FREE Course Builder's Bootcamp

Learn to create and sell your own popular online course, and get set for success in less than a week

Customer Profile Template: Finding Your ONE Person

Post updated by Lexi Rodrigo

How would you like to know EXACTLY what to say in your marketing messaging? To know EXACTLY what sort of blog post to write to generate lots of comments? To know EXACTLY what brand identity you need to have in order to inspire a large group of people and turn them into raving fans?

These are exactly the kinds of things you’ll know when you clearly understand your ideal customer or client.

It’s a critical piece of foundational marketing that you absolutely NEED to have. How do you get it? Good news: you can have it one hour from now just by following the steps in this post.

Getting Started: What Is a Customer Profile?

A customer profile, also known as a buyer persona or avatar, is a vividly-written description of one person who represents your ideal customer.

This “ideal customer” can either be imaginary or based on a real person, and you describe this individual in great detail, from general demographic information (age, gender, occupation), to emotional factors (fears, hopes, dreams), to details about their intimate lives, such as what breakfast cereal they eat, which bands they listen to, and what guilty pleasure they indulge in.

Keep in mind that while your actual customers will be diverse, your customer profile gives you an easy shorthand to crystallize precisely who you are targeting, what challenges they experience, and how you will communicate with them.

Ready to figure out what your ideal customer profile looks like? Click below to download your template!

The Problem with Speaking to a Target Market

Most of the time people go about identifying their niche the wrong way. Their first mistake? Defining their audience or target market.

Here are examples of target markets I pulled out of real business plans I received to review (some changes have been made to protect the innocent):

“Women, 27-39, single, educated, income of over $40,000 and who like eating chocolate.”

“Men, 18-28, who sell information products, consulting and/or professional services via a website, have a blog with a small audience and want to increase their organic traffic.”

Now, if you are a chocolatier or an SEO specialist, you might be pretty proud of yourself, thinking you narrowed your focus from “everybody” to a subset of the market.

attraction of the target

But have you, really?

I don’t know about you, but I don’t know any woman who doesn’t like chocolate!

And the second statement pretty much includes all young men with any sort of online business!

These descriptions of target markets are not specific enough. They describe a ton of people—too many people, in fact.

And the more people you try to speak to, the more diluted your message becomes, because you’re trying to appeal to pretty much everyone. And the more diluted your message, the more ineffective it becomes.

The problem? We tend to think “target market,” which implies a group of people.

Who You Should Be Addressing Instead

Instead, I’d like you to start thinking “customer profile,” which implies ONE person—the ONE person for whom you exist to serve with your product or service.

You don’t want to be lots of things to lots of people. You want to be inspirational to the RIGHT person—the ONE person. And if you inspire that ONE person and enough numbers of that ONE person, then you will dominate your niche.

Speaking to the ONE person means you never describe your audience as being: “women, 27-39, single, educated, income of over $40,000 and who like eating chocolate” ever again.

No ONE person is 27-38, anyway (except for my friend, Bess, whose age has been known to fluctuate in relation to the number of eligible bachelors in the room).

No, from now on, you’ll describe your audience like this:

“Jane. 30 years old. Bachelor’s degree in the Arts. Works in an account management job she doesn’t like and is currently scoping out a new career. Thinking about getting a Master’s degree. Single, having recently dumped a loser boyfriend. Has lots of friends she hangs with watching ‘Sex in the City’ and eating expensive ice cream. She drives a Honda, works out three times a week and goes to the spa about once a month.”

Now Jane is a real, living, breathing person, isn’t she? And isn’t it a lot easier to speak to her?

customer profile template

Only Talk to the ONE Target Customer

I can hear you protesting: “But if I talk to Jane, won’t I be leaving out other people?”

Yes, and no. You won’t be speaking directly to people who aren’t Jane. And that’s a good thing.

The idea of talking to only one person scares entrepreneurs because they think that’s the only person who will ever buy from them again. Good grief—not true at ALL!

Let me ask you something. Who buys Apple products? Who is Apple’s ONE person. Can you imagine him or her?

I bet you conjured up this image: Young, urbanite, hip, tech-savvy, trendy, on-the-go, about-the-town, forward-looking, and always pushing boundaries. Apple speaks to this persona, just watch one of their ads:

So if this is Apple’s ONE person, how do you explain the fact that I saw a charming grandmother enjoying her iPad at a local coffee shop?Clearly, even though Apple talks to ONE person, other people buy Apple products, too. And I’m sure we all know someone who is a rabid Apple fan but doesn’t fit the mold of Apple’s ONE person.

