Customer Profile Template: Finding Your ONE Person
- Peter Vogopoulos
Post updated by Tara Malone
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.
At the same time, any details that you include in your ideal customer profile should be useful in helping you make marketing decisions. Let’s say your ideal customer’s favorite ice cream is chocolate chip cookie dough.
If you sell ice cream cakes, knowing your customer’s favorite ice cream flavor can help you market your product. You might develop a special ice cream cake that includes chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream and showcase it as one of your specialty cakes.
On the other hand, if you sell cars, knowing their favorite ice cream flavor probably won’t help you market your business. It might even distract you from what’s really important.
But let’s say your target audience loves Halo Top’s vegan cinnamon roll ice cream. If they’re vegan, there’s a pretty good chance that they care about the environment, and are likely to opt for electric cars. Knowing this can help you tailor your marketing to emphasize how electric cars help the environment.
It’s also important to 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!
Why Do You Need a Customer Profile Anyway?
So why is having a customer profile such a big deal?
Basically, a customer profile helps you understand exactly who your ideal customer is. You can then design a business that specifically meets your target customer’s needs and direct your marketing messages to him or her.
Getting clear on your ideal customer helps you align your business with his or her needs and wants. Your goal is to develop content that resonates with your ideal customer so they will come to you for a solution to the problem they’re facing.
Having this clarity can make or break your business right from the start.
Let’s take a look at what happens if you don’t have a detailed customer profile.
Imagine there’s a wellness coach named Amy whose goal is to set up a coaching practice.
She’s heard that a customer profile is important, so she tries her hand at creating one. This is what she comes up with:
Women, 40-55, married, educated, who want to live healthier lives.
The problem with this profile is that it’s way too broad and really doesn’t help Amy clarify who her ideal customer really is.
I mean, doesn’t practically everyone want to live a healthier life? And a healthy life means different things to different people. But what does a healthier life look like to the women Amy’s trying to help?
In order to resonate emotionally with her audience, Amy needs to narrow things down and paint a clear picture of who they really are.
She revises her customer profile to capture her ideal customer. Here’s the updated version:
Marie, 40 years old. Master’s degree in English. Works as a high school English teacher and writing tutor. Married, with two kids ages 5 and 7. Used to eat healthy, work out regularly and run marathons, but now finds it hard to maintain her healthy habits between working and raising her family. She feels guilty that she rarely has time to work out and feels stressed most of the time.”
This tells us a whole lot more about Amy’s target customer, right?
Now we know that her target customer is 40 years old and struggling to find a work-life balance. She wants to eat healthier, get back in shape, and manage her stress better.
With this detailed customer profile, Amy can now develop a website, blog content, and marketing strategy that’s directly tailored to her ideal customer. And this is essential in helping her win them over.
Another major advantage to having a clear cut customer profile is that it helps you figure out the best way to communicate with your prospects at each stage of the buyer’s journey.
For example, each buyer’s journey starts with the awareness stage, which can be divided into four phases. Knowing these phases can help you figure out who you’re actually targeting.
Phase 1: Unaware
Customers at this stage have no idea your product or service exists and haven’t identified the problem they’re facing. At this point, Amy’s ideal client Marie might be thinking, “Maybe I’m not in such great shape anymore, but that’s just part of turning 40.”
At this point, Marie hasn’t yet acknowledged the problem, and there’s nothing that Amy can say or do to make her admit to it. It’s best to avoid trying to reach unaware prospects, because they haven’t acknowledged their problem and don’t think your services or offer applies to them.
Phase 2: Symptom Aware
Prospects who are symptom aware know that they’re experiencing symptoms of the problem but they don’t yet understand the root cause. If Marie is in this phase, she might acknowledge that she’s feeling sluggish and doesn’t have the energy she once did.
But at this point, she’s not attributing her low energy to not getting enough exercise. Instead, she’s thinking, “I don’t have the energy I used to have, but I’ll just drink more coffee and I’ll feel better.”
At this stage, Marie still isn’t looking for solutions or truly acknowledging her problem. This means she isn’t ready to invest in wellness coaching, but with proper nurturing she might eventually become a client.
