Episode #246: Pillar Series – Determining Your Ideal Customer
TAYLOR BRADFORD: You are listening to episode number 246 of the Boss Girl Creative podcast. Today I’m chatting about Pillar 3, which is figuring out your ideal client. On to the episode.
Hey, welcome to episode number 246. I’m your host, Taylor Bradford. I’m excited that you’re here. We’re going to be talking about pillar number three today in my 8+1 Pillar Series. If you missed the last two episodes, that was pillar one, and pillar two, and you definitely need to start there before diving into pillar three because we’re building your business foundation or we’re rebuilding so that you can keep moving forward in your business. Today’s episode is all about finding your ideal customer, but figuring out who that person is, I call them your blue person, and it goes back to that movie Avatar. When I heard that it was your ideal client “avatar,” I kind of put those together and decided that “My Blue Person” and so that’s how I describe it. So in past episodes, if you’ve ever heard me use that phrase, My Blue Person, I am talking about my ideal client or your ideal client, which is what today’s episode is all about.
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Okay, let’s dive into this Pillar 3, which is all about finding your ideal client, and we’re going to really dive into this, you guys. And it is another episode where you’re going to need your notebook or a computer and the pause button, and you’re gonna have homework, and the homework is not going to be easy. Let’s just be clear. This is probably the hardest homework of them all. But it is so incredibly important in building that business foundation or rebuilding depending on where you are in business. So if you haven’t figured out your ideal customer client, ideal customer avatar, ideal reader, you fill in the blank, your marketing is too generic, and it’s probably ineffective because you don’t really know who you’re supposed to be speaking to.
Marie Forleo says, “If you are talking to everybody, you’re talking to nobody,” and it’s so true. And your marketing lacks soul and any kind of true emotional connection to your audience. But once you know who your blue person is, your marketing becomes so much easier and effective in targeting that person. You’re going to reach your business goals a lot faster. You’re going to know the kind of people you want to reach. So they’ll be easier to find, your messaging will actually connect because it’s based on genuine emotional understanding from you. So as you’re working in trying to figure out who this person is, or you need to redefine who this person is, you’re going to need to stop thinking like you and actually fully step into their shoes. That’s so incredibly important. So when you’re talking about like, just generic marketing, it really lacks any kind of articulation about the values, the beliefs, the world views of your person, it really kind of fails to drill down to them and so you’re just again like Marie Forleo says, “If you’re talking everybody, you’re talking to nobody.” And let’s be honest, your customers, your ideal customers are going to, if they’re not already, they’re going to crave that. You get them. They want that. They want us to recognize them. They want to feel important. So I need you to look through life through their eyes, listen to them, talk with them, interview them, observe them, study them, get into their heads and their hearts. I need you to know their quirks and I need you to know their nuances. Stop thinking that you already know what they want. Because I can guarantee you if you haven’t done this, you don’t know. So if you want your business to succeed, you’ve got to start thinking like them.
So I want you to focus on choosing one of your offerings that you want to sell more of. And you can do this for each of your offerings because I know it’s not always the case where we’re targeting one specific person. But for this particular exercise so that you get used to it, I want you to think about one thing you want to sell more of, and we’re going to dive into who they are. So you’re, you’re going to be listing their common traits, you’re going to figure out how all of that works together and commonalities, you’re going to step into their shoes and write a short story about them as if you were that person. I’m going to give you an example of that. And then once you have all of that, you’re going to really know how to fine-tune your marketing to target that person. And just know no matter what you sell all humans, all of your clients, all of your customers, they all have fears and they all have dreams. And by doing this, you’re going to establish trust, which is going to lead to authentic connections, increase sales, referrals, repeat customers, and you’re going to end up with a satisfying and soul-fulfilling business. So even if what you sell doesn’t solve a problem or isn’t associated with a pain point, maybe what you sell is based in luxury or beauty or joy or happiness, but you have to remember the human that is on the other side that you’re selling to. They have real fears and real dreams, and the more you understand the full emotional, and holistic reality of that person, the more effective your communication to them will be even if you never mention their fears or their problems. And I know a lot of bloggers, if you are one, you like put what pain point am I solving if I’m a blah, blah, blah blogger? That part doesn’t matter if you’re just creating content that maybe isn’t solving. Maybe you’re not a motherhood blogger, and giving advice on how to make things in life go easier. Maybe you’re a different type of blogger that’s not necessarily solving anything, but maybe it’s more for entertainment purposes. But if you don’t realize that your person has fears and dreams, you’re never going to be able to understand what kind of content you need to be creating for them.
