How to define your ideal customer

When you are just starting a business, it can be helpful to think of who your ideal customers will be. Why? You may wonder. Well, the answer is pretty simple: creating a picture of your ideal customers will help you to showcase your business in a way that will resonate with them. 

Your business doesn’t have to appeal to the masses, but it must be presented in a way that will engage your ideal audience. Knowing your ideal customers will also allow you to tailor your services based on the problems that you can solve for them. How do you this? Read on to find out!

Define your target audience

Defining your audience

Every business has a different audience. For example, if you start a real estate copywriting business (like I did!) you will have a different audience from someone that is starting an online store selling scrunchies. This doesn’t mean that my customers don’t wear scrunchies, but it just shows that you would communicate with each of these audiences differently. 

Ideal customer Avatar

It is often recommended that businesses create what is called an ideal customer avatar. This is a fictional person (or people) that represents your ideal customer.

It can be very helpful for you to go through this exercise and create an ideal customer avatar for your business. Give it a name and a photo, and you can refer back to him or her as you start creating content for your business. 

For example, this is Jess – the ideal customer avatar I have created for this article:

Ideal customer avatar example

Now that we have given a name and photo to our ideal customer, we can start to really get into her mindset, understand how she feels and how we can help her overcome her problems and frustrations. 

How to create your own ideal customer avatar

Here are some initial questions and ideas that you can consider when thinking about your ideal customer: 

  • Key demographics: How old are they? Where do they live? Are they male or female? Married or single?
  • What type of content do they engage with? Blog posts, emails, videos, social media, etc
  • What are their interests/hobbies? (Do they like sports, books, cooking) What do they do during the weekend? In the evenings? What are their values?
  • Are you more likely to find them on Instagram, Linkedin, Pinterest or somewhere else?

If you can help more than one type of customer, it’s a great idea to have an ideal customer avatar for each of them.

You may also like: 7 awesome benefits of having a business niche

Free ideal customer avatar template

Understanding how your ideal customer thinks

Besides defining your ideal customers’ demographics, it is important to get into their heads to understand how your customers think. Try to really get a sense of what would motivate them to reach out to a business like yours.

Try to put yourself in Jessica’s shoes to understand her pain points, problems, and frustrations. What will make her pick up the phone and give you a call? What’s happening in her business and everyday life that requires your help? 

These are some questions that you can consider:

  • What are your ideal customer’s challenges/frustrations? 
  • What motivates them to seek out a business like yours?
  • What is their ideal outcome after using your product or service?
  • What results do they want? 
  • What’s holding them back from achieving this goal?
  • What problems/needs do they have that your business is solving?

Focus on problems

Even if we are not fully conscious about it, we buy products or services because we have a problem that needs solving or a need to be met. Think about the latest purchases that you’ve made – what was the problem or need behind them?

Maybe you bought a new pair of shoes for the gym or downloaded an app to help you be more mindful. 

Now think about the products or services that you want to offer your customers – what is the ultimate problem that it is going to solve?

Thinking back to our fictional ideal customer – Why should Jessica care about your business?