Amy might begin nurturing Marie by writing a blog post describing a woman in the same situation as Marie, who feels like she’s gotten out of shape but assumes it’s an inevitable part of aging. But the post then goes on to say that it doesn’t have to be this way.
Amy then presents some alternatives for how things could be different – and hints at possible solutions. She might say that it’s possible to get in shape and have more energy at 40, if only you commit to taking action.
Phase 3: Problem Aware
Once prospects reach the third phase of awareness, they’ve acknowledged there’s a problem they want to solve or a goal they want to achieve. At this stage, Marie acknowledges her low energy and why she’s feeling this way. “I’m feeling sluggish, and I think it’s because I’m out of shape.”
Still, she is not yet ready to actively start looking for solutions. Prospects who are problem aware aren’t looking to buy anything, but are good candidates for nurturing.
At this point Amy can focus on creating content that presents possible solutions. She still doesn’t want to pitch her solutions, but just give Marie a sense of what kinds of solutions are out there. She might create a blog post called“5 Workouts for Boosting Energy Levels” or upload a video showcasing 5 foods that can give people more energy.
Phase 4: Solution Aware
This is the point where prospects are aware of their problem and are looking for solutions. But there’s a chance they’ve misdiagnosed the problem and are looking for the wrong solutions. For example, Marie might conclude that she needs to try a cleanse or lose 10 pounds quickly to increase her energy.
That said, since Marie is actively looking for solutions, she’s ready to learn more about what she can do to solve her problem. Prospects who are solution aware are most likely to become buyers, so they’re the ones you want to focus on the most.
Now Amy is free to tell Marie more about the possible solutions out there, including her own. Amy’s still not pitching anything directly, but just explaining how working with a wellness coach can help Marie get on a better diet and exercise plan and hold her accountable as she works to achieve her goal.
So now you know why you need a customer profile.
But you might still be wondering why you would narrow down your customer base. Aren’t you missing out on prospective customers this way?
Let’s take a look at why it pays off to have a highly detailed customer profile.
Benefits of Speaking to an Ideal Customer Profile vs 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.
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.
How to Address Your Target Customer Profile
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?
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 going 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.
What kind of business might consider Frank to be their ideal customer?
Some possibilities might be an I/O psychologist or a corporate consulting firm. Another option might be a company that offers online courses geared to helping entrepreneurs scale their business.
These examples show how companies in all kinds of industries can create a clear customer profile that speaks to their target customer.
But how can you create a winning profile for YOUR target customer?
Let’s find out!
How to Create Your Target Customer Profile
So now it’s time to create your target customer profile. Before you can write a profile that really speaks to your ideal customer, you need to know exactly who he or she is.
But just how do you find out who your target customer is?
Here’s how to uncover what you need to know about your target customer – and what to do with that information.
To begin, create a simple chart with categories like Demographics, Interests, Socioeconomic Status, and Problems, Pains, and Desires. As you research your target customer, organize your findings by category. This will make things easier when the time comes to create your customer profile.
Do you have your chart ready? Great!
Now let’s find out more about your target customer.
Here’s what you need to do.
1. Check Out Your Existing Customers
Your existing customer base can give you tons of useful insights into who’s using your products and services right now. Start by going to your website’s CRM, or to whatever account you use to track your sales.
Then sort out your customers by revenue and take a close look at the ones who’ve spent the most on your company’s offerings. When you examine this group of customers, ask yourself what they have in common. Do they order the same type of product? What company do they work for? What’s their job title?
Chances are, you’ll start to notice some trends among these customers. Maybe they work for the same type of company or industry. Maybe they’re all buying your online courses on how to publish an eBook. Or maybe most of them are HR managers.
Make notes of these trends as you see them, and organize them by category. For example, online courses on e-publishing would go under Interests, while industry and job title like HR Manager would help you find out their income level and socioeconomic status.
2. Find Out Who Your Visitors Are
Who’s visiting your website anyway? Taking a closer look at who your site visitors are is another useful way to find out more about them.
