If you want your marketing to be successful, it’s important to know who you’re trying to reach. To be effective, you want to get really clear on all the essential information you can refer to when developing content messaging, campaigns, and other forms of content marketing. Understanding who you are trying to target will help you create marketing campaigns that convert. To do this, you have to figure out your ideal customer. 

Your ideal customer is the person who is most likely to be satisfied with their purchase, leave a positive review, and become a repeat customer. They are also most likely to become an advocate for your business, spreading the word to others about their experience with you. In order to grow your business quickly, it is crucial to know who your ideal customer is. Defining your ideal customer can help you effectively align your products/services, create better marketing strategies, and expand your customer base. For example, when you know who your ideal customer is, you can effectively segment your SMS marketing campaigns to reach customers in a more relevant, personal way. 

While it takes some research, getting started is simple. Check out five ways you can figure out your ideal customer below. 

Consider Your Most Loyal Customers

To get insight into who your ideal customer is, it’s important to consider your current client base. Who already buys from you and keeps coming back for more? Who often leaves you positive reviews or gives you referrals? Who actively advocates for you and seems to embody values similar to the ones your business upholds? 

The characteristics of your most loyal customers together make up your “ideal customer,” allowing you to market towards specific personas. (A persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer; creating a person can help you better understand your target audience.)

When gathering data, it’s important to take into account that your ideal customer isn’t just someone who benefits from the service or product you provide. Additionally, your ideal customer evolves based on your current business situation. Being ultra-aware of fluctuations in your business and how they impact your ideal customer (as well as implementing a good amount of flexibility) can help your strategizing be as productive as possible. 

Figuring Out Your Ideal Customer

Demographics

The first step to figuring out your ideal customer involves demographics—collecting data on variables such as age, gender, education, marital status, and income. For example, you might find that a specific group of patients (age) are looking for denture packages over whitening packages. Or that your younger buyers are more likely to purchase from your Malibu boat collection than your Mastercraft.

If you have multiple locations, you’ll want to perform geographic research as well. Consider which locations are performing best and what products consumers in each location gravitate toward so that you can master local SEO. 

Some common examples of useful demographic/ geographic data gathering might include:

  • Home location (e.g. zip code) 
  • Weather events
  • Knowledge of whether the household has children
  • Age

Psychographics

Psychographic information tells you why your customer buys. It involves classifying people according to their attitudes, personalities, lifestyles, interests, opinions, beliefs, and values. In essence, you want to understand who someone is—what makes them tick, what appeals to them, and what emotional benefit you can offer them. 

Understanding the psychographics of your ideal customer can help you learn what types of marketing are likely to apply to someone in a particular place and context. For example, if Greg is a 60-year-old man who has just retired, moved to a lake house, and bought a boat from you, he is likely going to want other similar types of equipment for the new lifestyle he is settling into. His values have changed as he has transitioned from a corporate lifestyle to a retirement lifestyle, making campaigns that center around quality of life and adventure more appealing to him. If you understand Greg’s why, you can better meet his needs and predict what will be most relevant to him in the future. 

Goals

Understanding your ideal customer’s goals is also crucial if you want to make your products or services useful to them. Ask yourself, what are potential customers trying to achieve in their lives? What motivates them? When they come to you, are they trying to solve a problem, lower their costs, or find a company that uses their preferred communication channels and conducts business in a socially responsible way? 

You should also frequently talk with current customers to get a feel for why they come to you as well as read reviews, send surveys, research competition, and study purchase history. 

Pain Points

Customer pain points are problems your customers are willing to pay money to solve. Ask yourself why your customers choose to do business with you. Maybe your target customer is a working professional who doesn’t have time to deep clean their home, so they come to you for monthly cleaning services. Or maybe they live in a cold, snowy environment and commute to work every day, so they can come to you for snow tires that will help them drive safely. Once you know why your customers need you, you can target new prospects more effectively. 

Three key types of customer pain points include:

  1. Support
  2. Finance
  3. Productivity

Pain points in the support category might include delayed response times, not being routed to the person who can best help them, and lack of preferred communication channels. Pain points in the product/service category might include difficulty of use, quality problems, and failure of your product/service to solve the problem your customer is trying to solve. Pain points in the finance category might include steep prices, friction in the payment process, and lack of transparency around payment or sales. 

Understanding the pain points of your ideal customer can go a long way in helping you optimize your processes. For example, ease of doing business is a major pain point for most local consumers. Research shows that 53.5% say it’s a top reason they choose to work with a local business, 57% say it’s a top reason they refer friends and family, and 60% say it’s a top reason they repeat a purchase. 

When you understand your ideal customer’s pain points, you can work to decrease inconvenience and friction, increasing the quality of the customer experience that you deliver. 

Channel Preference

There are a million and one ways your customers communicate these days. Social media, text, calling, email, voice chat…the list goes on and on. Understandably, people like to use their preferred channel to communicate with local businesses. And they’re willing to search for businesses that will cater to them. For example, 40.5% of consumers say they are “likely” or “very likely” to switch to a different business because that business offers text messaging as a way to communicate. 

In order to figure out your ideal customer, you need to understand which channels your customers are using most to get in touch with you—and whether those channels are working. More importantly, you need to find out which channels they want to use that maybe you aren’t offering.

Preferences for marketing channels also affect the reach of your local marketing campaigns. You could run the best digital marketing campaign in the world, but if your ideal customers don’t see them, they won’t buy from you. Once you figure out where your customers spend time, you can meet them in those spaces and try to capture their attention.

You can figure out your ideal customer’s channel preferences through research—keep track of which channels are used most frequently, which channels produce the most buyers (tracking leads from contact to purchase/sale), and which channels show up in rave reviews (if any). 

find your ideal customer

Get Started

Figuring out who your ideal customer is takes time, research, and experimentation, but it’s well worth the effort. Start by listing out everything you already know. Organize your information, disseminate it, and predict. With the right tools, you can go above and beyond for your customers, every time. 

Guide to Local Marketing

Logan Wooden
Logan Wooden Product Marketing Manager, Retail

Logan Wooden is a Product Marketing and Retail professional at Podium, the premiere marketing and communications platform that connects local businesses with their customers.

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