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42. Understanding & Speaking to Your Ideal Customer

42. Understanding & Speaking to Your Ideal Customer

Already have an ideal customer avatar? Let’s talk about how to actually use that information in your marketing and all your business decisions. Sure, it’s cool to know where she lives and what she does for a living, but how do you use that information to your advantage? 

Today we’re digging deep into how to actually craft that avatar, how to use it in your business, and why you should be going through this process on a regular basis. People are always evolving so messages that resonated with her yesterday may not resonate with her today.

Today we’re talking about our ideal customer. Everyone talks about this, you’ve heard me talk about this, and you might already think you know who your ideal customer is, but… I encourage you to revisit this ideal customer regularly and the new year is a great time to do this.

Before you leave because you think, nah, I totally got this dialed in, think about how your life has changed in the last year. Or even how much it’s changed in 6 months. How have your priorities, struggles, pain points changed in your own life? 

If things have changed for you, the same is true for your customers. 

Humans are constantly evolving, just like your business is constantly evolving, which is why doing this ideal customer exercise once isn’t enough. Not only are we going to lay the foundation, but we’re also going to talk about what to do with that information.

If you’re already on my email list you have access to my free resource library where I have a PDF worksheet that walks you through this entire process. And if you’re not already on my email list, what are you waiting for? Go to HERE to sign up and then check your inbox for instant access to my entire library of every freebie I’ve ever created to grow your eCommerce business.

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Use psychographics to understand your ideal customer

So many of us miss this important part of our ideal customer. So what the fuck are psychographics?

We define psychographics as the study and classification of people according to their attitudes, aspirations, and other psychological criteria, especially in market research.

This is where you really dig deep into who this person is at their core, beyond the surface level crap. Figuring out what stage they are at in their life, what REALLY MATTERS to them, how they decide what products to buy, and what topics around your product they care about. 

Marketing a product is not actually about your product. It’s how that product can make their life better, solve their problem, or make them feel good.

When you understand this, when you understand what makes them tick, you can then more easily craft content and experiences in a way that makes them say “You Get Me”

This week’s download has high-end skincare brand positioning example, which shows the marriage behind the demographics info, their age, income, etc. and the psychographic information and how you can combine that information to figure out what’s important to them.

In this example, we have a 36-year-old female fashion writer who lives in Los Angeles. She’s married with no kids, has a household income of 300k per year, and drives a BMW Convertible.

When we dig a little deeper, we know that she is a spender, VIP and prestige are important to her, she a feminist and a dog mom, she loves makeup, travel, and cares about the environment.

Now that we know this, we can create branding, content, messaging, and product variations that speak directly to her.

Translate psychographics into marketing messages

Let’s pretend it’s not covid and leisure travel is still a thing. In addition to our full size products, we may offer TSA approved travel sizes so she can jet set and keep her skin fresh.

She is an environmentalist, so we’ll want to talk about our eco-friendly packaging and manufacturing processes.

As someone who travels a lot and likely attends events as a writer, it’s possible she drinks a bit too much bubbly on occasion, so we can talk about the hydration our products give to her skin the morning after.

We’ll also want to tout how we’re cruelty-free and not tested on animals since she’s a dog owner and that’s probably important to her.

As a feminist, she’ll be want to support a female-owned company or one that contributes to female causes.

And because prestige is important to her, she’ll appreciate being treated like a VIP. A rewards program with higher-level tiers for your most loyal customers — think Sephora’s Rouge level — is a great way to keep her coming back.

How else can we use psychographic information?

Not only do we want to use eco-friendly packaging because we know that it’s important to her, but we’ll want to infuse a luxurious look too. You may gravitate toward using foil printing, but is that eco-friendly? I’m not sure. If it’s not, something more minimalistic might be a better way to go. Sleek white or black packaging also exhibits a luxurious look.

When considering your imagery, include people that look like her and that she resonates with. Focus on models that are people she might go to brunch with or out for a girls’ night. One of our messaging pieces focused on hydrating skin after enjoying too much bubbly, so maybe your imagery is actually a girls’ night out or something like that.

Create content about more than just your product 

When creating content for this person, think beyond just your product. What else does she care about?

Because she’s likely career-focused and is often at events making connections, you can talk about being confident at networking events, and how caring for your skin and knowing you look great is just one way to show up as your best self.

Adjust your messaging based on what’s going on in the world

If we’re still dealing with covid, she’s likely attending virtual events where others see her face. This makes her skincare routine even more important. Give tips on how to look great on camera, starting with staying hydrated and keeping up with your skincare routine.

Partner with complementary brands 

Say you do an educational virtual event or Zoom meeting around looking great on camera, you can partner with a jewelry brand and a CBD brand, for example.

Your messaging can talk about waking up refreshed after a great night’s sleep with CBD, having great skin with your skincare products, and showing your personality with great jewelry from the neck up.

The way you partner doesn’t even have to be by hosting a virtual event, though live video is so powerful, even for product-based businesses.

Maybe you just do a newsletter swap where you all agree to share each other’s products to make it even more lucrative for one another, you can each join each other’s affiliate programs and earn a commission on any of the other brand’s products that you sell-through your own newsletter.  

