I may sound like a wack-a-doodle, but I love to brainstorm a client through the journey of figuring out their ideal customer. I often hear from solopreneurs, “Well, my clients are anyone who is interested in my services.” While this sounds logical at first, it can make your messaging muddled and overwhelming.
The article today is a long one because I’m providing examples on how to apply the concepts I’m proposing.
Today, let’s step into the shoes of a solopreneur health coach named Jake. Jake is passionate about guiding his clients towards healthier lifestyles. However, as a solopreneur himself, he needs to balance his workload to prevent burnout.
So, how can Jake identify the right clients and why does it matter?
The Magic of an Ideal Customer Profile
Creating an Ideal Customer Profile usually results in rolling of the eyes, because this process is shouted from so many experts out there, it’s as common as the term “live your best life”.
Why Does an Ideal Customer Profile Matter?
Picture this: You’re sitting in your cozy home office, staring at a packed schedule. But as you scan the list, you realize you’re not excited about working with any of these clients.
Which option would you want for yourself?
- Option A: Having a packed schedule filled with clients who drain your energy.
- Option B: Having a 50% booked schedule filled with clients you love to work with.
You’re choosing option B right?
It’s not all about money; your mental well-being is paramount because if you’re working with clients that are just a big energy-suck, what’s the point?
That’s where your Ideal Customer Profile comes into the picture.
How to Create an Ideal Customer Profile?
Yes there are thousands of hacks, posts and templates that tell you how to do this. But I’m going to show you HOW to apply it to a core part of your brand. Your website hero section. The first thing people see when going to to your website.
Identifying your ideal customer involves some introspection and analysis.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What’s the gender of your ideal customer?
- What’s their age?
- What do they value?
- What’s their annual income?
- Where do they live?
- What’s causing them grief?
- What lights them up?
- Are they married, single, divorced or living common law?
- Do they have any kids?
- Do they have any pets?
- Do they work for a company or are they self employed?
- What’s their job description? or what do they do to bring in the moolah?
- How do they spend their spare time or do they even have any spare time?
- What’s their health like?
If you’re getting a little nervous thinking “holy crap, these are a lot of questions!”, let’s re-frame this: not only do these questions help you in figuring out who your ideal customer is, but the answers will help you create the copy for for your website, product/service descriptions, email campaigns, your blog and social media posts.
It makes content creation easier for you! who doesn’t want that?
With an ideal customer profile in place, writing this type of content will become more natural to you.
So, let’s break it down!
- What’s the gender of your ideal customer? — Knowing your customer’s gender can guide you in using language and references that resonate with them. For example, if your ideal customer is female, your content might feature photos of successful women, and touch on challenges specific to women in your field.
- What’s their age? — The age of your ideal customer impacts your content style and language. For example, millennials might appreciate a casual, emoji-filled tone, while older generations might prefer a more conversational, mature approach.
- What do they value? — This knowledge guides the kind of content you produce. If your customer values sustainability, your content could highlight eco-friendly practices in your industry.
- What’s their annual income? — Knowing this helps you price your products or services accordingly and tailor your marketing messages. For instance, higher-income clients might be more interested in premium services.
- Where do they live? — Location can affect the timing of your email campaigns or social media posts to match your customers’ time zones. It also allows you to localize your content, such as referencing local events or challenges.
- What’s causing them grief? — Identifying their pain points helps you create content that addresses these issues and offers solutions, establishing you as a valuable resource.
- What lights them up? — Knowing what makes your customer happy or excited allows you to create engaging, uplifting content that resonates with them.
- What’s their marital status? — This insight could inform the kinds of life situations you reference in your content. For example, married customers with children might appreciate content about balancing work and family life.
- Do they have any kids? — Parents face unique challenges, so if your ideal customer has kids, your content could address these, further personalizing your messaging.
- Do they have any pets? — Pet-related content can engage pet owners. You might share tips on managing a busy work schedule while caring for a pet, or even include cute pet photos in your social media posts.
- Are they self employed or do they work for someone? — Knowing your customers’ work status helps tailor your content to their specific needs and challenges. Content for self-employed customers might focus on productivity and work-life balance.
- What do they do for a living? — This information can guide the industry-specific content you create, helping your customer see that you understand their world.
- What does their spare time look like? — Sharing content that relates to your customers’ hobbies or interests can create a deeper connection. For example, if they love cooking, you might share healthy recipes.
- What’s their health like? — If you’re a health coach and your ideal customer is dealing with a specific health issue, your content can offer advice and solutions specifically tailored to them.
