Creating Brand Advocates: How to Identify and Attract Your Ideal Customer
No one wants to feel like they’re being ‘sold’ to – that’s universally true. So how do we, as business owners with bottom lines and sales goals, approach this truth?
Let’s take off our entrepreneur hats for a moment and think about ourselves as consumers. Think about a brand you connect with on a personal level – one that excites you, whose Instagram feed or website you constantly find yourself on. What is it about that brand that keeps you coming back?
Chances are, it’s because you feel like they understand you. They ‘get’ you. They’ve addressed another very simple human truth – we all want to be seen and heard. But not just anyone – you. It’s no coincidence you’ve subscribed to their weekly newsletter or podcast, or that you’ve recommended their product to at least a handful of people in your immediate circle. It’s great marketing at work. Everything from their tone of voice and frequency of emails, to the colour of their packaging and the influencers they enlist – those are all decisions informed by a thorough understanding of you, their ideal customer. They know exactly what will make you tick.
Let’s apply that same thinking to your business. By getting specific on who it is you’re trying to reach, you build the foundation for your brand. Rather than feeling ‘sold’ to, your customer can feel as though you are offering a helpful solution – and that’s where the magic happens.
Defining your ideal customer: finding your niche
Think about who you want to work with, and who will gain the most value out of what you’re offering. If you’re in the planning stages and have not yet launched, this is an excellent exercise to inform your direction. If you’re already in business, begin with your customer base. If you are running into common challenges such as your pricing being challenged, your value being questioned, or your product/service not being understood, it may be that your messaging is simply too generalized.
With your own unique offering in mind, create a customer description by considering the following areas:
- What are the must-haves in order to be a customer? This is the starting point.
- Who are they? Look at age, gender, location, interests, education, work, income, relationship status, do they have kids, etc.
- What makes them appealing to you? Are they in need of a specific product or service? Are they at a particular point in their lives? Do they have a unique challenge?
- What are their habits and values? Do they shop online only? Do they belong to particular organizations? Do they rally behind a specific cause? Are they driven by trends or are their purchases more methodical and conscious?
Now that you have a sense of who you’re looking to target, you can start to dig into exactly what will resonate with them.
Create an avatar profile
An avatar profile is a very specific outline of your ideal customer. This profile can be fictional, or it can be inspired by an actual person – perhaps a past customer, someone in your life (i.e. family member or friend) who fits the bill, or even a celebrity who you feel embodies the characteristics you’ve outlined.
Next, write out a bio for this person.
Give them a name, gender, age, and location. Describe, in detail, who this person is. Include their background, income, family, and interests. Do they own a home or rent an apartment? Do they live with their partner, alone, or with roommates? Also include more personal anecdotes that may be relevant to your business: what brings them joy, what do they find frustrating, what challenges do they have, how do they discover new information, do they listen to podcasts, what are their values, do they read the news, how connected are they, what is their lifestyle like, do they travel, etc.
Put it into practice
Your ideal customer is the heart of your business. Now that you have a strong profile of the kind of person you wish to work with or sell to, it will be a lot easier to engage them. By acknowledging that we can’t market to everyone, we have an opportunity to create real connections with our own unique customer base. Keep your avatar nearby. You could go so far as to assign an image to this person, so that you can truly imagine them and their when you’re making marketing decisions, working through product development, or writing website or social copy.
As your business evolves, you may have more than one avatar. The beauty of this kind of exploration is it allows you to identify new personas as your brand grows.
Ashley Cassidy Seale is the founder of Ruby Social Co., a creative communications studio for conscious lifestyle, beauty, and wellness brands. She has cultivated over 10 years of experience and brings her expertise to elevate her clients through PR, social strategy and content, and copywriting.