In today’s episode, we’re going to discuss how to identify our ideal customers. This is a really important step in the passion marketing process. In the last livestream, we talked about why passion marketing is so important and so we know we need to identify the passion statements of our customers. But before we can even find the passion statements, we have to identify our ideal customers.
Identifying Our Ideal Customer Persona
I consulted for many years. During this time, some clients worked really well with me; they connected with me, they resonated with me, and I was able to take really good care of them and make them happy. There were also other clients that weren’t a good fit. Some clients I didn’t connect with and I wasn’t able to meet their expectations.
There was a point in time when I sat down and decided I wanted to find more of these ideal clients. If I could just clone these people I loved working with, I knew I could make them very successful. I started analyzing what made those ideal customers, ideal. What were the commonalities between those clients that I enjoyed working with?
As I did this, I found some unique things about those clients. I found that they were all what I call CEO entrepreneurs. They weren’t entrepreneurs that were starting their first side hustle; they were entrepreneurs who were CEOs of a company that already had some success, and they wanted to take it to the next level. Or, they had already been the CEO of a company they’d had success with and sold, and they were working on starting their next business.
I found that these ideal customers of mine all tended to be people who prioritized entrepreneurship, faith, and family. I also found out who my ideal customers were not. They weren’t people who were stars of their high school sports teams. I love sports, but I didn’t seem to really connect with those athletes.
A lot of the traits of my ideal customers came down to the things that resonated with me. A lot of it was because that’s who I am: someone who is passionate about faith, family, innovation, and entrepreneurship.
After doing that analysis, I created an ideal customer persona. His name is Brad. Brad was actually one of my clients that I really enjoyed working with. So, I based my ideal customer persona around him. I call it a digital monetizer persona. This is what I have:
Brad is an entrepreneur who already has valuable assets such as knowledge, experience, reach, a team, products, capital, and credibility, and he is striving to more effectively leverage those assets to make a lot more money. This is not his first rodeo. He’s already had business success with a business that wasn’t on the cutting edge of digital strategy, and he’s wanting to transform his business ventures with the latest successful digital strategies.
He has a budget of X amount per month that he can invest in new ventures or growth projects within his existing venture. Brad is ambitious; he’s a doer, and a problem solver. He’s focused on the long game and is willing to sacrifice in the short term to achieve those long term objectives. He loves to see analysis of the data and make data driven decisions. He’s not a high level digital marketing expert.
He likely had a side hustle or a job while in school. His time and freedom are two of the most valuable assets to him and their scarce resources. He is not a stranger afraid of technology and marketing, and is seeking help to make more effective use of his time. He values people who are really good and successful at getting things done for him. He likes audiobooks and podcasts because he has time to squeeze them in and multitask by listening to them while driving, exercising, and during other downtime.
He has a lot of responsibilities and pressures on him, and has to work more hours than he would like he’s working to figure out a way to work fewer hours and have more time for the things that matter most to him. He’s a man of faith, and a family man. He runs his business ethically and treats his business colleagues with kindness.
Brad is focused on monetization because it will allow him to have the time and money to take care of the things he values most such as his family and faith, his health, and being in God’s hands to make a huge difference for good in the world.
When I make decisions, when I try to determine my social media strategy, I try to craft something that works for Brad. When I launch products, I try to craft something that works for Brad. I can’t be all things to all people, but I’ve realized that I don’t have to. I can resonate with just my ideal customers.
If you’ve noticed, on Sundays I do a show called Entrepreneurs of Faith where I talk about how faith can help entrepreneurs in their journey. I did that greatly because of my customer persona. I realized that my customer persona values faith as a part of their journey. Those people tend to resonate with me and so I’ve created that faith episode every week. It’s not going to appeal to everybody as not everybody sees faith as an important part of their entrepreneurial journey, but I do tend to attract those people who do value it.
