When you fall in love with a product, you want to shout it from the rooftops. OMG HAVE YOU TRIED THESE AMAZING MAGIC PANTS? THEY’RE THE BEST BUY THEM NOW GO GO GO.
But you know what? Your magic pants might be someone else’s leg prisons (aka how I refer to real pants). Not everyone is going to love every thing. And that’s okay! Your product may not be someone’s cup of tea, but not everyone likes tea. Your goal as a marketer is to find the people who do and sell the hell out of your product directly to them. The best way to accomplish this is to identify your ideal customer.
What is an ideal customer?
Simply put, it’s the person you can best speak to. You can identify her wants and needs and address them before she knows them herself. It’s the person who is best served by your product and what you do.
The best example I heard of this was at SassyCon in 2017 (hosted by Sassy Suite and the best convention for small business owners and direct sales reps in my opinion!). We had a speaker from Cinchshare (an awesome scheduling program) and she shared this example:
Thirty-One is a direct sales company with many consultants. You can post about how awesome your bags are all day long but the way to actually make a sale is to SHOW how your bags solve a problem your customer may not even realize she has. In this case, a smart marketer showed a before and after picture using the Utility Tote. Before: hauling groceries in from your car. Trying to dangle 20 bags so you can do one trip, close the trunk, close the garage, and get in the door. Almost impossible, right? And a familiar struggle! Then After: putting all those bags in your tote and easily carrying them in with a free hand for all that other stuff. Genius!
Why did this work? This consultant KNEW her ideal customer! She is someone who grocery shops for a family, she is someone whose time is precious and probably has small kids to get in the house and therefore she is trying to haul all the groceries inside in one go. The consultant solved a problem for her customer that most of us just accept as an unfortunate inevitability of grocery shopping.
“Wait! I want to sell all the things to all the people! I don’t want to limit my market!”
Here’s the thing. You can SELL to anyone. You have to MARKET to someone.
Think of it as though you are standing on stage after giving a speech and you are taking questions from the audience. One woman stands up with a microphone to ask her question. You are speaking directly to her, addressing her need–but the audience is there listening and some of what you say will likely apply to each of them. You will nail the needs of the person asking, but you will also pull in those listening.
Marketing is a lot like that. You need to speak to the person who will be best served by your “answer” (your strategy for your product) but you will still offer value here and there to others.
How do you identify your ideal customer?
Ask yourself some questions. A lot of times, your idea customer is a lot like you! You want to be able to speak to her and connect with her, so you need to have things in common. You want to maximize the “me too!” moments in your marketing. A woman struggling to haul groceries inside while their fingers go numb? ME TOO.
You should know this woman intimately because the better you understand her, the better you will be able to speak to her. Ask yourself these questions:
Who is she?
Age? Occupation? Family status? My ideal client is a woman in her 30s. She has young children. She either stays home with them, or works from home/part time. She is a self described “hot mess” and enjoys long walks down every aisle at Target. She probably lived in yoga pants before I got to her. Her body isn’t where she wants it after kids. She prioritizes everyone in her family over herself.
What does she need?
I know this woman (I should, I am her!). I know what she finds funny and why she is interested in direct sales products. This guides what I post on my channels. Funny kid memes, jokes about coffee and wine, music parodies that make light of marriage and parenting, articles about how it’s okay to not have it all together…these are purposeful content that I know will reach my customer. It provides value to her. She needs community and adult company and other women to validate that being a mom is hard. She will seek my content because it gives her something in addition to just shopping.
Knowing all of this also allows me to promote my product. I can solve problems I know she has–she wants to be comfy and half her old wardrobe doesn’t fit. Even if she’s not gained weight, babies change your body. Enter knit jeggings. BOOM. Pants that have all the pluses of maternity pants but can pass for actual fashion. She needs dressy clothes that can do double duty as casual because the time in her life where half her wardrobe could be dry clean only has passed. So I serve up our comfy Pixie Pants and Essential Cardigans and Curie dresses.
Ever tried managing three kids while having to hold your phone in your hand because you had set your purse down? No fun! Enter clothes with pockets! 90% of A&D styles have pockets and it’s glorious. Perfect for storing your phone, tiny treasures your kids hand you, and snacks.
Where is she?
This is one of the key parts of knowing your customer–you then know where to find her. My ideal client is on Facebook for adult conversation during the day, so I use a group to reach her. She scrolls Instagram regularly because it’s mindless and something she can do with one eye on her kids. So I have an Instagram account that heavily features funny quotes about kids and throw my daily life in the Stories. She’s on Pinterest with boards full of recipes and home decor and styling options and kids’ crafts (that she probably doesn’t do most of, but it’s fun to dream!), so I am on Pinterest as well doing those things.
Well, let’s be honest–I’d probably be there anyway.
And let me be clear. While I am posting these things and speaking to my ideal customer, I am also catching other people’s interest. They might also love Target and come in off a funny post about shopping there. They might be retired with grandkids but enjoy the reminder of those early parenting years. They might be in their 20s with my life in their future and love seeing glimpses of it. They may just really like elastic pants. So while I would say the majority of my community is my ideal customer, I have many just as valued and wonderful women who don’t fit the profile but who connected with some part of my marketing.
Who is your ideal customer?
Write down everything you can think of about this woman. Really give her depth in your mind. And then turn your thoughts to what problems she might have. I can think of an angle to market almost anything to my girl. Nail strips? Busy moms with small kids don’t have time to let polish dry! Being able to throw nail strips on your fingers in the ten minutes while the kids are eating is gold. Lipstick that lasts all day? Easy. She’s not able to reapply every hour and most days she just throws on mascara and lip color to actually look alive, so having a color that lasts is important.
You should know this woman (or man, but I’m in a woman centric business) so well that you can identify what will work for her easily. And then you should know where she’s looking every day that you could leave your solution.
So tell me–who do you market to?
Want to see my purposeful content in action? Come check out my group! We’d love to have you.
Want to shop those delightful elastic waistbands? They’re right here!