Why Your Customers Should Be Like Your Shoes

Today I had the great pleasure of listening to a webinar put on by Sonia Simone, Brian Clark and Chris Garretthat was part of a series called Authority Rules. Today’s talk was all about attracting the right traffic to your site or blog. Since I am a fan of pretty much anything Copyblogger does, I thoroughly enjoyed the entire webinar, but toward the end Sonia suggested an exercise that I think most of my clients would benefit from completing – writing out a description of your ideal customer.

When you start a business, your ideal customer is one that will pay you. I know this because I’ve been there. I’ve chased after all sorts of business that I probably should have ignored even if they flashed thousands of dollars in my face. A bad fit can be even more painful in business than in shoes.

You can save yourself some grief by directing all of your marketing, writing and efforts toward your fictional, but perfect, customer.

Clearly, you should not deny doing business with someone because they don’t fit that description exactly, but if they don’t fit it at all….well, you should probably run. Just like you can get by just fine wearing those extra hot high heels out to dinner but not for dancing, you can get by just fine working with people who are not your ideal in some situations.

You need to create a group of customers who are similar to each other, and have a sort of consumer ‘tribal behavior’. The best way to do this is through tribal marketing, which you can learn more about at SheerID; this is a perfect way to have plenty of good fits.

Since it is sometimes better to show than to tell, I am going to write out the description of my “dream” client here, as an example of the kinds of details you should think about when completing this exercise yourself.

My ideal client is Jake. Jake is a farmer who is passionate about food, food safety and changing the way our food supply is created and distributed. He isn’t trying to put Wal-Mart out of business, but he does think people should have a choice about where they purchase their food.

Jake is 38 years old, and has been in business for 9 years. His farm has a CSA program and he sells his produce, meat and eggs at farmers’ markets and through a small stand on his own property as well. Jake is running his farm, his CSA, his farm stand and also doing all of the marketing required himself. While his business is growing, he foresees a time in the near future when he will not be able to grow anymore simply because of time constraints.

Jake is married and has a small daughter. He likes his family and would like to spend at least a little time with them. He has decided it’s time to find some help. Since Jake’s least favorite thing is marketing and writing, he has decided to hire someone to help in those areas.

Jake is comfortable with computing. He understands that Facebook is an important way to stay in touch with some of his customers. He has been writing a blog, but erratically. He has sent out a couple of email newsletters and isn’t sure if that is an effective tool for him. Jake knows what SEO is and realizes the importance of web design. He understands what this post explains about different platforms. He has worked with a professional developer.

He doesn’t know it, but Jake has already put together a loose marketing strategy. He just needs help in executing and expanding it. He is willing to invest the necessary money on a monthly basis to make sure his Facebook Page is active and interesting, blog is updated, his newsletter goes out, and that his customers are happy to hear from him. He wants to build a community around his farm, both online and offline.

So there you are. My ideal customer fits like a pair of fuzzy slippers in January. What about you? Are you clients like expensive, gorgeous shoes that rub blisters on your feet or more like the best sneakers ever?

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