Do you know who your ideal customer is?
Or do you just advertise to the masses and hope that clients start to trickle in on their own?
If you answered “yes” to that second question, you’re likely wasting money on advertising and shouldn’t expect to see much ROI.
Every business needs to identify their ideal client.
In doing so, you can tailor your marketing and communication strategies to attract the right people.
And by the “right” people, we mean the folks who will get the most value out of your product and are therefore the most likely to become long-term customers.
The best way to do this is by developing customer profile templates and client avatars. A little bit of research will go a long way for the future of your business.
So, keep reading to learn how defining your ideal client can benefit your business.
What Is an Ideal Client Avatar?
A client avatar is sometimes called a buyer persona, customer persona, or a customer avatar.
This is a detailed description that outlines your ideal client’s characteristics, beliefs, and behaviors.
Your ideal client is the type of person most likely to buy your products or book your services, and their avatar is the written story you use to understand that person.
What Goes Into Making a Client Avatar
A client avatar will focus on the “who” more than the “what.”
You’ll spend more time researching your ideal buyer’s lifestyle, hobbies, pain points, motivators, and goals. You’ll spend less time on basic information.
So, you’ll want to collect simple demographic information, such as your ideal customer’s age, income, geographic location, and education level.
But more importantly, you’ll want to think about their dreams, fears, the problems they encounter in their day-to-day life, and their primary sources of information.
Think of it this way:
Your ideal client avatar is much more about psychographics than demographics. It goes beyond looking at who they are on paper and aims to understand how they think.
When you understand your ideal client, what motivates and what frustrates them, you begin to empathize. Then, you can create ads that speak to their motivations and frustrations.
If your ideal client works a 50-hour workweek and never has time to themselves, an ad campaign that mentions being overworked and offers 30-minutes-or-less services might interest them a bit more.
And by finding out where they spend their time online, you can choose the right platforms to advertise on.
The opportunities are endless!
Client Avatar Template and Example
Client avatars tend to be neatly organized into templates with headings and subsections to break down the key information. A detailed description of a customer sits at the bottom.
You may even want to go as far as to write a story about your ideal client, give them a name, and assign them a picture.
Like this, a sample client avatar for a freelance photographer:
Based on this, you can assume that the best way to reach Karen is via text message and that her budget isn’t high.
What Is an Ideal Customer Profile?
An ideal customer profile, sometimes shortened to “ICP,” is somewhat similar to a client avatar.
The major difference is that your ICP focuses more on demographic information than your client avatar. Instead of making educated guesses, you use real data from your current customer base to create a clear picture of your average customer.
In a way, it can be more accurate than an avatar.
How to Create an Ideal Customer Profile
Most of the valuable information that goes into customer profiling will come from research.
The idea is simple:
If your best customers all share certain traits, your goal should be to find more people who also share those traits. As long as the pattern holds up, those people are more likely to buy your product than other people.
In order to figure out which characteristics your best customers share, you have to learn as much as possible about them. And the way you learn about them is by asking them directly.
Here’s the type of information that you’ll collect about your current clients:
- Age range
- Race or ethnicity
- Level of education
- Marital status
- Number of children and their ages
- Preferred contact method
- Interests and hobbies
- Preferred social media platforms and news outlets
- Favorite TV shows, movies, music genres, and radio stations
- Political or religious affiliations (can be controversial to ask, so be wary)
Since you’re asking clients about this information directly, the data will be more accurate than your client avatar.
There’s a lot that you can do with this information to better your business.
For example, if you’re advertising with email marketing or targeted Facebook ads, you can adjust the settings so that certain groups see them.
By showing the ad to customers in a specific age bracket, location, or with certain interests (ex. folks who follow certain sports team pages on social media), you’ll be more likely to reach your target customers.
Ideal Customer Profile Example
Your ideal customer profile might look something like this:
Keep in mind that the goal isn’t to define 100% of your clients through the ideal customer profile. There will always be outliers.
Instead, you’re looking to identify the most common attributes among the entire group. That way, you can focus your marketing efforts on the largest possible group instead of smaller, niche groups of potential customers.
It helps to organize your ICP data into a template, which can be found here.
How to Collect Customer Data for Avatars and Profiles
To build an accurate ideal customer profile or avatar, you have to include some research in your marketing strategy.
And like many researchers, your work will probably involve surveys and questionnaires.
If you can get your best customers to answer a few simple questions about their lives and buying habits, you’ll start to get a better understanding of your ideal client.
How to Create a Customer Survey
There are many online tools for creating custom surveys to send out to clients.