So what gives? Well, here’s the crux of the whole deal. The ONE person is never going to be the only one buying from you. It’s simply the only ONE you should be speaking to at all times.

And not just because it makes marketing a ton simpler.

When you direct your messaging to your ONE person, your message and consistency will inspire a whole bunch of others who either: (a) feel affinity with that ONE person, (b) aspire to be that ONE person, or (c) admire that ONE person—and then all these people will ALSO become your clients. Grandma wants to feel connected and modern. Let her!

So quit worrying about shutting everyone else out if you talk to the ONE person. You won’t. If anything, you will attract loads more people with your precise and clear brand.

Ready for some examples?

Ideal Customer Profile Examples

Example #1: Heather

Heather is a 26-year old single, female, solo entrepreneur with a graphic design business. She completed a graphic design degree at the local college. She is an expert designer, quite tech-savvy, but still learning the ropes when it comes to being an entrepreneur.

She’s energetic and spunky, and her energy and charisma usually land her the gigs. She makes $37,000 a year, but wants that to go over $45,000 next year. She dreams of eventually being able to charge top dollar for her work, but for now she knows she needs to develop her portfolio and to systemize her business a bit better.

She’s very worried that she’ll always be fighting to fill the pipeline with new clients. She works from her home office, the second bedroom of a condo she bought a couple of years ago. She works out at the gym three times a week to stay in shape, she used to be an athlete in high school. When she is not working, she enjoys go out to clubs with her friends and travelling.

Now that you’ve described Heather, everything you do, every blog post, every piece of marketing, every product, every branding decision should be examined through Heather’s eyes.

Will Heather like this? If the answer is yes, then you’re successfully sticking to your brand identity and talking to the right person. And she will recognize that and reward you with her business.

Example #2: Laura

Laura is a 45-year-old executive in a Fortune 500 company. She has a great salary and has experienced an upward trajectory throughout her career, but she feels like she has reached the upper limits of growth in her current position. This is causing her to feel unfulfilled and restless, despite the fact that people like and approve of her work. She is spending a lot of hours at the office and would love to spend more time with her family, but she needs an alternative income stream in order to be able to do that.

Laura is feeling a lot of turbulence around the fact that she’s just going through the motions at work, but she has two children who are about to hit their college years, so she needs to maintain her income. She wants something different and dreams of doing bigger things, but she’s nervous about navigating the process of either changing jobs or taking the plunge into entrepreneurship.

Deep down, Laura dreams of developing her hobby of calligraphy and hand lettering into a side business. She is extremely artistic and gifted at what she does, but she isn’t sure it can be turned into a big income generator. Still, she’s open to trying different ideas and pursuing growth in that area.

What kind of business might create a customer profile like Laura’s? Can you think of a product or service that might consider Laura an “ideal client”? Perhaps it is a career coach, a salary negotiation service, or a product in the personal development space. Or it might be someone who is helping others to turn their hobby into an income stream.

Example #3: Frank

Frank owns a million-dollar business, but he hasn’t been able to scale and break through an invisible barrier to double the company.  Every time he tries to scale, things tend to fall apart. He fluctuates between $900,000 and $1.2 million, but he has stayed stagnant at that level for two years, despite growing to a million in revenue very fast.

Frank has never defined an actual organizational structure. He didn’t think his team needed one, as people were cooperative and he felt like structure would just impose a bunch of red tape on the day-to-day operations. However, all of the decision making in his business invariably comes back to him, and there’s not much of a company culture to speak of.

Frank feels stuck, because even though he has decent margins, he feels like the whole business is held together by duct tape and chicken wire. Every day feels hectic and exhausting.  His goal is not to build a million dollar business and then relax. Instead, he wants to keep growing. He just can’t figure out what it takes.

Buyer Persona Template: Now it’s time to define YOUR one person!

Think about your ONE person. The one who you were thinking of when you started your business. The one for whom you developed your product or service.

We’ve got a customer persona template that you can use to get crystal clear on every detail about your one person. Click below to download it now.

customer profile template

Please leave a comment! Have you defined your ONE person? If not, will you right now? What did you learn from your ONE person exercise?

About Peter Vogopoulos

Peter Vogopoulos is a marketing and business coach, university lecturer and co-founder of Firepole Marketing.

