Why and how to identify your ideal customer

by | Small Business Strategy

How to identify your ideal customer featured

We won’t lie: running a business is hard. In addition to overseeing the day-to-day operations of your business, you also need to constantly be thinking of new ways to drive sales and optimize your product or service offering. You know that in order to grow your business, you need to attract customers who are interested in what you’re offering and who are sufficiently motivated to buy it. But how do you find these customers? How do you get your offering in front of people who are actually ready to purchase?

The answer is simple: you need to get clear on your ideal customer! Defining an ideal customer profile is something that every business owner needs to do, but many don’t begin the process quickly enough. Below, we’ll explain what an “ideal customer” is, how defining one can help better your business, and how to identify your ideal customer.

What’s an “ideal customer,” anyway?

Before we dive into the benefits of identifying your ideal customer, let’s take a moment to explain what it truly means. Your “ideal customer” isn’t some nice, imaginary person you’ve dreamed up at random. In fact, determining your ideal customer profile involves a lot of research and leveraging your own industry knowledge in order to create an accurate representation upon which you can build your strategy. According to the experts at HubSpot, “An ideal customer profile (ICP), commonly referred to as an ideal buyer profile, defines the perfect customer for what your organization solves for. This is a fictitious company that has all of the qualities that would make them the best fit for the solutions you provide.”

So, there you have it! Now that we’re all on the same page about what an ideal customer is, let’s discuss why it’s critical to get clear on yours.

Why defining your ideal customer is a *must*

What are some of your greatest concerns as a business owner? Are “time” and “money” at the top of your list? If so, you’re in the majority of entrepreneurs. And this is where defining your ideal customer profile comes in: it helps you save time and money.

Having a deep understanding of who you want to attract as a customer allows you to tailor both your messaging and your offering to the people it would resonate with most as opposed to trying to please everyone. You’ll spend less time trying to win over people who were never going to buy in the first place, empowering you to focus on providing a solution that’s even more persuasive to those who are already interested. You’ll also be able to ensure that your product or service is actually aligned with the needs of your market, which will further help to establish a blueprint for how your offering could evolve in the future. All in all, getting clear on your ideal customer translates to less effort for a greater return on investment.

Why defining your ideal customer is a must

How to identify your ideal customer

Now that we know what an ideal customer is and why defining one is important, let’s take a look at how to identify your ideal customer. At its core, a solid ideal customer profile is comprised of research, industry knowledge, and a bit of common sense. To start fleshing out what your ideal customer would look like, you’ll need to begin by leveraging everyone’s favourite research assistant, Google, and your own experience in order to determine characteristics like:

  • Needs: Which specific needs would a potential customer have that your product or service could meet? Which problems necessitate your solution?
  • Demographics: Which demographics are most likely to have a need for your product or service? Which segments of the population would find your solution most useful?
  • Geography: Does your ideal customer live in a specific region? Are there any geographic limitations to the product or service you offer?
  • Budget: How much money would your ideal customer have to spend? Are there any groups of people who may find your offering too expensive–or even too cheap?
  • Industry: Does your product or service solve a problem that is specific to a certain industry? Would people in a certain industry be more likely to find your product useful?

While this isn’t an exhaustive list of all the questions you’ll need to answer while building out your ideal customer profile, it can at least help to get your critical thinking skills warmed up.

How to identify your ideal customer

Let’s wrap this up

When it comes to identifying your ideal customer, the best time to get started on it was yesterday—but the second best time is today. We hope that this article has left you not only with an understanding of why it’s critical to get clear on your ideal customer, but also with a desire to get to work and begin developing your ideal customer profile ASAP! 

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