Do you know who your ideal customer is? If not, don’t worry – you’re not alone. Many businesses don’t take the time to create an ideal customer profile, which can lead to a lot of wasted time, money and energy when it comes to growing the business through marketing and sales efforts. Today we’re diving into what an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) is, how you make it and what you can do with it.
What is an Ideal Customer Profile?
Creating an ideal customer profile (also known as a buyer persona) is essential if you want to make sure that you’re targeting the right people with your products and services. In this blog, we’ll show you how to create an ideal customer profile step-by-step, so that you can take your business to the next level.
The ideal customer profile, also known as a buyer persona, is a fictionalised representation of your company’s ideal customer. It goes into detail about your customers’ likes, dislikes, personality traits, behaviours, purchasing habits and more.
Creating a buyer persona helps you to focus your marketing and sales efforts. In this blog post, we’ll talk about what a customer profile is and how to write one that is tailored specifically to your business. Creating an ideal customer profile gives you great insight into the wants and needs of any potential future audiences you might want to target. You can then use this information to inform your future marketing and sales strategies.
What questions does your ICP need to answer about your customers? These generally form different types of ICP, some common types of ICP include;
Your ideal customer profile should answer the following questions:
- Demographic: What are their demographics? (e.g., age, gender, income, education)
- Psychographics: What are their psychographics? (e.g., interests, values, lifestyle)
- Geographic: What location/s and countries are they in? (E.g. do you have customers in North America and the EU, which may have different needs?)
- Behavioural: What are their needs and wants? What motivates them? What are their buying habits?
What are the characteristics of my target audience? Once you know who your ideal customer is, you need to start thinking about the characteristics of your target audience. These can be divided into two categories: – Demographic characteristics: these are the facts and figures about your target audience. This includes factors such as age, gender, income, education, location, etc. Secondly we have Psychographic characteristics: these are the psychological factors that influence your target audience’s decisions. This includes things like interests, values, lifestyle, etc.
What motivates my audience?
When you know what motivates your target audience, you can use this information to create marketing and sales strategies that will appeal to them. Some common motivators include:
– Need for approval
– Fear of missing out
– Desire for status or recognition
– Sense of belonging
What locations are my target organisations in? Once you know where your target audience is based, you can start to think about the best way to reach them. For example, if they are located in less populous areas, you might need to focus your marketing efforts more exclusively on online channels such as programmatic, social media and email. Whereas, if they are centralised around a smaller number of say bigger city locations, you might want to consider adding more traditional marketing channels such as print and television, especially now that more modern media buying technologies are catching up with traditional media, such as programmatic connected TV buying.
What is the best way to reach my target audience?
Now that you know where your target audience lives, you need to think about the best way to reach them. There are a number of different marketing channels that you can use, and the best way to reach your target audience will depend on a number of factors, including:
– Their location
– Their age
– Their interests
– The type of product or service you’re selling
Some common marketing channels that you might want to consider include:
- Programmatic advertising to get placements on highly targeted websites associated with your industry and wider specific audience targeting
- Social – placements on B2B orientated media like LinkedIn, Twitter, Quora, and to a degree, Facebook and Instagram
- Paid Search (SEM)
- Email and content marketing in general (blogs/SEO/syndicated content/content partnerships
- Television, Podcasts & Radio
- Print (newspapers and trade magazines)
What type of messaging does my ideal customer engage with?
Your ideal customers might engage with a variety of messaging types, depending on their needs, wants and interests. Some common messaging types include:
– Product focused
– Solution focused
How does my target audience interact with a business like mine?
Your target audience’s interaction with a business like yours will depend on a number of factors, including:
– The type of product or service you offer and its associated sales cycle
– Their needs and wants
– Their buying habits
Some common ways that people interact with businesses like yours may include:
– Researching online; which could be on your owned media or wider research based behaviour in contextually relevant environments
– Speaking to industry peers, potentially now on the ‘dark social’ networks
– Reading reviews (yes this is still relevant to lots of B2B marketers)
– Going to trade shows or conferences
– Speaking to a salesperson
What type of language does my ideal customer use?
Your target audience might use a variety of language depending on their needs, wants and interests. Different industries have differing levels of jargon and slang, understanding yours specifically can help you dial into the audiences expected forms of content. Some common language types include:
What type of content does my ideal customer engage with?
Your ideal customers might engage with a variety of content types, depending on their needs, wants and interests. Different job roles can lend themselves to different types of content too. A CTO may prefer educational and technical types of content, whereas an analyst may prefer more detailed long form content like eBooks and white papers. Some common content types include:
– Educational blog posts or articles
– How-to guides
– Product reviews
– Case studies
– White papers
Now that you know all of this information about your ideal customer, you can start to create content that appeals directly to them. By understanding what they want and need, you can create content that speaks to them directly, making it more likely that they’ll engage with your brand.
Building your ICP; a 4 step process
Step 1: Define why you’re doing consumer profiling
Ask yourself: what outcomes am I looking for from this buyer persona? The answers to this question will determine what factors you focus on when creating your persona. For example, if you’re looking to improve customer acquisition rates, you might want to focus on factors like age, income, and location.
Step 2: Focus on one or two variables at a time
These are two variables you should expect to polarise your sector. For example, in the B2B industry, you might focus on brand vs. feature buyers.
Step 3: Mutual exclusivity
The two variables need to be categorically different. You can’t change CRM solution every year and also be in market every month for example.
Step 4: Dial in the personas and personify them with demographic and psychographic elements
Coupled with your own behavioural and psychographic questions, demographics like age, gender or location can help to build a more rounded view of your persona.
Now you have outlined your Ideal Customer Profile/s, what do you do with them?
Having customer profiles helps you plan your business’s future strategy and product roadmap, driving business direction and unlocking new sources of growth.
Your ideal customer profile can help you:
– Develop targeted marketing plans and strategies
– Optimise your product or service offerings
– Create sales enablement tools and processes
– Improve customer success rates.
Ideal Customer Profiles are also a great tool for new business development, as they provide a framework for you to assess new market opportunities against. By understanding your ideal customer’s needs, you can more easily identify other markets and industries where your product or service would be a good fit.
Finally, ideal customer profiles help you build better relationships with your customers. By understanding their needs, wants and interests, you can develop a closer bond with them, leading to improved customer retention rates.
If you want to learn more about ideal customer profiles and how to create them, get in touch with us today and book your free evaluation session with one of our B2B marketing experts.