What You Can Get Done in a Week: Customer Profiles

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Customer avatar. Customer profile. Persona. It’s all Greek to me. This is one of the hardest pieces of the marketing puzzle for entrepreneurs. We can’t seem to figure out who our ideal customers are. We are so stuck on how we can help everyone but know we need to narrow it down to one person and that’s just… hard.

This is the one thing I see that makes businesses either soar to the top fast, or keep spinning their wheels to make ends meet. The businesses that figure this out are successful because they make products + services specifically for their ideal clients. They talk the same talk of their clients, walk the same walk as their clients and in return their clients spend a shit ton of money.

Map out your customer profiles in a week

I’ve signed up + gone through lots of online programs and every single one of them teach you that understanding your ideal customers is the key to creating an audience, selling more + making more money. Every. Single. One. But what all those programs are lacking is a systematic way of showing you how to research, interpret the data + develop the ‘avatar’. They all tell you: ask lots of questions, send out a survey to your email list, post a poll on social media. Ok, great. What do I ask? How do I engage customers to actually give me information? Are these the places that my people are really hanging out? This all creates more questions than answers.

First + foremost, let’s just say what a customer avatar or profile is + why they are important. In the marketing research world it’s called a Persona and it's a noun meaning, ‘the aspect of someone’s character that is presented to or perceived by others.’ Companies develop a set of customer personas as a way to help them communicate to different buyers with what products + services they may be interested in. Basically, personas help businesses qualify customers so that they can sell efficiently.

Since we are knocking things off of your to-do list in a week. Let’s work together to create your customer profiles.

How to collect customer profile data when you have a small list or low engagement.

While sending out a survey to your list is one of the best methodologies for asking what your audience wants to hear from you, sometimes entrepreneurs that are just starting out don’t have a list or at least one large enough to get relevant data. And sometimes you just have a quiet audience who are there reading + paying attention but just aren’t active comment posters or poll takers. In these cases, I recommend a methodology called Ethnography, which is an observation process. Ethnography is rooted in Anthropology, the study of cultures, and strictly speaking is observing the habits + behaviors of people. Many researchers observe their audience + then intercept them to ask specific questions. You can totally do this in your business too. Here are some interesting way to observe your customers:

  • Social Media Groups: Let’s face it, social media is here to stay + an important communication channel for many people. Yes, we all get sucked into the social media vortex + get nothing accomplished. But flip that around and use that time to observe what other people of doing, reading + seeing. Rather than scrolling through your feed to find things that peak your interest, get into the mindset of your work to see where people are showing up + engaging. Get curious about people while your in the social media vortex.
  • In-Store Shopping: Go to stores + observe people shopping. What are they buying? Why? How do they perceive themselves when they buy certain things? What are they going to accomplish by buying that thing? Obviously, this works best for physical product companies but service businesses can learn something here too that relates to its brand positioning. If you are a service business that wants to position as luxury observe how people shop luxury products + then develop brand strategies that give that same experience.
  • Co-Working Spaces: This has 2 benefits. One, you get off of your couch + get to work someplace else for a change. And two, you can observe how others are moving through their day, who they interact with, where their eyeballs are throughout the day. While this works wonders for B2B business services + products this can work for those physical products too, like observing what people are shopping for online and what times of day do they do it?

There are so many ways to gather information so you can find trends in your observations + develop imaginary friends with names that epitomize your ideal customers. When developing them my rule of thumb is to keep it simple + only develop 3-5 customer profiles. Otherwise it gets overwhelming and your branding + marketing messages get watered down. Map out your customers' pain points + what problems are they trying to solve. Then you create your products + services to solve those problems. At this point the marketing + communication just comes easy because you're speaking their language + they just get it. There is no way they aren’t going to buy from you now because you’ve just solved their problem.

What are some techniques you have used to stalk your ideal customers? Let’s work together for a week and create your customer profiles + how you can build better products + services based on them.