Our ideal customers — those folks who love that businesslike thing we love doing, that we do to serve them — they are the foundation of our business. Pick one of them.
One? But the marketing guy said . . .
Yep. One — only one. Get specific. Get up close. Make it a real person. Crawl inside his or her head.
From one real human being with whom you have had a success, we can extrapolate many facets of what will and will not work for a business. Think of the one you choose as your prototype ideal customer. Use this model to get closer to whom that customer is.
A Model to Describe One Ideal Customer
Use these questions to make sure you are specific because we’re building a model.
- What job or group does this person represent? (designers, new mothers, undertakers, college students, used car buyers)
- What is this one person’s biggest worry, threat, thing that wakes him or her up at 2 in the morning?
- How does this one person see him- or herself? What is the value that this one person thinks that he or she brings to the world?
- What problem did you solve for this person? How long did it take? How would you value what you provided? How would he or she value it?
Answer these questions. Then write, record, or tell a friend a description of your prototype ideal customer. You’re ready to explore what he or she needs, desires, and wants.
We learn as writers that individual readers share common interests. We learn as marketers to meet each individual where he or she stands. I learned as a publisher that a well-defined prototype is exact and as explicit as possible. A strong prototype is like a single stone in the water — we can extrapolate it in rings to larger and larger views.
Who is your prototype customer? C’mon describe one for me.
Next: How to define your niche market, moving from one to a group.
To follow the entire series: Liz Strauss’ Inside-Out Thinking to Building a Solid Business, see the Successful Series Page.