If it makes sense, you can even create a product bundle where they get a kick-ass deal if they buy all of your products in one shot.

Are you seeing how you can take the information and use it to drive all of your business decisions?

Dive deeper into your ideal customer 

Using the questions in the workbook, let’s focus on one product so you can really see how this comes together. Since it’s a hot topic right now, let’s focus on growing a CBD brand with female entrepreneurs as our target customers.

One quick disclaimer: there are a lot of rules and regulations around what you can and can’t say and the claims you can make. So if you are a CBD brand, make sure you’re following all the rules.

Understand attitudes and mindset around topics that relate to your product & industry

Considering that CBD has been pretty prominent in the online space, they’re probably already familiar with it and curious about using it, but they’re not super versed in the product itself and aren’t really sure how to pick the best one.

It’s likely they’ve heard amazing things from their peers about it and potentially want to incorporate it into their life, but they’re not really sure where to start or how to best use it.

They’ve also probably come across some really big brands and they might be hesitant to trust a smaller brand because they think it might be dangerous. It’s also possible that they’ve tried other brands and didn’t really see any positive results.

Turn information into messaging that resonates with your ideal customer

Because our target customer is not super well versed in CBD and doesn’t really understand the product, we need to educate her on CBD. Talk about where it comes from, how it’s made, the different types, what makes them different, etc. That’s a total no brainer and should be a content pillar of any CBD brand.

We also need to educate them on how to get started and incorporate it into their life. We can share our own story of how it’s helped us and how we use it. We can share other stories of influencers we work with, customer testimonials, etc.

We’re also going to have to really work on growing the trust factor with our potential customers because we are a small brand. When you’re selling something that people ingest or put on their body, there is this additional layer of hesitation we have to break through.

Even with something like eye makeup. I’m probably not going to buy makeup from a dollar store. I’m sure it’s perfectly fine, but I have preconceived notions about the quality of that product, and I certainly don’t want to put it on my eyes.

Lastly, we need to address their fear that the product might not work for them. We also want to educate them on the different types of CBD and that they’re not all created equal. We also need to make sure the customer understands that the best results come from regular use. So using it for 7 days isn’t necessarily enough time to determine its success.

We might want to offer a money-back guarantee. As a small business, it can feel like a recipe for a lot of lost money, but consider how the increase in conversion can pay for the few bottles that you may have to take back.

The truth about things like money-back guarantees is that many people don’t actually take advantage of them. Shit tons of money goes unclaimed on things like money-back guarantees, rebates, even gift-cards. So if you’re just getting started, or you’re struggling to catch traction, it might be worth it to just test this out for a bit and see if it moves the needle.

Understand how your products fit into their world 

What are their aspirations, goals, dreams, and wishes?

What do they want for this world, their life, results from your products?

As a female entrepreneur, they want to see more female leaders, they want to make an impact on their community and see other female CEO’s thrive. They want to do big things in the world, which means they need focus and clarity in their day-to-day life and they’re hoping CBD can help them with that.

If the customer we were targeting were an older woman with arthritis, the results she would want from your product would be pain relief so she can get back to gardening or running around after her grandchildren. The messaging that we would use for these two people is VERY different. 

Use this information to share the transformation your product can have

Again, this is where you’ll want to share your story and other people’s stories who have gotten those results she’s looking for. What have they accomplished in their business since starting a CBD regimen? Because they have so much more clarity and focus, what has that changed in their life?

Now, I’m no fan of big pharma, but think about the commercials you see for prescription drugs. Those commercials are showing the transformation of the user after they started using the product. An add for eczema cream will show them pulling down their sleeves awkwardly in a group of people because they don’t want anyone to see, and it will cut to them now wearing a tank top and they’re the center of attention with friends out to dinner or at a picnic.

It’s not about the product itself or all the features. It’s about the result and the transformation that the product can give you.

Okay, so you might think, okay sure, this is really easy with a product that actually solves a problem like this, but what if I’m selling clothes in a boutique? The same principle applies, friend.  

Let’s say we have a clothing boutique with trendy items. We’ll use my previous boutique as the example. I sold contemporary denim brands like Hudson, James Jeans. I also had Michael Stars tees, Gypsy 05 maxi dresses (I don’t even think they’re around anymore), and going out tops from some smaller brands like Hale Bob and Prarie NY.

For my customer, there were a few different things at play. One of them was status as I was in an upscale neighborhood and while, of course, my customers bought these brands of jeans because they fit really well, it was also because they were recognizable.

If you had on a pair of Hudson Jeans with flap back pocket, everyone knew they were Hudson jeans. And even if they didn’t have the flap back pocket, the little flag tag they had was also recognizable. It’s just like a pair of Louboutin shoes with a red bottom or a Valentino Rockstud.

My customer loved getting a new top to wear with her jeans for a Friday or Saturday night out. Whether it was a date or a girl’s night out. So I knew that my tops had to be reasonably priced for them because they would want to buy a lot of them.

And why do we buy clothes? Why do we care what we wear? Because when we look good, we feel good. When we feel sexy, we have more confidence. Heels make us stand taller, which gives us more confidence. When we understand how to dress our shape, to highlight the things we love about our bodies and camouflage the things we don’t, we feel more powerful.

