Define your ideal customer
Jessica Baldwin / Updated February 28, 2023
Who does your business help?
An important first step in marketing your business (and creating your website), is to create your ideal customer persona.
What is a customer persona?
A customer persona is the visualization and profile of a "person" representing your ideal customer.
How is it different from the target audience you already have in your marketing plan? Your target audience is much broader than your audience persona will be. When defining a target market, you're identifying a (typically) large group of people that share a set of demographics and behaviors.
When defining your customer persona, hone in on a specific person representing your ideal customer; their demographics, behaviors, goals, challenges, interests, and more. A customer persona should be singular. We're thinking of one distinct person, what they think, and how they feel.
Why is developing a customer persona important?
Your audience persona is your "north star" for developing your marketing materials. It will help you stay focused. You can reference your persona when brainstorming new content or messaging. Ask yourself, "would this message resonate with this person?" You'll know when to move forward with an idea or make adjustmets to appeal to your audience.
How to create a persona
Creating your customer persona can be as simple or as detailed as you need. It's not something that you should feel immense pressure to "get right." It's a tool for you to reference in moving your marketing strategy forward.
So, don't stress about it! The customer persona exercise will provide clarity, and you can always make adjustments along the way.
Here's an easy framework to help you get started
We recommend starting with a whiteboard or blank sheet of paper. Just start brainstorming!
An important note: When you start defining the characterstics of this person, it may feel like you are excluding some of the traits of other customers. You'll start to think, "Well, some of my customers care about these "other things" or "I don't want to miss out on sales from this other type of person." Resist the urge to spend too much time in that space.
The goal here is to understand the people who most deeply resonate with your brand and your content so you can improve your marketing strategies.
If you already have customers or clients, you can start by studying your most loyal customers. What common characteristics do they possess? Can you ask them questions via an email survey, your social media channels, or by doing direct interviews? You'll learn a lot by talking to the people who are already engaged with your business. This information will help you craft a better customer persona.
If you are just starting your business and you don't have existing customers yet, you're going to have to make some assumptions to help define your ideal customer. As you start operating and working with customers, your ideal customer persona may change.
Give the persona a name
A name helps give your persona specificity and a personality.
Start with the demographics
Make a bulleted list to include age, gender, income level, education, family status, and location.
Behaviors, challenges, and needs
Think through your ideal customer's challenges, goals, values, habits, media they consume, and anything else you know or believe to be true about this "person."
Write out a story
In software development, product teams create user stories to help them understand their customers' needs and how to build features to suit those needs.
It's equally applicable when we're talking about creating content and online experiences for our ideal customer.
Start with "As a < type of person >, I want < some goal > so that < some reason >."
Here's how one health coach might think about their ideal customer story:
"As a busy working parent, I find it challenging to find time for fitness, but I want to feel fit and healthy, so that I have more energy to play with my kids after work."
Giving your customer persona a story will help you deep-dive into how they think and into their real needs. Gain an advantage by making your content and marketing messaging so perfect for them that yours stands out from other media they consume.
For example, our health coach might use copy like the following to express how they can meet the needs of their ideal customer.
"Feel better and have more energy for the things that matter. You don't have to redesign your life around endless workouts that you hate. I'll help you establish simple habits to improve your health and fitness without a huge time committment."
You can see how the marketing copy reflects the needs of the ideal customer as expressed in the story.
Here's an example of a customer persona for a local event and entertainment website called Billings365.com. You can make yours as detailed as you like!
Download a copy of this template below!
How to use your ideal customer persona
Your customer persona serves as the first building block in developing all of your other marketing strategies.
Refer to your persona to:
- write marketing copy
- decide where to advertise
- develop your brand aesthetic
- prioritize the right social media channels
- create content
- plan your website copy, content, and design
Get started with our free customer persona template. Download your copy below!
Get the free customer persona template.
Define your ideal customer to create better marketing.