Starting a business with your passion is great.

Getting customers who are passionate about your business is even better.

Truth is, almost every failed startup has a product. What failed startups don’t have are enough customers.

But it’s not only the number of customers that count.The secret source of sustainable growth is retention. That’s why defining and attracting your ideal customer is so critical.

Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs and marketers don’t take the time to establish their ideal customer profile.

They go with the first guess of who they think is most interested in their product without ever doing their research.

If that’s you, you probably experienced that:

• Your ads hardly lead to more sales
• Your content doesn’t generate qualified leads and
• Your social media posts don’t get much engagement

In this article, we want to help you to get a clear understanding of your ideal customer or what marketers call “Buyer Persona,” so you can focus on the customers that can lead to long-term growth.

In fact, if you avoid proper market research, you even risk going out of business completely. A study by CBinsights showed that ‘No Market Need’ is the most common reason startups don’t succeed.

Too many entrepreneurs are too busy being in love with their product and their brilliant idea, rather than making the customer the hero of their story.

Look:

By discovering your most valuable buyer and focusing on solving their problems, you have a chance to find the Holy Grail of every startup success: Product-Market Fit.

To make my point, let’s call it ‘Product-Customer Fit’ for now…

Apart from developing the right product for the right customer, you also need to find the right channel and create the right content.

Product <> Customer Fit

Match your product/service with your ideal customer’s needs and desires

Channel <> Customer Fit

Match your distribution channel with your ideal customer’s behavior

Content <> Customer Fit

Match your content with your ideal customer’s interests, problems and pain points

Unfortunately, everybody is just talking about ‘Product-Market Fit,’ even though it doesn’t show the whole picture…

Ok, so how do we find our ideal customer? Simple, we create a customer profile…

 

What Is An Effective Customer Profile?

 

Think about it for a second, what do you usually say when someone asks you about your target group? Probably something like…

• Women
• Between 25-35
• Interested in fashion

Ok, maybe you get a bit more specific, but you get my point.

The problem with this broad customer description is that you don’t really know anything about your individual customer. Their goals and needs are what eventually lead to the purchase of your product.

Everything you do, related to marketing, like paid ads, content creation, social media and even pricing will very likely not get the results you hoped for.

 

“Don’t even try to create content, run ads, promote social accounts or price your product if you don’t know who your ideal customer is.”

 

For that reason, we need to be VERY specific when we determine our ideal customer. Buyer personas help us with that. Here is the best definition I could found on the internet to describe  buyer personas:

Definition: Buyer Persona

Personas (or buyer or marketing personas) are fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers.

Personas help us all — in marketing, sales, product and services — internalize the ideal customer we’re trying to attract and relate to our customers as real humans.

Having a deep understanding of your buyer persona(s) is critical to driving content creation, product development, sales follow up and really anything that relates to customer acquisition and retention.

Hubspot

I don’t want to get too academic and discuss the differences between a customer profile and buyer persona.

Generally, they aim to serve the same purpose:

“Describing your ideal customer in the most detailed way” so that everyone in your marketing team understands what:

• Marketing channel to use
• Content to create
• Ad campaigns to run
• Language to use, etc.

 

How to Create a Customer Profile – Step by Step

 

There are no fixed rules for what your customer profile template should include. The goal is to create a specific image of the person you are communicating to with your marketing.

If you’re in the B2B space, think about the person you interact with and the one who makes the buying decisions within the company.

In most cases, you will have multiple personas that have different desires, needs, motivations and pain points. They read different blogs, are in different online communities and follow different influencers.

Also keep in mind that this is not something you do once. With more and more insights you gain from your customers, you will change and expand your persona template.

It’s like with every other relationship in your life.

Has it ever happened to you that an old friend told you something about him and you just thought…

Just remember:

You can’t know TOO much about your ideal customer!

So in order to create effective customer profiles/buyer personas for your business, you need to understand everything around that person:

Demographic

E.g.

• Name?
• Age?
• Gender?

Background Story

E.g.

• Did you attend college?
• Where did you grow up?
• What was your first job?

Goals, Challenges and Pain Points

E.g.

• Career goals?
• Most frustrating part of the day?
• What do you worry about?

Personal Life

E.g.

• Time spent at work and at home?
• How do you spend your weekends?
• Where do you shop?

Career

E.g.

• Industry?
• Job title?
• Responsibilities?

Personality

E.g.

• Introvert or an extrovert?
• Optimistic or pessimistic?
• Right-brained or left-brained?

Web/Purchase Behavior

E.g.

• What social media sites do you use?
• How do you use the internet to search for products?
• What sites do you usually shop on?

Finance

E.g.

• Net worth?
• Debt?
• Kind of debt?

Product Insights/Objections to Sale

E.g.

