“Are you reading me right now?” he said with a nervous but playful laugh. He was the second person that week to ask me that. I sat there puzzled for a minute and replied, “no, at least not purposefully.”
Those were the replies I got on two different days from two totally different people after telling them I was pursuing my degree in psychology and it made me think. I’ve always been a people watcher, ya know, the quiet introvert sitting in the corner observing the people around her and taking in the environment. I love it, I love sitting and observing people, watching their body language and their responses to life happening around them. Constantly learning how and why people function the way they do. Literally, the main basis and definition of psychology.
Now, I still haven’t finished that degree. BUT let me ask you this – how often do you take the time and study your dream customer, also known as your ideal customer avatar, or your customer persona?
It’s one of the first things any marketer will tell you – pick your ideal customer, not to be mistaken with your niche.
The difference between dream customer and niche
These two get confused often, it even took me some time to really hash these two out. So let me take a minute and clarify for you.
Target Market: A particular group of consumers aimed.
Niche: a specialized segment of the market for a particular kind of product or service.
Ideal/Dream Customer: a specific person who benefits most AND enjoys your product or service and shares that enthusiasm with the people they know.
Now that you know the difference of each of these 3, let’s look into why you need to know and study your dream customer.
Why do you need a dream customer?
You’ve probably heard it half a dozen times: when you’re trying to speak to everyone, you’re talking to no one.
Now, I am not all gung ho on getting super niche, unless your services or product require you to be. BUT if you don’t have a dream customer or even a couple of different customer avatars, your messaging can be super confusing and a confused mind doesn’t buy.
“ a confused mind doesn’t buy. “
Your branding, vibe, message, and content all need to be shaped around this person so that you connect with them. If not, they don’t feel like you are the right person to work with them.
For example. Say you are a hair colorist and you specialize in high-quality, luxury blondes. You’re going to want your dream customer to be a blonde or at least want to be a blonde, right? You’re not going to want to talk about the upkeep of reds. If so, you’ll attract redheads. The blondes are going to go somewhere else because they aren’t going to believe you are the right colorist for them.
How to Create A Dream Customer Profile
To me, there are 3 different stages when it comes to determining your dream customer (after you have decided on your target market and niche). Firstly you have to decide who you want to work with and who you don’t want to work with.
Then think about previous clients and projects. Which projects were your favorite? When you know start writing down:
- Why is this your favorite?
- What was the client like? Where were they on their journey?
- What was the project?
- What were the objectives?
- What was the problem this client had?
- What did you like most about the project?
- Was there something you did not like?
- What were the results for the client?
- What was the feedback from the client?
If you only have 1 that is fine but if you have more projects that you really liked review what you wrote down and check if there were similarities between the type of project, the client, the problems and the objectives. If so, highlight these.
Now you have a great starting point to create your dream customer profile but now it’s time to test it through market research to really get to know this dream customer you want to work with.
But what should you include in your dream customer profile?
I believe that client profiles often go wrong, or are seen as not useful because we’re thought to list a bunch of demographics or psychographics that don’t seem relevant to our business and then don’t know how to use them (which is quite logical when you’re listing things that have nothing to do your dream customer)
So before you start listing all the demographics that you usually see in profiles like gender, nationality, age, race or marital status you need to determine what is relevant for you.
When you looked at who you wanted to work with and you really only want to work with other females then use gender as one of the elements in your profile. If you want to work with other moms to show how they can build a business while taking care of their kids, then absolutely list this in your profile.
But if you want to work with copywriters and help them market their business on social media, these two factors might not be relevant so have a look at which factors are and are not relevant for you.
So use those demographics and psychographics that are relevant to you and then spend some on your dream customer’s mindset and struggles. When you get to know more about your dream customer you start to see a picture in your head of the perfect person and you will start to recognize them when you meet new people or can relate it to people you have met in the past.
And then, you need to come up with a strategy on how you can connect with this dream customer.
How to use your customer profile in your marketing?
Determining your target market, niche, and dream customer is impacting other parts of your business. It will impact which services you offer (you don’t just want to offer what you think they need, but what your dream clients actually want), how you position your business, it impacts your brand messaging, your content topics, and where you show up online.
As we’re talking about marketing here, I am not looking at the services you offer but at how you can connect with this dream customer.
Because you now know exactly who you are targeting your brand messaging can be really specific. From calling them out (how much clearer is it when you say you target luxury brands as a website designer instead of saying passionate small business owners) to your dream customer’s struggles, goals, and the transformation that needs to happen to get them to overcome those struggles and reach their goals.
This is also where your market research will come in. When you know the exact words your dream customers are using to describe their goals and their struggles they will recognize themselves in your messaging. Whether you are using that is in your IG captions, in Facebook groups, or on your website, they will know you are someone that can help them.
When you then follow that up with how you can help with their transformation (those services you based on solving their struggles and with a process that they love) and have testimonials from clients you helped in the past you will not just be seen as someone that can help them but you will be seen as the right person to help them out.
Just imagine: when you exactly know what to write about just imagine how much faster your content creation will be.
Where brand messaging is more about the words you use as well as your tone and unique voice, content topics are the subjects that you are talking about in your blogs, IG captions, and newsletters.
In these topics, you can talk about the beliefs or mindset they have around your services (maybe they feel they don’t need them or see how it can help them), the objections they might have (too expensive or not enough time), the goals that they have, what they are running into while trying to achieve their goals. These topics are great to show that you know what you’re talking about and they will see you really know your dream customers.
Next to that, you want to talk about where they need to be in their journey or what they need to have in place before working with you, you can break down your processes or what the first step is in working with you. Anything that can help break down the barrier or concerns potential clients might have in regards to your services.
Where you show up online
You don’t only want to know who your dream customers are, but also where you can find them. Because when you know where you can find them you know which platform you should spend your on. So instead of trying to write IG captions, create stories and reels, have a Facebook Group, comment in other people’s Facebook Groups, create weekly YouTube videos, create countless pins and be on Clubhouse as much as possible you know which 1 or 2 platforms to focus on.
Determining your dream customers and knowing where to find them is the topic I get the most questions about. And I would love to give you a one-size-fits-all approach on how to identify and find them and then convert them through your copy and content.
But this looks different for each business. So I would advise you to use the steps above, to create your initial profile and brand messaging and then go test them. Nothing in business is on a set-it-and-forget-it basis. Everything is a starting point that needs to be tested and improved, from your website, your landing pages, and newsletters to your messaging and your content pillars. So it will take time to make this work.
But there is also something you can start doing today. You have probably heard the phrase: You attract what you put out. So whether you’re on Instagram constantly hoping to position yourself as an authority, rely on word-of-mouth referrals or you’re in Facebook Groups where your dream customers hang out what do all 3 have in common?
Those potentially dream customers on Instagram and Facebook but also when you get referred only happen as a response to how you behave. So how can you be more like your dream clients?
- Do you want to work with mission-driven clients? Then how can you show up more in line with your mission?
- Do you want to work with clients who are open to feedback? How can you show them, that you are open to feedback as well?
- Do you want clients who challenge their limits? How can you show them you do the same?
The more you are those same things you want to see in your dream customer, the more you will attract dream customers that are this way.