As a coach and consultant, I see a lot of businesses and brands struggling with the same common marketing mistake.
The problem usually shows up in statements like:
- I’m not sure what to write anymore.
- My content doesn’t seem to be connecting like it used to.
- I’m tired of creating content because it feels like I’m saying the same thing over and over.
Have you ever felt any of those? I surely have.
Almost without fail, whenever one of those problems arises, it’s because the person I was talking to has lost sight of, or never identified, their ideal customer.
I know that sounds simple — and it is — but when you’re intimately connected to your ideal customer, you’re set up to create the best content, products, and business possible.
It’s a step that so many people skip because it feels elementary, but I can tell you from first-hand experience that brands intimately connected to their ideal customer are the ones who see extreme growth.
What is an ideal customer?
An ideal customer has three factors:
- The ideal customer has a problem.
- The ideal customer is aware of this problem.
- The ideal customer has the means and desire to solve this problem.
It’s important that your ideal customer hits all of these factors.
Without a problem, you have nothing of value to offer.
Without an awareness of the problem, the customer won’t know they need your offer.
Without the means and desire to solve the problem, they’ll see you as unattainable.
How do I identify my ideal customer?
Understanding the three ideal customer factors will take you a long way, but it’s also important to create an ideal customer image (or avatar).
(And this is where I lose so many people. Probably because this feels like a 7th-grade social studies project. But I cannot stress enough how important this is to your marketing success.)
The first thing I do to create an ideal customer image is ask my clients why they started their business.
People often start businesses to solve their own problems.
That was the case for ConvertKit Founder and CEO Nathan Barry.
Nathan created ConvertKit because he was tired of using email marketing tools that limited his ability to connect with his audience. (At the time, that was Mailchimp.)
To solve this problem, Nathan created his own email marketing tool and called it ConvertKit. The entire company was built to solve a problem Nathan was having.
But he assumed other course creators were also having the same issues, so he started to sell his new software to others like him.
In this case, Nathan was his own ideal customer.
This is the case for many, many solo-entrepreneurs, and if this is you, you’re in luck. Creating an ideal customer image will be really easy for you.
I call this the “Younger Version of Yourself” Ideal Customer.
If you aren’t in that exact scenario, you can create an ideal customer image by asking these questions:
- Who is my #1 customer?
- Is there anything about this customer, and my experience with them, that I would change?
- Who is my least favorite customer, and what about them would I change?
From here, you can create an actual picture of your ideal customer:
- What problem are they trying to solve?
- What makes them a great customer?
- Are there important demographic traits that make them a great customer?
At this point, I would name your ideal customer, and even try to find a photo of them you can post somewhere easy to see when you write.
The fear of committing to an ideal customer image
I have to admit, this has happened to me many times.
The fear of committing usually shows up in two ways:
If I commit to this ideal customer image, I’ll limit the amount of people I can serve.
I might commit to the wrong ideal customer image, and then I’ll be stuck or have wasted a lot of time.
Remember, committing to an ideal customer image is just a trick you need to play in your mind, to help you create the best type of content for your business.
This trick will allow you to do two incredibly important things:
- Create clarity in your writing.
- Tap into empathy, which will help you write more meaningful content.
The practice of empathy is the first step to becoming a better writer
Now that you have the picture, either of your younger self or the ideal customer you’ve created, you can begin a practice of empathy.
Before you write anything, close your eyes and truly put yourself in the shoes of your ideal customer. Connect with the problem they’re trying to solve.
What does it feel like to be stuck with this problem?
How are you feeling stuck?
What types of things might I need to overcome this problem?
This starting point will typically give you the momentum you need to get moving again with great content.
But, you can also just ask some of your current customers
If you’re lucky enough to have ideal customers right now, you can send them a message and ask them a few questions:
- Why did you choose me over my competitor?
- What aspect of my product/service has been the most helpful to you?
- How can I better serve you — in ways that I’m currently not?
- What is the biggest problem you’re trying to solve in the next 6 months?
Hearing the answers to those questions from your current customers will also help spark relevant content for your brand.
Over to you …
Have you ever made this common marketing mistake?
How do you get to know your ideal customers?
Any tips for building avatars that inspire you to create effective content?
Let us know in the comments below.