133 thoughts on “Customer Profile Template: Finding Your ONE Person

  1. Excellent points Peter! Laser-focus is so important in certain aspects of business. I think that this is an extremely important point that nowhere near enough people pick up on! A clear message can get us a long way. Thanks for the post, very educational as usual!

  2. I totally agree about finding your “one person” to speak to. I had to have a coach to narrow my vision down but after that? well, it’s sorta funny, my “one person” looks just like ME! My target market could be my twin sister! LOL

    • We do love ourselves, right! 😉 Just make sure that you haven’t narrowed the market using the self-similarity principle, which states that we tend to do business and trust those with the same views, or who views the world with the same lens as we do. Nothing wrong with it, if it’s a bona fide market, but worth look at with a critical eye. Good luck and thanks for stopping by!

  3. I think, one of the challenging SEO and Marketing promotions is finding targeted profiles. I have tried it and it involves several strategies to really get the target. Anyway, thanks Peter. Very insightful

    • Hi Kira,
      You mean several additional strategies? Yeah, no doubt. I recently commissioned focus groups for a clients, which was very neat, but very expensive — out of reach for most small business owners. Got a few to share?
      This might be an interesting topic for us to expand on — polling clients, doing surveys, etc. to get your ONE person done with more precision.
      Thanks for stopping by!

      • Hi there Peter, finding the “one person” is somewhat a lead generation process. And lead generation should involve the effective utilization of search engines and social media, combining it together to get that one person or that many “one person”s, I think to get a lot of “one person”s is better. lol

        Oh I don’t leave behind the one person I’ve got. Building a relationship with them would lead to success.

  4. I always call this the ‘avatar’ and go as far as suggesting business owners and marketing people to actually go find a picture of this ONE person they’re talking too. Place it on your desk, hang it on your wall, keep it in sight. It helps you to focus and personalize each message you’re sending.

    Thanks for the insight Peter,

  5. Creating marketing based around a customer profile is much more personal and effective. It’s a lot easier to help “Heather” than it is a “single 26 year old female.” Even if it’s a self imposed profile, it helps put a face on our customer and makes it easier to “speak” directly to them.

    Thanks for the post.

    • Precisely! Completely agree – it’s amazing how much easier it is to market to them, tell them what they want/need to hear, provide the exactly appropriate solutions, etc. As long as we can get over our fear of “limiting” our market (what nonsense), you can achieve tremendous clarity and purpose in your niche.

  6. Boy, thank you so much!! As I was reading the post my “one person” became so clear to me. Up till that moment I was aiming way too wide – and accordingly my message is more fuzzy, less direct and clear.Thanks!! Have some work to do now 🙂

  7. This post falls deftly under the label “Epic Shit”! Thanks for the direction, I’m off do define “Sophie” now. Many, many thanks and very happy to pay with a tweet (and to know that tool is possible)!

    • Thank you, Stowle, that’s high praise, and we really appreciate it!

      Funny, I’m having lunch with a woman named Sophie today… 🙂

      There’s another service that you could check out as well, called Cloud:flood, from Viperchill – it does pretty much the same thing, so see which works best for you.

      Thanks for stopping by, and we look forward to seeing you again soon!

  8. This was soooo funny because I had only just now gotten my demographic description down and thought I was home free….only to find out there’s more.  Lol.  Thanks for showing the path forward.

  9. would love your posts, but as our facebook page is for our wedding clients, it wouldn’t be appropriate to post this there. Is there another way to receive info?

  10. Great information, thanks! What a unique way of looking at the target audience. I have narrowed my target market down to two distinct people and now I can’t decide who is the “one”!

    Since the focus on identifying the target audience is so narrow, I’m wondering if the same rule should apply for content?  For example, what if Sam (the single, 27 year-old management consultant who enjoys rock climbing and doesn’t want to be stuck in an office 60 hours/week anymore) is interested in both travel and investing? Should a blog targeted at Sam talk about both topics, or stay focussed on just one? Thanks!

    Cheers, heather

    • Hey Heather, that’s a great question! If Sam is genuinely interested in both things, and Sam is representative of enough people for you to effectively target a market, then yes, you can write about both – some of the most interesting sites are about the *intersection* between two areas.

      As for having to choose – you may not have to. It’s okay to have more than one customer profile – it just means that you have to target them semi-independently. Does that make sense?

