Try to Sell to Everyone and You’ll Sell to No One
The best product or service in the world is not enough to make a winning business. While the quality of your offering must be good, the difference between sales and stale business is understanding your ideal clients. When you understand your ideal client and know how to speak to them effectively, they will come.
Chances are, there are so many different people who you could help with your business. One of the biggest mistakes people make is trying to help them all.
The more people you try to sell to, the more competition you’ll face, and the harder it will be to gain footing. You’ll struggle to gain brand awareness and will find yourself up against the “big guys” over and over again. Essentially, when you try to sell to everyone, you’ll feel like you’re constantly running uphill without reward.
Instead, you have to focus on a small group of people that are the most relevant to your business. Your goal is to be the most relevant, the best solution for that targeted group.
It may seem like you can never really grow this way, that your potential is limited by finding a targeted client niche, but this could not be further from the truth.
You don’t need nearly as many people as you think to build a successful business. You need the right people who return to you time and time again. To find these people, you must know your ideal client.
Demographics like age, gender, salary, etc are factors of your ideal client, but they do not tell the whole picture. Pinning down your ideal client is about a lot more than listing off their demographics.
You should think of your ideal client not as a statistic, but as a real person. Rather than just noting the facts, dig deep to uncover who this person is.
- What’s important to them?
- What do they value?
- What are their biggest obstacles in life and how can you help them overcome those?
One thing to note about the free plan is that the subscriber to this plan has a commercial use limit for searches they perform on LinkedIn. So if you intend to use LinkedIn to search for and find prospects for your commercial endeavors, you might want to consider other plans than freemium.
Here are some features of the Free Plan:
- Save up to three searches, and you get weekly alerts on searches.
- Build a professional identity on LinkedIn.
- Build and maintain an extensive, trusted, and professional network.
- View and search for profiles of other LinkedIn users/members.
- Users can request and provide recommendations.
- Receive unlimited InMail messages.
Think of your buyer persona as a real person, it can help to create a character or avatar. You need to relate to, understand, and empathize with your ideal client, and building a story around them can help you do so.
Let your creativity and imagination shine through when crafting your ideal customer avatar. The best customer avatars may not have been a real customer. However, the avatars are created in a way that it’s hard to tell if Jane is a real customer you worked with or just a representative of your ideal client.
Creating an ideal customer avatar is a form of storytelling. This person should sound real, like someone who you’ve helped before or who would buy from you tomorrow. Instead of “we sell to young women with moderate incomes,” explain who your ideal customer is.
“Jane is a 32-year-old female professional who’s dedicated to self-improvement. She starts her morning with a cup of black coffee before heading to spinning class before work. After work, she cooks dinner at home before walking her dad. She is driven and focused, always looking for new opportunities to grow, and always on the move. She struggles with taking time to relax and living alone far from her hometown.“
As a clothing company, this description of Jane provides far more direction for your business than “adult professional women” or a list of demographics.
What You Sell Isn’t Your Buyer Persona.
While your unique value proposition is related to your buyer persona, what you sell does not define who your ideal customer is. That may sound counterintuitive, but here’s a great example. Two companies could sell something quite similar while still having very different buyer personas. Imagine two women’s clothing companies. They both sell women’s clothing, so wouldn’t their buyer personas be similar? Not necessarily!
Imagine brand A sells sustainable clothing that’s very unique, and brand B sells durable, high-quality pieces that are versatile for different occasions. While both stores would likely have women as part of their buyer persona, the stories for their ideal customers would be different. Store A could be focused on people who are concerned about the environment and seeking to use clothes as self-expression, while store B may focus on selling to busy professional women who have to wear a lot of hats (i.e. young moms). As you can see the differences in their ideal customers would affect their marketing and strategies.
Qualities of a Customer Persona
Okay, so a customer avatar is not ALL about demographics. So, what exactly will you need to define your customer avatar?
- Family size
- Education level
- Personality traits
- Psychological traits
- Ex. wanting to move up in their career, or an interest in volunteering.
- A name and face. Your buyer persona is more than a list, it’s an avatar. Find a photo online that visually represents your avatar and give him or her a name.
- Combining the information. Collect the details of your avatar on one simple page. Many customer avatar outlines include sections for demographics, fears/challenges, goals/values, etc.
- Tell the story. Once you’ve gathered the basic information, it’s time to tell a story about who your avatar is. This will help you better visualize and connect with your ideal customer avatar.
Discover Your Customer Avatar
Building your ideal customer avatar shouldn’t be a guessing game. You don’t have to come up with your ideal customer out of thin air. Rather than creating the avatar, you must search through the resources available to discover it.
If you’ve already started your business, look first toward your best customers. Your best customers are the ones who rave about your business, and who have come back several times. They have a high lifetime value and average order value, and they are just the perfect fit for your business.
Learn everything you can about the ideal customers you’ve already had. Find out:
- What they enjoyed about your business
- How you’ve helped them overcome challenges
- What your ideal client values
- Their interests
- What motivates them
- Who are they (demographics)
- Internal struggles
The next place you want to look is at your worst clients. Your “worst” clients are not necessarily bad people, they just aren’t a good fit for you. Take a look at any clients that just weren’t a match for your business, and find out why. It may sound counterintuitive to create an antithesis to your ideal client avatar, but the exercise can help you know who you do not want as clients and why. Knowing you aren’t an ideal client will further help you hone in on who is an ideal client. Look back and figure out why the relationship with that client was not successful, and why they weren’t a fit for your business.
How to Learn About Your ideal Customer
Tracking back through your ideal and non-ideal clients will give you a great starting point for developing the avatar. However, it may be a little confusing to know where to start. After all, you aren’t buddies with all of your customers, so how can you find out about them?
There are a few ways to execute market research to learn about your current customers. It may be obvious, but you should ask them.
Send surveys to your current customers via your email list or after a product order goes through.
Keep the surveys short and simple. Ask questions to find out:
- Their intended use for their purchase
- What motivated them to purchase the product
- What problem the product solves
Surveys are not a one-time solution, they can help you to check-in at several points along the way. Some customers may seem ideal at first, but turn out not to be a good fit. For example, right after ordering, they may be very excited about the purchase, but it could turn out that they never use the product. Follow up with a check-in email that asks how they are liking anything and offers a chance for feedback. This will further help you distinguish your ideal vs non-ideal customers.
Another strategy to use is social listening.
Consumers eagerly share their positive and negative experiences on social media. Take the time to look at what your customers are saying about your brand on social media. Look at the comments on your content, user-generated content, and your direct messages. Head to the profiles of “ideal customers” that are loving your brand to learn more about them and how your business has helped them. Social media is an excellent resource for ideal client avatars because people already share information about their interests, career, etc on their profiles.
Lastly, you should leverage the data you can gather from your website.
You can add an extension, plug-in, or pixel to capture more information about those who use your website. In addition to demographics, you can find out which pages people go to and what they click on.
Discovering your ideal client is the key to creating a successful business for the long-term. Your ideal client avatar will guide your marketing efforts, copywriting, and more to ensure that you connect with your ideal audience.
The best product or service in the world is not enough to make a winning business.
While the quality of your offering must be good, the difference between sales and stale business is understanding your ideal clients.
Far too many businesses pour resources into marketing and advertising before they even understand who they should be selling to.
Discovering your ideal client is the key to creating a successful business for the long-term. Your ideal client avatar will guide your marketing efforts, copywriting, and more to ensure that you connect with your ideal audience. What do you think?