Who is your ideal customer?

This is one of the most important questions I ask every person I interview. Most business owners have a hard time answering it. Some have given the question some consideration, and others have never thought about it.

The first response I get is “everyone” or “everyone who . . .” with a qualifier. Most times this answer is very broad: to find the people who will spend the most money with you and be the happiest with your results. You have to be able to define them specifically.

The challenge many business owners have is that they don’t realize they can choose the customers they attract. They can have profitable, fun customers, or they can have unprofitable customers who cause challenges for them.

You do know you have a choice, don’t you?

What do I mean by having a choice about who your customers are?

I mean that everything you do attracts a type of customer.

  • Do you advertise the price only?
  • Do you reach out to every customer desperately, afraid they will each pass you by?
  • What does your advertising look like?
  • What kind of response do people receive when they contact your company?
  • How long do they have to wait for an answer to an inquiry?
  • Where do you advertise?
  • What copy or wording do you use in your ads?

The answers to all of these questions determine the customers who come to you. Take the time to consider them and answer them.

Here are some questions to consider when deciding who your ideal customers are:

  • Where do they live?
  • What kind of houses do they live in?
  • How old are they?
  • What gender are they?
  • What are their hobbies and interests?
  • What are their income levels?
  • What level of education do they have?
  • What is their marital status?
  • Do they have kids?
  • What other businesses do they buy from?
  • What artists do they like?
  • What kind of music do they listen to?

When you can answer these questions, you are on your way to having a clear image of your ideal customer.

One of the activities I have found helpful is creating an avatar of my ideal client. I developed a list of characteristics the client has. Next I found a picture of one of my ideal clients and keep it where I can see it. When I am writing or working with marketing materials, I always keep this image in mind. When I am done, one of the questions I ask myself is: Will my ideal customer like this and relate to it? If my answer is no, I have some editing to do.

The advantage of knowing all this information about your ideal customer is that now you know whom you are marketing to. You can analyze your current customers and see how many of them fit this description. If most of them do, congratulations; if they don’t, what are you going to do? You have a choice. You can redesign your business to attract the customers you want and slowly stop serving the ones you don’t want, or you can figure out how to serve the ones you have. The choice is yours.

You will find that you have more fun, make more money, and provide more benefits to your customers when you work with your ideal customers. Take the time to identify them, and develop a plan to attract more of them to your business.

You have the power to choose whom you work with. How are you using it?

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