      • You just hit on a question that has been nagging me since I first was introduced to this concept of getting very specific about exactly who I am marketing to. I have never been afraid of excluding some people, but I have had a long time dream of playing music to a handful of separate but overlapping niche markets. Do you have any blogs about how to manage this semi-independent targeting that you touch on here? I feel like I am already doing it to some degree, but I would love to get better and more efficient at it. I might need to start with coming up with three or 4 target profiles.

        • Several students here at Firepole (in our Audience Business Masterclass) have done this with me. We’ve found it works to treat each separate niche as a mini-business, with a landing page for each.

          For example, one blogger in the realm of being a better father did both “raising great kids through sports” and “Moms & Dads, spend time with your kids.” The guest posts, landing pages, and bonuses were different, but the products were the same.

  11. Hi Peter, I am all for tight targeting, and often I feel I am talking to one person, but every so often I feel as though I am excluding others as you say.  Also, because I imagine the one person so clearly, I feel surprised when I have visitors so have nothing in common!

    Its definitely a great suggestion and something we should probably all do, however it’s not always easy because of our internal thoughts and fears of leaving others out. 

    Thanks for the post, I really enjoyed it.


    • Thanks for commenting, Jayne. 

      Don’t worry about your visitors seemingly having nothing in common. You just need to make sure you are consistently talking to your ONE person and if people come along who resonated, but don’t fit the mold, that’s fine. Every iPad user isn’t young, urban and hip. One of my former clients owns a trucking company. He’s Italian, old, big with big fat fingers, but adores his toy. 

      The key is that you are communicating a consistent brand identity to a consistent target market.

      Now, if we could only let go of our (false and limiting) fear that somehow this is limiting our opportunities, then we’d all be better off. 

  12. Thank you.  I really enjoyed reading this post. I am a new business owner and I really need lots of help and Firepole Marketing has been a tremendous help to me with posts like these.  I printed the worksheet and will begin narrowing my target audience immediately.

  13. Great article, certainly another perspective on finding your target market. I honestly never heard the concept of targeting that one person. I agree in the effort to identify the one person you are attempting to reach does not mean alienating others. The example of Apples iphone was very enlightening. I will continue to follow your blog.

  14. Danny,
    I really like how you break things down for us. It is so much easier to talk to one person, mine happens to be Angie. I know this will sound a little strange, but sometimes, sitting in front of the keyboard, I hold conversations with Angie. My husband thinks I’ve reverted to childhood and an invisible friend. But frankly, Angie has helped me make a lot of different decisions while we’ve discussed my blog over a cup of coffee.

    OK, I’m not really strange, but it does work. I just shared your post with hubby and at least you’ve helped solve a little problem in the Hand household….LOL

    Thanks, Danny!

    • Haha, that’s awesome, Susan! I can’t take credit for the article (Peter wrote it), but I’m certainly glad that it helped with the household issue. And honestly, it’s not weird at all, and I sometimes do the same thing. 🙂

    • Having a cup of coffee with your “ideal client” is a great and effective process to stay focused and uncover deep truths. It is much like a Gestalt therapy approach to conflict resolution and taking care of “unfinished business” with another. Put the person/problem/pain/solution in the seat across from you and be that person/problem/pain/solution totally dialoguing with you and you with them/it. Another way to use this approach is to create an imaginary Advisory Board. Have on it the ideal client, one of his/her friends, a copywriter, a PR person, Internet Marketer (Danny???) and another couple of business development people. Call regular and impromptu meetings where you run all ideas by them.

  15. Very helpful article. Thanks so much. Love the way you broke it down into simple, easy to answer questions for the customer profile. I’ve recently come to a full stop with my site and really need this to start me up again. Cheers. Looking forward to hearing more from Firepole Marketing in 2012!

  16. I so agree, Danny – identifying that one person to talk too is extremely vital.

    However, I have a confession to make. I suck at this! I really don’t like research; it always seems so slow and unproductive – despite the fact that it goes against logic. lol

  17. Hi

    This ties in brilliantly with a concept of +1 marketing where you aim to increase your reach every week by at least one person. Let’s say that I start a new blog, the aim for week 1 is to get a comment, then two comments in week 2, all the way up to 52 comments a week by the end of the year.

    If at the start you define your one person it will be so much easier to find them a new friend every week.



