the following and… GO!
Step 1: Identify what is important to you.
Start by thinking about the center of everything you do, define what is valuable to you. This may be by defining your passions, goals, dreams. What to enjoy and what do you want to do with your time?
Your ideal customer may be a lot like you. If you don't know where to start, this is a good place. This is because your expertise is within your own experiences and journey. That said, you will be more able to understand this customer and their persona when you formulate them in a similar persona to yourself.
Okay, now what?
Reverse engineer your market segment.
Step 2: Put yourself in their shoes.
Most likely the product or service you are offering is because you saw an opportunity to solve a problem in the market. You were able to identify an issue and found a solution that you deem valuable.
Try to understand the problem that your ideal customer experiencing. Listen to these individuals so that you can best define what they are lacking. Identify what needs your product or service will satisfy. Determine how your product or service will improve your customers life or work.
Know what your service or product is solving and back out the customer's characteristics from there.
For example, if your service consists of being an online fitness coach and the structure of your business offers only virtual consultation, your customer is most likely tech savvy, they make reasonable money to invest in this service, they need accountability and they may lack time. They might be embarrassed to work out in public or would prefer privacy.
If your product is a bouncy house online company, your customer is most likely a parent that has enough money to hold a fun party for their child, so their income must be within the median market, they are loving, caring, want to make their children happy and have fun in their lives. Their values most likely center on family time and creating experiences and memories. They have a house or a space where they can fit it and are tech savvy as they are going to find you online.
So, what additional questions should you ask to further define your ideal customer avatar
Because you have already done some work within your target market segment you should have already defined the following:
- Marital status
- Education level, etc.
You want to understand who your best customers are. Envision the people that you want to work with, what do they look like. Would you want to hang out with them outside of business?
Your ideal customer should:
1) be enjoyable to work with the most
2) require the least amount of your time or energy
3) be the most profitable
- i.e.) look at the margin i.e.) the cost/overhead versus what you sell it for.
To further define your Individual Customer Avatars, ask additional questions like:
- What do they read?
- Where do they hang out on social?
- What do they listen to?
- How do they communicate?
- What industry do they work in?
- What are their hobbies?
- Who else do they shop with?
- How are they driven to buy?
- Where do they live?
- What are their frustrations?
- Where do they hang out?
- What excites them?
- Do they have kiddos?
- What do they find most valuable?
For B2B Ideal Customer Avatar ask these additional questions:
- What type of environment is their work-space?
- What industry are they in?
- Who are their customers?
- Where do they operate?
- Describe the size of the company? How many employees?
- What level of revenue does this business generate?
- Who does this person report to?
- What is their title?
- What skills are required in their job?
- Are there tools that are required for the job?
Once you have asked these questions, try to connect with this type of person.
How to Connect with your Ideal Customer Avatar
Obviously, when just starting your business you most likely do not have an audience. So, how then do you connect with your ideal customer if you are just starting?
The best way to connect with your customer is to first identify your direct competitors. Why? Because they most likely have a similar customer and you can find out more about this individual through social media, online, or in person within their business.
If you are searching online, find similar businesses that you think may have a similar avatar and try to get an idea of this customers issue through Facebook groups. Join groups that you feel will provide you with insight.
Try to go to their websites online and read the comments individuals are making on their blog posts or within their product listings.
If I already have a business, how do I connect with my customer?
Because you already have customers, find your favorite customer. In fact, grab a group of your favorite customers and if you are able to contact them through email, phone or social media, try to set up a quick call with them.
This is your opportunity to ask them questions about themselves and why they bought your product. Listen for cues as to who they are, what they like and use the bullet points above to figure out who this person is.
Remember, you are trying to further define your Ideal Customer Avatar (ICA).
If this feels strange that is okay.
Try to leverage this conversation as something new you are trying to launch or do in your business. This gives you a reason to reach out to them and show them their opinion is of value.
Once I have made a description of this Ideal Customer Avatar what next?
Now that you have the specifics of the person you are trying to target, name this person. Why? It makes them all the more real.
Then when you are working through your marketing you can think of speaking or marketing to this particular person rather than a group of people.
Your marketing voice will resonate even more clearly with this audience, and remember that your ideal customer avatar will evolve as your business evolves.
Know that ensuring you are targeting this specific niche person will bring a group of individuals and will only help you to set your brand apart from your competitors.
I have my Ideal Customer Avatar Set, but I am not seeing results in my business? What now?
Refine your Brand
Take a look at the brands YOU are currently loyal to. Why are you loyal, what are they doing that their competition does not?
No matter what it is, a great brand will focus on a specific aspect of their business and make sure it is done better than anyone else.
Keep in mind, altering the product may not be necessary, the variation may be the within the products’ marketing messages, marketing placement, promotions, price point, customer service, values or social or environmental conscious strategies.
It may also be that you need to alter your ideal customer avatar to be a more narrowed focus, you may want to repeat this exercise further.
Ready to Launch your Business and your Website?
Ready to launch your business and website? I have all the tools for you to take the next step! Click below to download my amazing, all in one guide that helps you from choosing your domain name, creating a business plan to launching your website and what plug ins to use!