• Objections to product?
• What questions would you ask yourself before buying a product?
• How do you prefer to communicate?

If you want even more resources, check out the link below.

 

Customer Profile Examples

 

To give you some inspiration, check out these two profile examples for an eCommerce store…

Both personas are potential customers, but their personalities, buying behavior and motivations are completely different when it comes to shopping.

With this information, you have the opportunity to create customer segments and present different offers that resonate with them.

You can find a couple more here persona examples for online shoppers.

The Complete Customer Profile Toolbox

Get everything you need to determine and create your ideal customer profile in the next 24 hours and start boosting retention & revenue.

Ideal Customer Framework: Who is worthy of your love?

 

It’s the million dollar question:

Based on your growth objectives…

“Who is your best possible customer?”

Not every customer is equal. At least not from your perspective.

Lincoln Murphy from Sixteen Ventures created a framework to determine which customers will help you grow your business and who will cause higher churn rates and lower revenue.

What’s funny is that finding your ideal customer has a lot in common with finding your ideal romantic partner.

Just a coincidence?

Probably not…

You should love your customers too, as you need to build long-term relationships with them to grow your business.

You will see what I mean in a second…

Here are seven questions that determine who the kind of customer you need to target for long-term growth is:

1. Is s/he ready to buy?

Do you believe you can meet the right person at the wrong time?

The wrong timing can make the difference between a hot love story or landing in the friend zone, right?

Of course, it never happened to me…

Anyway, a prospect who is not ready to buy or needs too long to decide if your product is right for him/her is probably not the type of customer you want to focus on.

Ask yourself:

“What are the trigger moments that make someone ready to buy?”

We also call them Intent Signals.

That can be a moment in their personal life, like…

• Pregnancy
• College graduation or
• Wedding

Based on an online behavior, like…

• Specific Google search
• Reading a specific piece of content
• Downloading a free ebook or
• Signing up for a webinar

Or a company event, like…

• Recent funding round
• Reaching a certain head count
• Signing up for a new piece of software, etc.

Use these intent signals to decide when someone is very likely to buy from you and advertise to them or reach out via email.

2. Is s/he willing to buy?

To go a step further, your ideal customer needs to be willing to take the next step.

She might be ready to solve her problem (being single), but is she already looking for a new partner (Tinder)?

Think about actions that tell you that your prospects are willing to buy your product.

On the other hand:

“What are the red flags that give you a clear understanding that your prospect is not willing to take action?”

You need to be able to filter high potentials from time wasters.

3. Is s/he able to buy right now?

Money shouldn’t be an issue when it comes to dating.

Unless you fall for gold diggers ;)…

When you try to seduce your prospects though, it can be a bigger issue.

Make sure your pricing matches with your ideal customer’s buying preference and budget in both ways!

To even be considered, you can’t be too cheap, either. Otherwise, they get suspicious or you will attract too many price-based buyers who leave the moment you increase the prices.

4. What is your customer’s success potential?

The next factor of an ideal customer is the success potential.

In the dating world, it’s basically your ability to make her/him happy (whatever that means to you).

You might want to get these enterprise clients that pay you three times more than your usual customers, but if you can’t satisfy them, you shouldn’t focus on them.

5. Is it efficient to acquire this customer?

Look:

How long are you willing to wait until you get the first kiss?

Months, weeks, days… 30 minutes?

With business leads, it can take a long time nurturing until you ever have the chance to get a meeting and the opportunity to sell successfully.

The question is:

“How much money are you willing to spend to acquire that customer?”

Sometimes, a couple of bucks for Facebook ads are enough. Other businesses in the B2B space need to calculate an acquisition cost of thousands of dollars.

6. How often can you delight your customer? (Ascension Potential)

Nothing against one-night-stands, but sometimes it is so good that you want more from her/him, right?

Your ideal customer shouldn’t leave after one purchase either.

We are looking for someone we can cross- and upsell other products too in order to maximize customer success and our profit.

You’ve heard it thousand times:

“It’s easier to sell to existing customers than acquiring new ones!”

7. Who could become real fans of your brand? (Advocacy Potential)

Referrals are the reason for most startup success stories.

It’s hard to grow as fast as a unicorn if you don’t turn customers into fans like this one…

In fact:

If you help your ideal customer solve his problem in the most convenient way imaginable, that should be the natural response 😉

To finish my ridiculous dating analogy:

“Make your girlfriend/boyfriend tell everyone how great you are!”

7 Tactics To Find The Customers That Will Boost Retention, Revenue and Referrals

 

Ok, so now you know the criterias your ideal customer needs to meet in order to get your full attention.

But who is that person exactly? And where do we find that person?

Of course, there is no universal answer, but you will soon see what action you can take to get a step closer:

 

1. Analyse your existing customer base

 

That’s pretty straight forward.