If you’re using multiple-choice questions, some survey tools will even compile the collected data into pie charts or graphs. This gives you a visual look at your client base.
Some of the better survey tools include:
Most of these apps have a linking feature that makes it easy to send the survey to your entire email list at once.
Certain CRM apps come with a form-creation feature for this very purpose, too. With Bloom, for example, you can create a survey form, send it to your list, and organize all of your responses. It’s very nice to have all of your survey materials in one place!
Tips for Conducting Customer Surveys
When surveying customers, how you ask questions is just as important as what you ask. You want to make sure you’re getting data that’s both usable and useful.
For example, you wouldn’t ask:
Are you 45 years old?
If a client answers yes, you’ll know their exact age. But if they answer no, they could be 20 or 70.
That’s a wasted question.
So, you’ll want to ask open-ended questions that don’t have a yes or no answer, such as:
On average, how much time do you spend online each day?
Also, don’t lump multiple questions into one question. For example, don’t ask:
What’s your favorite color? Why? What is your second favorite color?
Chances are, only certain parts will be answered (typically the first).
Instead, as these questions separately:
- What’s your favorite color?
- Why is that your favorite color?
- What’s your second favorite color?
- Why is that your second favorite color?
By giving each question its own section in the survey, you’ll emphasize its importance and encourage respondents to pay attention to it.
Respecting Your Customers’ Privacy
People get a little nervous about providing personal information to people they don’t necessarily know (a.k.a., you).
After all, they don’t know how you’re using the data, and they may want that information to stay private.
So, here are some tips on making customers comfortable when collecting information about them:
- Allow clients to skip questions that make them uncomfortable: If you’re conducting surveys online, don’t require all questions to be completed for the form to submit.
- Permit anonymous responses: Don’t ask for names or contact information.
- Offer incentives: Give a discount, free product, or some type of perk to people who fill out the survey by a certain date.
- Keep surveys short and sweet: No one wants to answer a 10-page questionnaire.
If you aren’t ready to conduct surveys yet, you can also use a tool like Google Analytics to monitor your website traffic.
This will let you know where your customers are in the world, which pages attract the most interest and have the lowest bounce rate, and even what time of day people tend to visit your website.
This will help you optimize your website for conversions, which will help you get more clients.
How to Create an Ideal Customer Profile Template
Once you have all of the data you collected through customer surveys, you can start creating your customer profile template.
Most customer profile templates include certain boilerplate demographic info, such as age, location, income, etc.
Depending on your business and the products you offer, you may include any number of unique data points.
To figure out which points you need to include, think about what trends you seem to notice in your clients.
- Do they live in a specific town?
- Are they in the upper class?
- Are they mostly dog owners?
- Do they tend to eat at a certain restaurant?
Include any point that’s relevant to your business and will help you create better marketing campaigns.
The Best Software for Making Customer Profile Templates
You can make a template in a document app like Google Docs or Microsoft Word.
The far left column can be the characteristic (such as age, race, or favorite TV show), and the column to the right can include the answers.
The best part?
You can save this as a template on your Cloud or Drive server so that you don’t have to repeatedly start from scratch every time you make a new profile. Or, you can make a PDF that you can edit online.
Then, you can transfer it to Bloom or another CRM and use it to create your next marketing campaign.
Why Knowing Your Ideal Customer Will Change Your Business Forever
When you send out ads on Facebook, Instagram, or Google, what settings do you adjust?
If so, there’s a good chance that you’re using one generic ad to reach your entire audience. And you may not even have a clearly defined target audience.
In other words:
You’re wasting money. You might as well be throwing your money into a wishing well and hoping for customers to show up.
Your current marketing plan is just not going to work for lead generation.
Personalizing Your Ads
Your ads won’t interest everybody, so you shouldn’t buy ad space with “everybody” as your audience.
Instead, you have to narrow down your market and direct your ads toward the type of customer who is most likely to buy your product.
For example, if you specialize in beach wedding photography, don’t pay to advertise to married couples — direct your ads toward engaged people!
On most social media platforms, you can adjust your settings to target ads to different audiences. In this instance, you’d want to target your ads to people who meet your ideal client profile.
You’ll choose their:
- Age group
- Gender or sex (if applicable)
- Physical location
- Interests (like beach weddings)
Thankfully, this is all information that you gathered when making your client avatar and ideal customer profiles.
Just adjust the settings on Facebook, and the right people will see your ads!
When you know who your ideal customer is and how to talk to them, you can start to expand your client base.
You’ll know who your product is for, what matters to them, and how to get their interest.
You’re going to be booking a lot of meetings, so make sure your time management skills are strong!