The Ultimate Guide To Understanding Your Ideal Customer & Creating Your Buyer Persona

TL;DR: Many businesses don't take the time to really understand their target market, which can lead to all sorts of problems like wasted marketing dollars and a failure to connect with potential customers.

By Jerry Wallis
18 min read

Do you know who your ideal customer is? If not, it’s time to figure it out!

In this guide, we’ll go over the basics of understanding your ideal customer and creating a buyer persona. By doing so, you’ll be able to market your business more effectively and create content that speaks directly to your target audience.

So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get started!

This Is The Only Guide You’ll Ever Need To Truly Understand Your Ideal Customer! 🤵👌🥇

Most people think they know how to identify their target market and ideal customer. The average target market statement says something like: “Women over the age of 30 who have young children.” Well, guess what?

You still don’t really know your customer… and unfortunately… MOST BUSINESSES DON’T! 

They THINK they know their customers, but in truth, they mostly haven’t given their customers adequate thought to truly understand them. Just taking a couple of hours to go through the exercise we’re about to share with you will put you in a place where you can address real people, offer your ideal prospects what THEY want, and have them too happy to exchange money with you for the value offered in the transaction.

FACT: If you think your target market is “everybody”, you aren’t going to appeal to anybody”

To truly understand and know your “ideal customer” you need to go through the process of developing a Buyer Persona (which can also be called a Customer Avatar although at WEBO Digital we use a Buyer Persona)

So, What Exactly Is A Buyer Persona? 🤔🙋❓

ideal customer

According to HubSpot, A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.

When creating your buyer persona(s), consider including customer demographics, behaviour patterns, motivations, and goals. The more detailed you are, the better.

Buyer personas provide tremendous structure and insight for your company. A detailed buyer persona will help you determine where to focus your time, guide product development, and allow for alignment across the organization. As a result, you will be able to attract the most valuable visitors, leads, and customers to your business.

Buyer personas are without a doubt the single most important piece of any marketing strategy. They are the foundational structure on which everything else marketing is built for your business. If you don’t get this part right, to begin with, you’re setting yourself up to fail down the track. That is why we at WEBO Digital are so passionate about helping you get it done right whether it be with our team’s help or by providing you with this resource so that you can do it yourself.

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Why Do You Need A Buyer Persona? 💭💡

Make Smart Decisions

Business is all about decision-making, and without customers, your decisions become meaningless. Your customers are your reason for being in business. Every decision you make is going to be affected by what your customers really want. 

So, what do they want? For example: if you’re selling paint, your customers don’t just want to buy paint. They want the result it brings … a beautiful home. Try to sell them paint, and you have a “Yeah, so what?” reaction. Sell them a beautiful home, and they’re ready to enjoy a “Wow” experience.

Spend Your Marketing Dollars Efficiently

Marketing isn’t cheap. It should bring a return on investment, but it won’t do that if you don’t understand who you’re talking to and the problems you must solve for them. Once you’ve narrowed your market down to real specifics, you can eliminate the wasted “investment” of selling to a whole lot of people, more than half of whom aren’t really interested in what you have to offer.

Get More Conversions

Once you know what makes the person you’re targeting tick, you will get better sales conversion. Why? Because YOU understand them and their needs and you have the solutions they’re looking for.

Get Paid More

People are willing to spend more on products and services when they feel that you understand them, and their needs and can help them with a solution. It puts you ahead of competitors who offer much the same thing, but without the understanding of who they’re selling to, and what those people want.

Less Dissatisfied Customers

Once you’re talking to your ideal customer, you will eliminate or reduce the number of less-than-ideal customers. In fact, you might even turn them away as it will be clear to them that they aren’t a good fit and you aren’t right for them. You know the person we’re talking about: the “difficult” customer who wants something different to what you offer. Well, you’re not going to pitch in that direction anymore. You’re going to now be talking to people who really want what you already do.

More Referrals

Once you truly know and understand your customers, you can give them a customer experience that they will love. Birds of a feather flock together. Who are their friends? They are people much like them who share the needs, desires, and fears that your business addresses. If you meet those needs, fulfil those desires, and mitigate the fears, they’ll have something to tell people with whom they have a lot in common: your ideal customer base.

Why Do Most Businesses Fail To Truly Understand Their Customers? 😣🤦

ideal customer

Without knowing your customer’s psychographics (inner motivations), demographics aren’t going to help you much. Most businesses will focus on the product or service they offer rather than the customer persona they’re offering it to.

Let’s take our paint shop as an example. You sell paint. You might know a lot about paint. Maybe that’s all you think you need to know. WRONG! 

Talk about your paint for paint’s sake and people’s eyes are going to start glazing over. They don’t necessarily care about paint brands (unless it is one that has done this very exercise well!) They don’t want to know what coating is right for what surface – at least, not an emotional level. You have failed to engage them as a person by not seeking to understand the outcome they want. What about the visual effect they want upon entering the room? All you’ve talked about is coatings. So why would this prospect choose you over someone else who is offering the same thing?