Just go through your CRM, Stripe account or whatever system you use to manage your sales and sort your whole customer base based on revenue or customer lifetime value.

It’s very likely that you notice this common phenomena:

“80% of your revenue comes from 20% of your customers”.

Am I right?

Now, see what this customer group have in common based on e.g.

• Product needs
• Company size
• Company stage
• Personality traits, etc.

Add all of your findings to your customer profile template.

 

“Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.” – Steve Jobs

2. Analyse your website visitors

 

I’m 99.99 percent sure you already use Google Analytics to track your traffic.

But GA does way more than some people think.

It also gives you valuable information about your users’ demographics…

…and their interests.

Go to ‘Audience > Demographics > Overview’ and ‘Audience > Interests > Overview’ to see similar images like the ones above.

However, please keep in mind that maybe the majority of your current website visitors are not your ideal customers.

So make sure that you evaluate your data before you jump to conclusions.

 

3. Talk to potential customers

 

As the famous lean startup saying goes:

 

“Get out of the building” – Steve Blank

 

You can’t solve your customers problems by hiding from them.

Fortunately, sites like Eventbrite and Meetup.com make it very simple to connect with people who have a potential interest in your solution.

There is pretty a much a meetup group for every interest. Some are just general network events and others are around a speech with a specific topic.

Either way, it’s worth it for multiple reasons.

Start with small talk and show genuine interest in them before you annoy them with your interview questions.

Try to understand their individual pain points and interests without using it as a sales opportunity.

 

4. Survey your website visitors

 

Polls, like the ones from Hotjar, allow you to add simple, easy to answer mini surveys to your website.

You can use polls to get feedback on your content, ask for suggestions or let your web app users suggest your next feature or product.

Usually, people answer these polls anonymously, but you can also ask for their email address after they give you an answer.

5. Spy your competitors

 

Want to know who your competitors are targeting?

Of course, you can’t get access to their customer database, but various tools can give you good insights.

Based on their traffic sources and target keywords, for example, you get ideas that complement your customer profile template.

A. Facebook Audience Insights

We all know it:

“Facebook knows everything!”

You can’t make a move on the biggest social network in the world without creating some kind of data which gives Facebook insights about your interests and web activity.

However, for us marketers, it allows us to target a very specific group of people.

But even if you don’t want to run Facebook ads, you can get valuable insights through your Facebook business manager account for free.

Go to the Facebook Business Manager account for your business page.

If you don’t have one, open a free account here:

business.facebook.com

Connect it with your FB page. Then go to “Audience Insights” in the top left corner…

and type your biggest competitors in the interest section on the left.

 

The audience insights will give you information about your competitors fans.

• Demographics
• Pages they like
• Influencers, etc.

B. Social Insider

Social Insider is quite a new tool, but it is a game changer in terms of competitor analysis through Facebook.

The tool gives you very precise data about your own and your competitor’s Fan page and their users.

It even allows you to see what content gets the most engagement and who is engaging with it.

C. Follow.net

To understand how your customers are looking for particular content or products, it’s super valuable to know where they get their traffic from.

Follow.net shows you this within seconds.

A premium account is not needed, so give it a try.

It also gives you some more insights that might be valuable, too.

 

6. Find the most common questions

 

If you want to know what people are asking for on the internet to create better content and offers, then this tool has the potential to make your life one hundred times easier.

Buzzsumo Question Analyzer is a free tool that scrapes the internet to find the most popular questions people ask around a particular keyword.

Type in any keyword in the search bar and then…

Click on the “All Questions” tab to get the insights you are looking for.

7. Discover the most popular content

 

We consume content for many reasons:

• We want to be entertained
• We want to learn something
• We want to be motivated
• We want to be inspired

No matter what videos we watch, articles we read or podcasts we listen to…

It says a lot about who we are.

By discovering what content our competitor’s audiences like, we can get a very good idea about our customers’ interests.

These days, there are multiple tools to discover the most shared content.

Get started with Buzzsumo or Ahrefs Content Explorer and you will learn a lot.

The Complete Customer Profile Toolbox

Get everything you need to determine and create your ideal customer profile in the next 24 hours and start boosting retention & revenue.

Conclusion

 

Most of the tips in this article could be seen as basic marketing knowledge.

However, it’s even more shocking how many founders and even marketing managers don’t have a clear understanding of their buyer personas and expect a high ROI with their campaigns.

We know that creating a customer profile template can be very time consuming if you don’t know where to start.

So I hope that this guide can help you out.

You will see how much easier marketing will become once you have these insights.

Let me know if I missed anything and what you get out of it.

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Written by Paul Preisler

Written by Paul Preisler

Paul is a personal growth enthusiast, book addict and passionate about helping startups with digital marketing. And yes, he is also the co-founder of Growmodo.

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