  18. Thanks for the thought-provoking post.
    The level of detail you suggest (in identifying the target reader) is much greater than I have seen proposed before – and I can see how that could be very useful and would work. However it highlights a problem for me. I could draw-up two distinctly different profiles for my ONE person target audience. And I can see how the ‘detail’ one of the two profiles would probably like to receive being a complete ‘turn-off’ for the other. How would you suggest this could/should be handled?

    • Hey Leonard, it sounds to me like you might have two separate people you’re trying to talk to. Would you care to elaborate? What are the details you’re talking about?

  19. Hi Danny.
    Yes. There are two different persons. I’ll try to explain.
    I help business owners and managers identify opportunities to improve profits within their business. I help them learn and adopt a few tools and techniques that use the ‘numbers’ (financial and non-financial) in their business – in ways they currently don’t – to help them identify ‘how’, ‘where’, on ‘what’ and on ‘whom’ they earn and ‘leak’ potential profit (and typically, there is a mixture of both – even in quite profitable businesses).
    The two distinctly different profiles I have in mind are…
    (1) The senior finance person (CFO, accountant or whatever). Likely she will be a ‘detail’ person. If the business adopts these ideas, she will have to understand, in some depth, HOW and WHY the tools work – and probably be the one to take-on the (extra) job of generating much of the information. She will need to be convinced that it is worthwhile – particularly since (a) its not being required of her currently and (b) she is currently overloaded with work. From my perspective, it’s much better if she ‘champions’ the idea in her business – and better still if she is the one to introduce the idea internally.
    (2) The senior executive (owner/manager, CEO, or whatever); the person with overall responsibility for the profitability of the organisation who, needs to understand and buy-into the BENEFITS of using the techniques – but will probably leave others to understand what it takes to get the information in a form he/she can use – and be less concerned about any additional work necessary to get it.
    BOTH are a ‘target audience’ for me – but for different aspects of the service and likely with different motivations.
    Hope that better explains my question?

    • Hey Leonard, thank you for the clarification – it helps a lot.

      It sounds to me like you don’t have two target audiences (one people, as it were), so much as you have one customer, and one important stakeholder whose buy-in you need in order for the sale to go through.

      Does that sound about right?

  20. I’ve spent quite a bit of time with your company today -my first time here. I really agree with your One Person approach. I would like to share the post on Facebook and/or Twitter and help you out, but I try very hard to stay away from signing up for apps that can do things like read my tweets, follow new people for me or post tweets for me. So I won’t share it that way & I guess that means I won’t be able to see your worksheet, either. I’ll just work independently on developing the One Person approach.

    Thanks for reminding me about doing it. Our audience (my business is a partnership between my husband and me) is basketball coaches and we have definitely not created One Person, although we’ve talked about the need to do so. I will share your article with him and with some other entrepreneurs I know. I like your stuff.

    • Hi Jennifer, welcome to Firepole Marketing – I’m thrilled that you’ve found us! 🙂

      For what it’s worth, the Pay With a Tweet app doesn’t do any of those things – it just posts the one tweet (that you can edit first, of course), and then gives you the worksheet. Pretty simple, but of course it’s up to you.

      With or without the worksheet, it’s a great exercise for you to do for your business.

      I’m looking forward to seeing more of you around the site, Jennifer, and in the meantime, have a wonderful week! 🙂

      • Several thanks are in order. First, thanks for being so admirably quick to respond & for responding at all. Second, thanks for clarifying the PWT app. It’s too bad all the apps come with those printed caveats (big & bold after clicking from your site) because they keep people like me away from using them. Third, thanks for your good wishes. I can tell they’re genuine — and you will see more of me.

        Additionally, I did share your post with the entrepreneurs I am involved with & will work on the One Person sheet with my husband. I will also share it using your app, based on your clarification.

        • Thank you very much, Jennifer. 🙂

          I’d love to hear about the results that you see from doing the exercise – would you send me an email and let me know how it goes?

  21. Many thanks for this! The Facebook option clearly didn’t work for accessing the download, but I was more than happy to tweet it out too, because this is what we’re all about with our free home based business coaching.

    Our One Person is anyone ready to take the steps necessary to start living the life of their dreams, because we can’t help those who don’t want to help themselves.