Okay, so before I dive into what you need to do, verbatim, on how to do this exercise, I want to give you kind of a snapshot as to one example that I learned in B-School. And so this is coming out of B-School, and I know if you are in the online world, you know that B-School is in sales right now. Like, the doors haven’t opened yet. But B-School is very powerful for me, and I took it back in 2015. And I typically go back through parts of it every single year just for some clarity in any one of my businesses. I’m not sure what I will do this year. I have asked to have access to it because once a B-Schooler, always a B-Schooler. But this was the example when we were doing the ideal customer, and this is the story that is told just to give you something to go from.
So this is out of B-School. I don’t remember when, what year this came out of, but it is for sure out of B-School. So Jenny is a business coach’s ideal customer avatar. So her name is Jenny, and this is from Jenny’s point of view. So when I talk, just pretend this is Jenny talking. “I’m terrified. I was so excited about starting my own coaching business and bringing in extra money for my family. So I could contribute more to Carla’s college fund, buy a new car, take John on a vacation, and finally get a new laptop. But now that I’m about to finish up my coach training, which took lots of money away from the family, and John was pissed at that. Now I need to spend more money on a website and marketing training so that I can get clients. I don’t know if all of that is going to work. There are so many coaches out there, and I’m wondering if I’m that great of a coach anyway. Will people really hire me? And why should they when there’s so many coaches out there with more experience who are probably better than I am. Plus, I’m not making any money, so I feel like a fraud. I’m so confused. Should I even keep at this? I’m so ashamed. I told everyone in my life I was becoming a coach and doing my own thing. If I bail out now, everyone will think I’m a flake, and I’ll be totally mortified. But if I continue, I’m afraid John is going to kill me because he thinks my business is some woo-woo idea that’s costing us tons of money. He says I should just stop doing this and get a part-time job and stop living in a dream world, especially in this economy. Maybe this whole thing is a load of crap. I don’t want to talk to my coaching mastermind about how scared I am because I’m afraid I’ll look weak and like a loser. I don’t want them to try and coach me out of it. I’m scared, and I don’t know where to turn or what to do, I feel totally paralyzed.”
So, I want you to get out your notebook because we’re going to dive into this exercise together. And I need you to not skip this. Role-playing and getting outside of your own fears is something you got to do in order to understand how to attract your ideal client, your ideal customer, your ideal reader. When customers have a problem, they do feel frustrated. Sometimes they feel desperate and alone, like nobody in the world could possibly understand. Because I mean, haven’t you felt that way? When you know your customer’s irrational fears because let’s be clear, we have fears, and most of the time, they are irrational, so we know our customers have the same kinds of fears. It lets your customers know exactly what they’re going through, and it lets them know that perhaps your product or service could be the perfect solution to solve that irrational fear.
Okay, so step one, think of your ideal customer, the person you want to serve. Like, you absolutely, absolutely want to serve this person. What does this person have in common? And I want you to list their age, income, gender, marital status, what they do, what industry they’re in, and then I want you to list psychographic things as well. Their worldviews, their values, their beliefs, their lifestyle, their hobbies, their interests. I want you to write all of that down, and once you have that big, bold list of things, I want you to take those commonalities and create a single representation of your ideal clients with as many specific details as you can muster. And I need you to describe this person so well that you can just simply step into her shoes at the drop of a hat.
So the goal is so that you can think like her, speak like her experience, her emotions, and essentially be her. So what is her name? I want you to give her a name. In my example, Jenny was the name. I want you to give her an age. And if she’s not a she, make him a he. I want you to give her a hair color and eye color. I need you to know whether or not she’s married. Whether or not she has children. I need you to name these people if they exist. Where does she live? How much money does she make? What kind of income? What’s her occupation? What are her life beliefs? What are her favorite books, music, TV shows? What does she Google? For example, list of things that are related to your business but also what else? Might she be googling? What conferences or events does she go to? What does she do in her free time? What are her Guilty Pleasures? Who does she idolize? What authors, teachers, or experts does she follow? What brands does she love? What is her fantasy vacation?
Now, once you have all that I need you to step into her shoes. Look at life through her eyes. What primary motion or set of emotions does she feel in this exact moment? She’s about to buy your product or service or read something on your website. What is she saying to herself in her head? What specific words or phrases is she using? What story is she telling herself? And I want you to write it all down as if you’re writing in your journal. And don’t, don’t discount any thought that might pop into your head whether it was good, bad, indifferent, even embarrassing stuff or non-PC stuff. Remember, you are trying to think like her, be like her, see like her and so this is where you’re going to write that down. This is where you’re going to tell that story. But don’t skip it. I need you to go down this road so that you can truly embody who your ideal customer is.