To genuinely understand and engage with your prospective customers, you need to get under their skin. What are their real concerns? Maybe our paint customers want to impress their friends and neighbours. Maybe they’re concerned about the safety of kids and pets and want to know your product is non-toxic. Maybe they want to add value to their homes. Maybe they just want to feel good when they arrive home or walk into a room. All these factors remain “maybes” until you’ve dug deep into the psyche of your customer.

Most businesses don’t do this critical exercise,  and that’s why they fail to engage in wholehearted support.

Beyond Demographics: How to Get to Know Your Customer from the Inside Out 🙌💌

If you’re a new business, identifying your customer persona is going to take a lot of imagination. Still, you need a starting point, and if you want to market your business (who doesn’t?), you want to do so effectively. To market effectively, you need to talk to real people who you haven’t even met yet. 

HOT TIP: Maybe everybody really does buy your product, but not everybody is your ideal customer. So, ask yourself: “Who is my ideal customer?”

In an established business, you can think back over the time you’ve been in business and identify your ideal customers. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Who spends the most money at my business?
  • Who is easy to do business with?
  • Who was happy to clinch the deal quickly and without haggling?
  • Who sends me the most referrals?

This could be several types of customers, but we suggest you bring all them all into one and come out with a persona who represents your ideal customer: the person who benefits your business most, and with whom you most like doing business. 

Yes, You Can Start with Demographics

Yes! Demographics are important. But they’re only the beginning. However, they’re also the easiest to nail down, so start here. Just don’t think your job is done when you’ve got them down. You will only just have begun.

However, it will help to get your thought processes going once you have the demographic data of your ideal customer identified and written down. 

Cover these points: 

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Family status 
  • Location 
  • Profession 
  • Income 
  • Hobbies and interests

You may think you already have a fairly comprehensive understanding of your client after completing this step, but you have only just begun. Take it a step further, and you start getting under their skin. You won’t only know “what” they are, but you’ll also know “who” they are. Most businesses stop at “what” because to be blunt, it isn’t exactly easy to get the “who” part as it involves a good deal of deep research and critical thinking to get it nailed correctly.  It’s time to sharpen your competitive edge.

We suggest that following this step, you look for a picture of a real person who could fit the demographic you’re targeting. Give that person a name. It’s far easier to think about inner motivations once you have a face to look at. Make it even more personal by giving your new persona a name. Are you talking to Mary, Josh, or Darryn? 

It is even better if you can use an existing ‘ideal customer’ as your persona as you and your team already most likely know this person well! If you can’t do this it isn’t a big deal as the most important thing is to have a persona that can be used and benchmarked as reference for all features and characteristics of your ideal customer.

Now Move to Psychographics

Demographics are fairly easy to spot and nail down. But now it’s time to start thinking about who this person really is. What does he or she want deep down inside?

Use these points to capture a basic psychographic profile:

  • What are this person’s values?
  • What do they aspire to?
  • What do they fear?
  • What frustrates them?
  • What personality do they have?
  • What do they dream of?

You’re Not Done Yet. Write a Profile

You now have a set of key characteristics, but you still haven’t fully put yourself in your target audience’s shoes. It’s time to get up close and personal with your buyer persona.

To do this, you’ll embark on a simple exercise that shouldn’t take you more than an hour or two. You will write a one-page profile of your ideal client, and this document is even more important than anything you’ve done so far as this will be used by everyone on your team including possible external providers who put together marketing collateral for you such as copywriters etc.

You’ll include all the points you’ve already considered, but instead of a soulless, bulleted or numbered list of attributes, you’re going to make it real. 

There are three ways to do this:

  • Write as if you were the avatar you want to sell to (first person.)
  • Write about the person you want to sell to (third person.)
  • Write to the person you want to sell to (a “love letter.”)

For example:

“My name is Mary. I’m 35 years old, and I have three kids. I also have a day job, and I worry that I’m not giving my children three balanced meals a day”

“Mary is a 35-year-old mother of three. She works hard at her day job, and she worries that she isn’t giving her kids enough nutritious meals”

“Mary, I know you work hard, and having three kids is a big responsibility. As a caring parent, you worry that you aren’t giving your children enough nutritious food”

What if You Have Several Ideal Clients?

Not everyone has only one ideal customer persona, but we advise you to never have more than three and at a push, five. And remember that there are only so many target groups to whom you can market effectively. If you have several target client personas, you probably have one group that represents most of your ideal client base. 

When in doubt, go for the area in which most of your ideal customers are to be found. You’ll at least partially address the interests of the other two groups. Later, you can look at targeting the lower percentage that lies on either side of the typical client persona bell curve.

There’s also the situation in which one persona makes a choice, but another buyer persona actually pays for the transaction. In this instance, you will need to have two buyer personas. 

Let’s look at an example:

You run educational & social boot camps for teenagers for a monthly membership fee. 

When you’re marketing to teenagers, they need to know that what you offer is fun, trendy with disco & movie nights, smoke machines etc., and they will be the envy of their friends eg. Hello! Who makes the purchase? Tell Dad and Mum that what you are offering is fun, trendy, etc, and they won’t exactly be lining up to hand over the membership fees.. Market to Dad & Mum the opportunity for their children to develop social skills and attain better grades in school with the educational aspect of the programme and you will get a vastly different response.