    • You’re very welcome, Jim! That’s weird – I didn’t know the Facebook sharing option wasn’t functional – but I’m glad that you were able to get the worksheet. 🙂

      You might have to be more specific about your ONE person, but that’s a start. I hope the worksheet can help you go the rest of the way! 🙂

  22. MUST get this through my head LOL! It seems so hard to do. But I can see how important it is. I really need to identify my ONE person. Thanks for the example and I’m off to try to create that one person lol!

  23. Okay so here I thought I just worked through the whole process of finding or determining my ideal target profile. After reading this post, I can see that I am still aiming a bit wide and room for more narrowing down would definitely be in order and work to my full advantage.

    Did I just have to land on this post right now? Why didn’t it happen a week ago? I guess now was the right time… 😉

    Thanks a mill you guys, appreciate the good work you do!


  24. Indeed Danny, I agree. The earlier I can sort out these initial starting and development activities the sooner I can become more and more successful, right?


  25. WOW. This exercise has been so incredibly eye-opening for me. I thought i had laser focus, but just in the ten minutes it took me to sit down and answer these questions, I see mistakes I am making and I am bursting with ideas to help my blog improve.

    Thank you.

    • Hey Emily, yeah, it’s always such an eye opener to sit down and go through the exercise – you realize that as solid as you think the picture was, it was really as full of holes as Swiss cheese! 😉

      I’m very glad that you found the post helpful, and look forward to seeing more of you here at Firepole Marketing!

  26. Wow, thanks, (I think) for the post. It’s been a blessing and a curse. This post has been like a song I can’t get out of my head and have been thinking about it since I read it.

    I’d rather help “one” and be great at it than to help many and be marginal.

  27. Thanks for this, Danny. This was one of the most difficult steps for me to accomplish, and I know others struggle with it too. Just linked to this in a blog post and in an ezinearticle.

  28. This is a dynamite moment for me. I did not narrow my ‘one person’ . As a matter of fact you have narrowed down to a science. You have opened my eyes. Thanks for bringing me this needed light. I even stopped blogging because I was not getting anywhere so thank you so much. I have observed that this post is old but it is new to me lol! I will do the exercise.

  29. Great idea – and very similar to the ‘one reader’ persona I create when I’m writing a business or travel article. Ironically, i knew the concept and hadn’t (until now!) applied it to my business as a whole.
    Thanks for the nudge!

  30. I finally wrote a customer profile thanks to this article and pdf that you created Danny! Thank you! I have literally put this off for a year and it has been officially completed today! Going through it has been less daunting compared to what others have suggested such as physically reaching out to people and interview them with some really personal questions. I am so glad that I can FINALLY check this off the list and now I don’t have to feel so “out of whack” when it comes to creating content and running around like a chicken with its head cut off. It will now be more focused and targeted.

  31. It never cross in my mind to just stick in one person, but after read this, I agree.
    I used to write based on my self, if I found it was boring, then I stop, re-write.
    I asked my friend that I thought was had same perspective with me, but it seems like they not really into my story.
    But, it was surprise me when one of my friend, that I wasn’t sure would like -or even read- my story, give feedback and said he love my story!
    I guess I will talk to him more :p

  32. I really enjoyed the idea of writing for one person! It’s very much inline with my advice on relationship marketing, I think that for you to make a proper relationship with your customers you first need to identify them as accurately as you can and then talk to them in the way that they will find valuable. Writing for the masses stopped working once we all got our mailboxes spammed to death. What we are all looking for now is that one voice that speaks to us and if you are writing with me in mind then you will always have my ear.

  33. I was introduced to this ONE PERSON idea through David Meerman Scott in The New Rules of Marketing and PR where he wrote about Buying Personas. Is there a difference? Anyway, I think this concept is awesome, but I have no idea on how to gather this information and answer the questions on the Who Is Your One Person Worksheet. Any tips or resources? Thanks so much!

  34. I’m just passing through my e mails before my next client comes in and always get something interesting to read, so I took the time to read the first paragraph,the first chapter and the first example..(swear word) what a great thought,it made me sit up straight away which I guess is what the articles all about.

  35. Thanks for this post. I’m that ONE person who likes to answer – and ask – questions, so the worksheet is great. Thanks for including it. Previously, I thought I had my ONE person nailed; now, I can see how vague that person was. Many thanks!

  36. Very informative article which I am going to put into practice. Unfortunately the PDF download will not open in my Windows 8 program 🙁
    Any ideas how I can get the form – I did tweet it of course!