We don’t want to try to be all things to everyone. We don’t want to try to sell to everyone. It doesn’t work. Instead, we should find the people who like us the most. We should find the people who refer us the most and who spend the most money on us. We should find the people who give us five star reviews and who participate the most in our Facebook group. We can find the people that are our ideal customers and create a persona like I did. Then, as we make decisions, we can try to make the decisions that are going to attract that ideal customer.
The Love Group, Swing Group, and Hate Group
When I was doing my MBA program, my favorite professor was Michael Swenson. I remember him teaching a concept about the love group and the hate group. He essentially said that there are three groups of customers: there’s a love group that absolutely loves you, there’s a swing group in the middle, and then there’s a hate group that hates you.
With the hate group, there’s nothing we can do to make them happy. The hate group is very expensive and takes a lot of customer service time. Even after we do our best, they’re still not going to be happy. My professor said that we shouldn’t worry about the hate group since we have limited time and effort. We need to find out why the love group loves us, and then we need to use that to sell to the swing group. That should be our focus.
I like to use a little bit of different terminology. I call the love group our passion tribe. I call the swing group the convincibles since they’re the ones I can focus on. And I often call the hate group the unprofitable. It’s not that I hate them and in many cases they don’t hate me, but it just takes so much time and effort with that group that they’re unprofitable. They shouldn’t be my focus.
If I know who my unprofitables are, I should avoid focusing my ad dollars and my marketing time towards them. I should try to attract the love group, or the passion tribe, and I should try to go after the convincibles with the messaging of the passion tribe.
Leveraging Our Ideal Customers
Once we understand who our ideal customers are, we can leverage them to improve our businesses. One business that did this effectively with me was Righteous Slice.
A good friend of mine who is a Harvard MBA, a former stealth bomber pilot and an Air Force fighter pilot, is also passionate about making pizza. He went to Italy and got trained on making pizza, and he decided he wanted to open a pizza restaurant in the town I live in called Righteous Slice.
Righteous Slice has some of the best pizza I have ever had. After he opened this restaurant, I began to regularly take my family and my business teams there. I loved that restaurant. They made phenomenal pizza and it was a really fun experience that I loved to share with the people I cared about.
Righteous Slice had a little frequent members program so they could keep track of which customer sent him the most business and at the end of the year, I found out that I was one of his top 10 customers. I I had spent more money with him than everybody except for 10 people. He took the information that he gathered from his rewards program and correctly identified me as part of his love group, and then invited that love group to a party. Sadly I wasn’t able to go, but he was able to get feedback and build relationships with his love group.
He’s done other things with me as well. For example, he’s had me come as a secret shopper and test new employees. He’s had me give feedback on different pizza recipes and topping combinations that he wants to add to the menu. He sees me as part of that love group and he uses my feedback to help shape the direction of the store which further builds my loyalty to him and his restaurant.
Another example of a business that leverages their ideal customers for feedback is Guestio. Guestio is a platform that helps connect show host people that have podcasts or YouTube shows with guests for their shows. When I was launching the Monetization Nation show and I was looking for guests, I used Guestio a lot. I used it so much that they correctly identified me as part of their love group, and they have since reached out to me multiple times. They asked me to do focus group meetings where they would ask questions about what’s working and not working with additional features.
Both Guestio and Righteous Slice identified me as part of their love group by using data on their site. They found out how much I was spending and interacting with their companies then put me into a focus group. Because I loved them so much, I was happy to participate with them and provide feedback. Now, as they make decisions, they use my point of view as a member of their love group, as one of their ideal customers, to shape the direction and the future of their organization.
Before we try to find our passion statement, we have to find our ideal customers, our love group, our passion tribe. Then, we can find the passion statements of our passion tribe which I will discuss next Wednesday as a livestream episode on our social media channels.
Here are some of my key takeaways from this episode:
- We can identify our ideal customers by finding the customers that we connect with the most, the customers that leave us the best reviews, and the customers that spend the most money on us.
- We should try to attract the love group, or our ideal customers, and then go after the convincibles with the messaging of the love group.
- Once we know who our ideal customers are, we can get feedback to improve the direction and the future of our organizations.