You want the teen to be keen, but you need a different approach to the purchasing decision-maker. How will your product or service give the teen something parents really want?

Market the parents’ approach to the teen, and he or she will yawn and walk away. Pitch the teen approach to the parents, and you get a “No way!” response

Another example is typical of B2B transactions:

Somebody has been tasked with finding x or y for the business. He or she will present options to another person, probably a financial manager or a CEO. Let’s say it’s an admin manager. He or she wants something that makes the job easier. But the CEO might be more interested in team-building opportunities, reduced absenteeism, good ROI, and so on. 

In this instance, you need to pitch to a minimum of two personas. One of them is saying:

“I want this!”

The other must decide if they’re willing to pay for it.

Get right to the target by answering these questions:

  1. What do my customers say they want?
  2. What do they secretly want? (This is the real motivation)
  3. What’s stopping them from getting what they want?
  4. What’s their biggest problem?
  5. What keeps them awake at night?
  6. What have they tried only to find that it didn’t work?
  7. What do they want nobody to know about them?
  8. If they were to finish this statement, what would they say? “If I could just….”
  9. And this one? “I know I’ve succeeded or achieved a positive outcome when….”
  10. What do they like spending money on?
  11. What are their favourite things?
  12. Do they belong to groups or associations?
  13. What seminars or events are they likely to attend?
  14. Do they regularly visit certain websites or blogs? Which social media platforms do they prefer? What do they read? What movies are they likely to watch?

Objections? Why They Don’t Count (Sorry) 🙅‍♂️🚫

ideal customer

There are a couple of “big” objections that people put out there when we discuss this philosophy with them. Let’s deal with the most frequent ones.

“I’m B2B. I sell to businesses, not people!”

Big news: a business never, ever, bought anything. It may have paid for it, but ultimately, somebody makes the purchasing decision. You will always sell to people, no matter what your business does. Talk to people, engage them. 

Don’t give them impressive-sounding words that make their eyes slide off the page while they doze off. Talk to someone, not something. Don’t bother with trying to impress people with terminology and tooth-breaking, formal language. They’re interested in their needs and how you can fulfil them. They’re not interested in how impressive you are. 

“I sell to lots of different people”

They’re still people. Group them. Then zero in on the ideal customer among the many. Who do you sell to? Tradies? Housewives? Among them, who are your most lucrative customers, and what do they want? You might deal with wholesalers and retailers. Where does your best business lie? Pitch there first, and then begin work on other sectors you think worthwhile.

“If I target a specific group, I’m going to miss out on everyone else!”

Here’s an analogy: you’re playing darts, and you’re aiming for the bullseye. But your dart doesn’t always land there. However, if you don’t have a bullseye to aim for, you may not hit the dartboard at all. Targeted marketing is a bit like that. Sometimes, your pitch is going to hit the exact persona you’re shooting for, but it can, and very often does, hit someone outside the bullseye too.

Using Your Buyer Persona

Your Buyer Persona on a page is incredibly valuable. Before you write a word of copy, before you launch a social media campaign, and before you send out a marketing mail, you’re going to refer back to your one-page customer profile.

This is the person you’re talking to. This is the one you want to say “They understand me and what I need – They just get it!”

When you’re making business decisions, you’ll read your customer profile again. How does your decision benefit your clients? Remember, without their support; you’re going nowhere fast!

You might find that buyer gender influences what you pitch, where you pitch it, and how. That’s fine. Build two profiles. Target your audience. And if it’s a generic audience, address both persona’s wants, needs, emotions, and aspirations. Help them achieve their goals and you will achieve yours.

You might have multiple products to market, each with their own target market group. That’s fine too. As always, start where you’ll have the most impact, but construct a persona or avatar that specifically targets your buyer persona for each one.

You may find that you need to revise and adapt your buyer persona over time. Maybe there’s something you missed when you first constructed it, or perhaps it has even become redundant. But if you can find the person you want to sell to, you have a far better chance of making that sale!

Take-Aways ✅🎯

  • No matter what you sell, you’re always selling to people. Understand them and talk to them on a personal level.
  • Never try to please everyone. You will only succeed in pleasing no one.
  • Create a Buyer Persona who is real to you and who represents your ideal customer. Selling to ideal customers brings you more ideal customers.
  • You may have to pitch to multiple groups, but ideally, it’s best to focus on a maximum of four or five.
  • You might update your Buyer Persona over time. Keep your finger on the pulse.
  • Use your persona whenever you send out a marketing message or plan a marketing campaign. 

The whole exercise of creating your first buyer persona shouldn’t take more than a few hours. But if you’re feeling bogged down and need a little help, we’re here to guide you through the process. You don’t need an in-house marketing department to market your business effectively – not when we’re there to help you!

At WEBO Digital we passionately believe in helping businesses get a clear picture of who their “ideal customer” (Buyer Persona) is and what they look like.  We do this by focusing on this very important area and drilling into the specifics to produce results that will make attracting, capturing and converting prospects much easier than ever before.

If you would like some help in getting your ideal customer defined in a buyer persona please contact us here.

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Published on November 02, 2020

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