  37. Hi there, I shared the link on my FB page but couldnt get access to the PDF. All sorts of weird and wonderful things happened. Any chance you could email it to me pleazzze. Am gearing up to start my new blog and need to define my one person. Love your site btw.

  38. I am feeling stuck because my ideal client is a grad student in a master’s program — but having to choose between male and female is foxing me. Your Apple example shows *two* figures, one of each gender, for instance. I feel mired in details that matter but I’m unsure which way to lean; should I assume that, to some extent, I can base it on a woman because that’s familiar to ME as a woman, but realize the details don’t have to be especially “frilly”?

    • Hi Claudia,

      Gender doesn’t ALWAYS have to come into it – sometimes it’s more relevant than others. If you can easily imagine a person of any gender, but with a whole bunch of other characteristics in common, you can feel pretty okay about that.

      An activity you might try to “verify” this would be to write out a customer profile, and include as many details as possible – EXCEPT gender – then get some people to read it and guess if it’s male or female. If there’s a strong consensus one way or another, you’ll know, and if there’s not, but your testers can really visualize a person anyway – don’t worry about it.

      Hope this helps!

      • Hello Megan I’ve just come across this great article and have been going through the comments hoping to find one on the subject that Claudia made and you have responded to. I haven’t started my blog yet so I’m not sure what you meant by “but your testers can really visualize a person anyway – don’t worry about it.”

        My ideal person is a 52 yr old manufacturing plant worker who has a degree or at least some college and is the average baby boomer techie when it comes to the internet and computers. They make an average income of about $32,000 yr and with little or no hope for that increasing in the future. They are married and have one to two teenage children still at home while paying for college for others and are very family oriented.

        They have come to the realization that the first half of life has passed them by and they have been chasing a mirage that the industrial world set before them. Even though retirement is lurking in the near future they are fed up with the 9 to 5 or 7 to 3:30 rat race and want to make a difference in the people and the world around them. They are dreamers and creators that are now determined to spend the second half of life doing it their way by perusing the dreams of making a career change or becoming entrepreneurs which they discarded as a youth but they have lost their identity/direction and are now searching to discover who they really are and what they want to be doing.

        So Megan is this more a male or female or both? Because this is where I come from I’d say male but I have talked to and helped females who feel this is their life.

        All I know is there are a lot of 50+ individuals out there that want to make a change in the second half of life and need help. It’s time to get fired up about liven and loven life to the fullest no matter what age you are.

        I truly appreciate what you folks are doing there at FirepoleMarketing.

        Thank you, Danny and the rest of your team for your precious time


        • Hi Gregory,

          From reading what you’ve written, I get the feeling that your “person” is male as well. I think there’s an extra insight that you would bring to the table for a man in that position that would help you bring more value, AND I think that the person you’re describing sounds very real.

          Good work!

          • Thank you Megan for such a quick reply and your insight. So my ideal person will be Daniel but I have to say Danielle will be sitting beside him because women really get the brunt end of the stick in society when it comes to change when in their career and other personal issues or at least that’s the way I see it. Thanks again.


            PS: Look forward to future communications, I’ll be around the Firepole for a while now that I’ve found it.

  39. I didn’t define ‘one person’ before. I’ll try it, why not? I’m new to this whole marketing stuff and you are experienced. I need to create 3 copies within week, I hope this’ll help.

  40. Hi there, WOW, I’ve just read this article but it’s already helped me a TON. Previously I never thought there was a difference between “target market” and “customer profile”, but you made the difference VERY clear. Also, I’m loving the cheat-sheet to getting our own customer profiles right. It’s really helpful and makes the process so much easier. Thanks again!

  41. I stumbled on this article and so happy that I did. The funny thing is when I first started thinking about my business idea, a particular person immediately popped in my head. Mainly because of her frustrations, she is the inspiration for the idea (as well as my own frustrations). I didn’t receive the worksheet after I re-tweeted either. Can you e-mail it to me?! Thanks a million! Great article.

  42. Every time I follow one of these guides, it always turns out that my product is for everyone on earth. But I will try again. Maybe this time will be different? Thanks, Danny for making this available!

  43. This is an awesome idea. When ever we think of target audience we think of many, and it can be overwhelming trying to figure out who those people are. The concept of one person isn’t as intimidating and as I sat down to do this, I realized it’s so much easier, as an author of fiction, to figure who my #1 reader is and write to them then to think of all the different people that I can’t focus on. I’m teaching a blog writing workshop at West Branch Christian Writers next week and I know I’ll be referring to this site and sharing this worksheet to help my fellow authors. Thanks!!