By answering these questions, you’ll have a rich, nuanced picture of your ideal customer that can guide your entire content strategy.
And to demonstrate this for you on the opposite side, without an ideal customer profile, your content and messaging strategy might look a bit different, and perhaps not in the most beneficial way. Let’s discuss why that is.
Sidenote: Some of the following may not apply depending on the products or services you’re offering.
- Gender-neutral — Without a specified gender for your Ideal Customer Profile, your language and references would need to be universally appealing. This might dilute the impact of your content and could make it less relatable for some potential customers.
- Age-agnostic — Without knowing the age group of your ideal customer, you might struggle to settle on the right tone and style. As a result, your messaging may not resonate as effectively with any specific age group.
- Value-neutral — Without knowing your customer’s core values, your content might lack a focus on issues that truly matter to your audience. You could miss opportunities to build a deeper connection with them.
- Income-agnostic — Without information on income, you might find it challenging to price your products or services appropriately, and your marketing messages could lack precision and relevance.
- Location-neutral — If you don’t know where your customers live, you’d need to take a broad-brush approach to content localization and timing, which could dilute your effectiveness.
- Grief-agnostic — If you’re not sure what problems your customers are facing, your content might miss the mark in addressing their real concerns, potentially making you seem out of touch.
- Passion-neutral — If you’re not clued into what excites your customers, your content might fail to uplift and engage them, and they may not find your brand memorable or inspiring.
- Marital-status-neutral — Without knowing their relationship status, it might be challenging to create content that reflects their life situations, potentially reducing the relatability of your content.
- Parent-neutral — If you don’t know if they have kids, you might overlook creating content that addresses the unique challenges faced by parents, missing an opportunity to personalize your messaging.
- Pet-neutral — Without knowing if your customers are pet owners, you could fail to engage this subset of your audience with relevant pet-related content.
- Employment-neutral — If you don’t know whether your audience is self-employed or working for a company, you might miss out on tailoring your content to address their specific work-related needs and challenges.
- Profession-neutral — Without knowing what your customers do for a living, it could be challenging to produce industry-specific content, making it harder to establish that you truly understand your customers’ professional world.
- Hobby-neutral — If you’re not sure what they do in their spare time, you might miss out on the opportunity to create a deeper connection by producing content that ties into their hobbies or interests.
- Health-agnostic — Without knowing the health status of your customers, especially for health coaches, you might lack the specificity in your content that could help potential customers feel that your products or services are designed just for them.
Without an ideal customer profile, your marketing efforts could become somewhat generic and broad, potentially leading to a less personalized and less effective overall strategy. In other words…boring.
Pros and Cons of an Ideal Customer Profile
- Focused Messaging: Knowing your ideal customer inside out allows you to craft messages that directly appeal to their needs, desires, and pain points. It’s like speaking their language, making your brand more relatable and trustworthy.
- Effective Marketing Strategy: With a clear Ideal Customer Profile, you can target your messaging and marketing efforts precisely, ensuring that your resources (time, money, energy) are spent in a manner that will yield the best results.
- Product Development: Understanding your ideal customer’s preferences can inform your product or service development process, helping you create offerings that truly meet their needs and thus have a higher chance of success.
- Lack of Direction: Without a clear Ideal Customer Profile, your marketing and product development efforts could lack focus. It will be harder to figure out who you’re trying to reach and create the thing that they need or want.
- Ineffective Resource Use: Marketing to everyone can be costly and time-consuming. You’ll end up wasting time, money and all your energy on things that aren’t getting the results you’re expecting.
- Generic Messaging: Without a clear understanding of who your customer is, your messaging will be so flipping boring and generic, making it harder for you to stand out to the people that you most want to work with. Your words will just blend in and fade into the background.
How to Apply This
Let’s bring Jake back into the picture and compare what things look like with and without an Ideal Customer Profile.
With an Ideal Customer Profile
Let’s assume Jake is a health coach focusing on helping busy professionals reduce stress and improve work-life balance. His ideal customer is a 35-year-old corporate manager named Sarah who is struggling with stress due to long work hours.