And once you’ve done that, now I need you to go a little bit deeper. And I need you to be brutally honest and candid with yourself based on how she would be acting, feeling reacting etc. What does she secretly fear may be true about her life, either as a relates to the service or product you’re about to be selling, or just her life in general right now? What does she worry about? What keeps her up at night? And I need you to write this as if you are Jenny. So think, what is Jenny worry about right now? What does Jenny what keeps her up at night? What stresses her out on a regular basis? What does she not look at closely because it triggers too much fear? And what is her worst-case scenario related to her life situation? The one fear that keeps her awake at night. How does she fear others will react if they found out about her situation? Her close friends, her family, her spouse, her clients. What will she lose power of, lose influence over, lose control of in her life if things don’t change or if things get worse? And then now finally, I need you to answer in her shoes these questions: What does she secretly wish was true about her life situation, either as it relates to the product or service she’s about to buy from you, or her life in general? What’s her “OMG, I can’t believe this exists” dream solution that she’d pay almost anything for? If her dream solution, which is a product or a service, could appear, and it unfolded perfectly in front of her, how would her story go? How will others respond to her if she gets the situation fixed in that ideal way? Again, I need you to step into Jenny’s shoes if her name is Jenny and answer these questions. And what will she be able to do or get or achieve if her fantasy situation comes true? Where will she be more powerful and influential in her life, if her fantasy situation came true?
Now it’s time for you to dig deep. I need you to do this exercise because the purpose is a strong business foundation. The purpose is to grow. The purpose is to create that business you’ve always wanted if it’s felt stagnant or if it’s starting from brand new.
So before I close out this episode, I want to give you a real-life business snapshot of their ideal customer. And this is from an article that I will link to in the show notes. I think it’s dated back in 2002, but I don’t think much has changed as far as who their ideal customer is. So this is Anthropology. They’ve stayed true to their brand, basically, for a really, really, really, really long time. And I don’t believe they have, but as of this article way back when, they had never advertised, and they don’t really need to, and I don’t recall any kind of advertising outside of email marketing can campaigns if you sign up for their newsletter. But you can ask anyone at Anthropologie who their customer is and this is what they’re going to rattle off: 30 to 45 years old college or postgraduate education, married with kids or in a committed relationship, professional or ex-professional, annual household income of 150,000 to 200,000. But that’s just the demographic information. Anthropology really dives further in to who that person actually is. They feel that she’s well-read and well-traveled. She is very aware of getting Anthropology’s references, whether it’s to a town in Europe, or to a book, or to a movie. She’s urban-minded. She’s into cooking, gardening, and wine, and she has a natural curiosity about the world. Plus, she’s relatively fit. The Anthropology customer is affluent, but not materialistic. She’s focused on building a nest but hankers for exotic travel. She can picture herself roughing it with a backpack and Eurorail pass as long as there is a massage and room service at the end of the trek. She’d like to be a domestic goddess but has no problem cutting corners. She prefers the luscious excess of British cooking sensation Nigella Lawson to the measured perfection of Martha Stewart. She’s in tune with trends, but she’s a confident individualist when it comes to style. She lives in the suburbs, but would never consider herself a suburbanite. The Anthropology woman is not so much conflicted as she is resistant to categorization. Her identity is a tangle of connections to activities, places, interest, values, and aspirations. She’s not married with two kids; she’s a yoga-practicing filmmaker with an organic garden, a collection of antique musical instruments, and an abiding interest in Chinese culture, plus a husband and two kids. It’s no coincidence that Julia Roberts is the celebrity avatar of Anthropology. Not only is she a frequent shopper, but her bohemian chic wardrobe in The Mexican was Anthropology-sourced. The attraction of Anthropology is that it rebels in the nuance and complexity of these women and the world they live in. And the power of its approach lies in its ability to create a vibrant, comfortable zone where they can put the puzzle of their multiplex hybrid lives together.
So if that doesn’t help you even further in figuring out how this narrative goes for you and how you’re going to be able to take your ideal customer, once you have deep-dived into her world, her life, her fears her dreams. It’s going to take your marketing efforts and the content you create, and the products you put together and the services you offer, it’s going to take them to the next level. And once you have this all figured out, it’s going to spark all sorts of creativity for you and for your business. Think new products, new packaging, marketing, the way you talk about your services and your products, charitable donations you start participating in, strategic alliances that you decide on. Like, the sky is the limit once you have this figured out. And again, I just want you to start with the one thing you want to sell more of and figure out who that ideal client is.
Thank you so much for listening to today’s episode. And one more time, don’t have FOMO. Go get yourself into the Inner Circle. It is waiting for you. Go to bossgirlcreative.com/innercircle and let me help you grow your empire. Again, thank you for listening and until next week. I hope you have a great rest of your week.