  44. What an interesting concept. I would have gone the opposite route and tried to reach more instead of focusing on one. I love this concept. Thank you so much for inspiring me to rethink!

  45. Excellent article! I find that I may have two target audiences – one for my e-courses and one for my consulting services. Does that make any sense, or would you suggest to only have one? I would mainly focus on the first one for my blogposts, etc., but for the offers on my consulting sales page, I would change the focus a bit. I would love to hear your input! Thanks!

    • It’s usually a good idea to focus on really working with one main area to start, and once it has a little traction and is growing, then expand your work to include your other topics. Hope this helps!

  46. Thanks for posting this article, I think it’s going to be very helpful in a couple of ways! I have an idea of “what” I want to offer, but struggle with the specifics. Since I’m a one-person operation I know that limits the services I can offer vs my competitors who are team offices. I know that I can offer value to my future clients. I believe that your worksheet will help me by zeroing in on a specific person’s need. And by filling that need is where I begin! Thanks again for the rocking advice!

  47. This is the hardest part of my marketing/audience planning so far. he worksheet will really help me nail it down. The more I take in this site, the more possibilities I see for growth. Thanks!

  48. This continues to be one of my favorite (and therefore most referenced) marketing posts of all time. I re-read it every so often as a reminder. Thank you!!!!

  49. I tried for about 20 minutes to get the ‘pay with a post’ thing working. I consistently got a ‘we can’t verify’ message. Tried in in/out. deleted. tried again. I don’t have time to waste on this.
    Thanks anyhow.

  50. Hey Peter,

    I have an idea of who to target and I have let my audience know who it is, but I can be a bit more detailed. I pattern customer profile after me which makes it easier to attract more people like me. This gives us much more in common and they’ll be able to relate to the information I provide.

    Thanks for the share! Have a good one!

  51. Thank you. The talk-to-one-person blog approach works for me; it gives me a sense of grounding, of finally getting somewhere after reading all the marketing ideas.

  52. I loved this! And I’ve found it interesting going through the form, how easy some of the questions were and how hard others were. I guess, for a while, I’ve had a decent idea of who “Steve” is, but these questions have helped to get a much clearer picture of him.

    Ironically enough, I also write fiction, and these are almost identical questions to the ones I go through when building a character for a novel/short story. It’s kind of annoying me to think that I had the tools in front of me to narrow down my marketing without actually realising it.

  53. Your suggestion to focus on talking to one person who you know almost personally, Peter is a good one that we rarely do. It’s a great way to include past events in our marketing that our readers and audience would be interested in, as well as their preferences, interests and situations.
    I downloaded the customer profile template for ideas to add to mine.
    This is a great template to use while interviewing customers who’d you’d love to talk to in your marketing.
    Interviewing is how I can ask people about their worries and fears, etc. to find out what they believe about these. When I ask them again about these worries and fears – I find out how these fit into their values. Deeper customer profiles helps us create a “reality bubble” for our ideal customer – including their perspectives, beliefs and values.
    We need to know if their “reality bubble” is different from ours, and how to communicate our empathy and guided ways to alter their perspectives, etc.
    Excellent blog topic!

  54. “Very interesting and informative article Peter! I just enjoyed reading it. I believe in this competitive world, after understanding the customer needs, the next important part becomes customer retention. I have recently visited some similar blogs and I found an interesting fact that AI is being introduced in customer service field to take the customer experience to a new level, which in turn, also helps in customer retention. For a better understanding, one may visit the following links.

    • Thanks for sharing, Vanessa. We’ve written quite a bit about customer retention over the years, and it’s interesting to see all the new options that are becoming available to help (the collective us) better serve our customers.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

[gravityform id="84" title="false" description="false" ajax="true"]
[gravityform id="80" title="false" description="false" ajax="true"]
[gravityform id="82" title="false" description="false" ajax="true"]
[gravityform id="81" title="false" description="false" ajax="true"]
[gravityform id="78" title="false" description="false" ajax="true"]
[gravityform id="24" title="false" description="false" ajax="true"]
[gravityform id="72" title="false" description="false" ajax="true"]
[gravityform id="71" title="false" description="false" ajax="true"]
[gravityform id="66" title="false" description="false" ajax="true"]
[gravityform id="64" title="false" description="false" ajax="true"]