Here is how he answered the questions:
- Gender of the ideal customer: Female
- Age: 35 years old
- Values: Career success, health, balance, and personal development
- Annual income: Around $100,000
- Where they live: Lives in a bustling urban city in a high-rise apartment
- What’s causing them grief: Long work hours causing chronic stress and an unbalanced life
- What lights them up: Achieving her goals, making a difference at work, spending quality time with loved ones, and enjoying moments of calm and relaxation
- Marital status: Single
- Kids: None
- Pets: Has a small dog for company that’s low maintenance
- Work situation: Employed in a corporate firm, holding a managerial position
- Profession: Corporate Manager
- Spare time activities: Enjoys reading, yoga, traveling, and trying out new healthy recipes, taking her dog to the park
- Health status: Generally healthy but dealing with stress-related issues such as insomnia, fatigue, and occasional anxiety
Now, with this profile, Jake can more easily tailor his messaging and services to attract and serve customers like Sarah.
How to Apply this to your Website Hero Section
Your website hero section is the first thing people see when they land on your website and you only have a few sections to make that connection with the visitor.
Website Hero Section WITH an Ideal Customer Profile:
Headline: Transform Your Busy Life into a Balanced Life
Subheadline: As a dedicated health coach, I help high-achieving corporate professionals find harmony in their hectic schedules.
Call to Action: Ready to reclaim your calm? Start your stress-free journey today!
Website Hero Section WITHOUT Ideal Customer Profile
In this scenario, Jake isn’t targeting any specific audience, he’s a health coach for anyone and everyone.
Headline: Health Coaching for All
Subheadline: Are you ready to embrace a healthier lifestyle? As a dedicated health coach, I’m here to guide you on your wellness journey.
Call to Action: Ready for change? Begin your journey towards health today!
As you can see, when you have an Ideal Customer Profile in place, your message becomes specific, and likely to “click” with your well defined target audience. Without an Ideal Customer Profile, the message is more generic, which might appeal to a larger group, but, it may attract people who you don’t want to work with.
This time, instead of Jake, let’s bring in Jackie.
Jackie is a health coach focusing on helping new moms get their confidence back after having a baby. Her ideal customer features this new mom as married with her husband working from home in an office setup in the basement. They have a dog who likes to bark at everything, which causes the baby to wake up crying. She not only wants to lose the baby weight, but is struggling with stress due to long hours of being a first time mom.
Having an Ideal Customer Profile in Place
Jackie’s Ideal Customer Profile is a first-time mom named Lisa, who is eager to regain her confidence and fitness while dealing with the new stresses of motherhood, including a noisy home environment that’s impacting her baby’s sleep.
Website Hero Section WITH an Ideal Customer Profile
Headline: Regain Your Confidence and Vitality, New Mom!
Subheadline: I’m Jackie, a health coach specializing in helping new moms bounce back to their pre-baby confidence while navigating the beautiful chaos of motherhood.
Call to Action: Ready to regain your glow, mama? Start your transformation journey today!
Website Hero Section WITHOUT an Ideal Customer Profile
In this scenario, Jackie is a health coach for anyone looking to improve their health and wellness.
Headline: Nourish Your Body, Nurture Your Life
Subheadline: As a dedicated health coach, I’m here to guide you on your journey to better health and balanced living.
Call to Action: Ready to embrace a healthier you? Start your wellness journey now!
As you can see, having an Ideal Customer Profile allows Jackie to speak directly to Lisa’s unique needs and challenges, creating a stronger, more personal connection. Without an Ideal Customer Profile, the message is more generic and less likely to resonate on a personal level with new moms.
Wrapping Things Up
By working with clients who align with your strengths and passions, you’ll likely feel more fulfilled and less stressed. And let’s not forget — happier clients mean better testimonials and more referrals!
Think of the time you’ll save in the long run by just spending a couple of hours creating an Ideal Customer Profile.
You’d be able to repel the people you don’t want to work with…
- the ones that expect an unreasonable amount of services without paying for them
- tire kickers, the excuse makers -ones that monopolize your time by trying to signup for multiple complimentary calls
- people that don’t value what you have to offer and make you feel like it’s a privilege that they have approached you in the first place
- the ones that won’t put in the work and are only looking for shortcuts and hacks.
- and the ones that just suck the life out of you and you’d rather go for a colonoscopy rather than spend another minute working with them
Attracting your ideal customer and repelling the life suckers is primarily done at the first point of contact a person has with your brand.
- a Google search result
- a blog post
- the copy on your website or landing page
- opt-ins forms for your email list
- and your social media posts and captions
Anywhere that people have that first encounter with your brand and at that point, decide if they want to learn more about you.
So, while being a product or service provider to ‘everyone’ might sound good in theory, in practice, knowing your ideal customer can be the key to a successful and enjoyable solopreneur journey.
Until next time, stay inspired.