So I wasn’t selling the flap on the back of the Hudson Jeans. I wasn’t even really selling the fact that they fit well, I was selling that the flaps made your butt look rounder, that the mid-rise camouflaged your belly pooch, that a straight-leg jean would make your hips look smaller, or that this sweetheart neckline top would make your cleavage look amazing. You could go out on that date night and feel confident and have your partner drooling over you all night, or you could just feel you had it all together and could conquer anything.

What objections stop them from buying your product?

In the CBD example, we touched on this already a bit in terms of them not being sure if your product is safe and whether it will work for them. They also may wonder if CBD can get them high, or if they would test positive on a drug test.

A client I worked with recently sells make your own nail polish kits, which comes with the base formula for the nail polish and then color pigments to mix your own color. One of the biggest objections her customer had was, what if I screw it up? What if I mix the colors wrong or use the wrong amount? There was anxiety around the actual creation of the color.

We knew that once they do it the first time they see how easy it actually is and just want to keep doing more, but getting them over that initial first hump was really difficult.

So the marketing and messaging for those first-time customers is heavily focused on overcoming that one objection. And she’s also creating more content, guides, and tools to express that you can’t screw it up because it can always be fixed, and to walk them through the process.

Use day-to-day activities to relate to your ideal customer on a personal level

You should also think through what the day-to-day activities of your ideal customer look like, think of it as a day in the life. What’s it like to be in their shoes?

Think about the most basic mundane things so you can relate to them on a personal level. Some questions you can ask are :

  • Are they early risers or night owls?,
  • Are they constantly chauffeuring their kids around?
  • Are they currently homeschooling them?
  • Do they have a long commute to work?
  • Do they listen to podcasts?
  • What are their favorite TV shows to binge?
  • Do they cook or more of a takeout kinda girl?
  • How do they relax and unwind?

When you know the answers to these questions, you can then use this lighter type of content to connect with them and relate to them. Figure out what you have in common, what you’re also experiencing. How you present it to them will depend on the voice of your brand. If you’ve got a humorous vibe, you can add some memes into your rotation.

This is great content for Instagram stories, for example, since that has a more behind-the-scenes vibe and is more about reaching your existing followers than gaining new ones.

Use hard data to understand who uses your product

In addition to more open-ended questions, you’re also going to want to look at your hard data and numbers. So you’ll want to figure out things like who uses your product most. How, when, and why? Also, why and when would they make a repeat purchase?

Is your product consumable like CBD? Do they just want something new like in the case of the clothing boutique. Is it a hobby for them, or is it part of their self-care?

What content is resonating with them most right now? Look at the subject lines that get the best open rates, the social media posts with the best engagement, and the blog posts with the most reads.

Now at this point you might think, great — but where do I actually get this information from?

Well, that depends. If you’re just starting your business, you’re going to have to make some educated guesses and do some market research. Talk to some people you think you want to sell to. If you are your own ideal customer, think about how you would answer these questions.

Going back to the CBD example, there was a time when you were a newbie too. What were your preconceived notions, questions, and hesitations about using CBD?

Go to where you think your customer is and start talking to people. If you find that they’re not here, awesome — that’s a good insight — and move on to the next platform.

A word of caution here. Do not ask friends and family unless they are your ideal customer or are a successful marketer. I’m not saying they won’t have any value to bring as a consumer in general, but it’s very possible they will send you down the wrong path and will have their own limiting beliefs about what’s possible, etc. In simpler terms, it’s like asking someone who can’t smell if they like the scent of your candle.

If you’ve already been in business a while, then you’ll have hard data to work from. Look at the reviews you’re receiving, good and bad. Look at the customer service inquiries you’re getting. What keeps coming up? If you’re getting return requests, why are they returning? When you see patterns, you know what you need to address.

At my previous job, we had this one particular product that was getting a lot of poor reviews. And there was a common theme which showed us it was actually user error that was the reason they weren’t having a good experience with it. So we knew we had to add more education about the use of that product.

We created content for the product page, put into a post-purchase email, and make sure we always talked about when promoting that product on social media.

Never underestimate the value of your front-line workers and the insights they have about your customers. They’re the ones who are communicating with them regularly, and that’s why I’ll always encourage you to tap into that when you’re doing your campaign recaps and analyzing your business.

Equip your wholesale customers with the tools to sell your product

One last note I want to touch on here before we wrap it up, and that’s for those of you who are doing wholesale. Your wholesale customers are also customers. It’s up to you to give them all the tools they need to represent and sell your product. So think about their experience with your brand as well.

From how you first reach out to them through the entire journey of them working with you. What do they need to know and understand about your brand and products to successfully sell it ot their customers.

If you know that people typically have a certain objection about buying from you, let’s use the make your own nail polish kit as an example, they need to know so they can also address that objection on their website and when they promote your product. 

Because if they can’t sell it, they’re not going to reorder from you.

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Hey, I'm Jessica

I support scrappy female entrepreneurs with actionable steps & strategies to grow and scale the traffic, sales & profit in their eCommerce businesses. 

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