When it comes to uncovering information about your site visitors, Google Analytics is your best friend. Chances are you already use Analytics, so the process should be pretty straightforward. From your Analytics dashboard, select Audience, Demographics, and then Overview to find out basic information like their age and gender.
To learn more about their interests, go back to Audience and select Interests and then Overview. This can help you uncover whether they’re business professionals, value shoppers, or music lovers. It will also help you understand what kinds of products they like to purchase, such as travel accommodations, business services, or dating services.
As you begin to discover what they’re interested in, be sure to list your findings under your Interests category.
3. Talk To Your Audience
If you really want to understand what your target customers need, you have to actually talk to them.
Don’t worry, I don’t mean pulling over random strangers on the street. There are many more effective ways to find out about your customers’ wants, desires, and pain points.
One way to go about this is to create surveys or polls to embed in your website using a tool like Hotjar. You can ask them for feedback on your site’s content, what kinds of products they’re looking for, or why they’re visiting your site, to name a few. This can give you some insight into what’s bothering them or what they really want.
You can also use sites like Meetup and Eventbrite to locate people who are likely to be interested in what you offer. Try connecting with some of these individuals to find out why they joined the group and what they’re really looking to gain from their involvement with it.
For example, say you connect with a group called Entrepreneurs Under 30. By asking these kinds of questions, you might find out that they’ve started a new business but have no idea how to run it effectively. Or maybe they’re feeling isolated and want to connect with other young entrepreneurs.
Another possible option is to use a tool like Buzzsumo. This tool lets you find out what kinds of questions people are asking about a certain keyword. By entering a keyword related to your niche, you can see what types of questions are trending with your target audience.
As you get a sense of what kinds of problems they’re facing, what they want, and what their pain points are, add your findings to your chart.
After you’ve uncovered all the essentials about your target audience and added them to your chart, it’s time to carefully review what you’ve learned.
As you look over this information, you’ll begin to get a clearer sense of who your target audience actually is.
But you’re not finished yet. Now it’s time to pull all of these pieces together and start crafting a coherent customer profile.
Here’s how to do that.
Use this customer profile template 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.
Or, if you prefer to work in Notion, you can check out these Notion templates for more great customer profile tools, as well as other templates to help you define and target your ideal customer.
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?
135 thoughts on Customer Profile Template: Finding Your ONE Person
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!
Thank you for saying so, Robert. Best.
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!
Thanks for saying this Martha. The same is true for myself. My question is this fine? Does this still work?
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
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.
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,
That’s great advice, Wim. Thanks for sharing it!
I like it! I’ve heard of that little trick of making a picture and hanging it up, but didn’t think of it for the post. Thanks for that add — it’s a great idea.
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.
I completely agree with you, Stephen. Is Heather your one person?
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.
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 🙂
You’re welcome, Ruthy! You’ll see once you’ve defined that ONE person how much easier it is to market to them. Let us know how it goes!
Great stuff, Ruthy – the more clear you are on who that one person is, the better able to you are to create stuff that they want to buy! 🙂
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)!
High praise, indeed, anytime someone says it qualifies as “Epic Shit” 🙂 Thanks you Stowle, for stopping by and good luck with “Sophie”.
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!
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.
Haha, there’s no rest for the weary! 🙂
Hi Peter…this is a really great way of looking at customer profiling. Focus on “one” instead of a group…well said!
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?
Hi Chris, I’m not sure what you mean – we don’t post anything to your Facebook page, and you’re welcome to subscribe via email… can you clarify your question?
I bet he is talking about the PDF that you can only download if you tweet or post it.
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!
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?
Yeah that makes sense, thanks!
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.
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.
Very clear and something i thought i had done but now realise how vague i was. I feel confident about it now. Thanks.
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.
It warms my heart to hear this.
Thank you for your kind words.
Best of luck and let us know how we can help!
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network
Hi i loved the replies and posts is any 1 here can tell me how important it is to understand your customer profile and how use full it is please?
It is incredibly important, Anyla. Have you downloaded the worksheet?
Thank you for your valuable idea! This is exactly what I needed to find his client. In fact, to find one – the only customer is difficult, but it’s worth it. I’ll find it!
You definitely will, Catherine. Good luck! 🙂
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.
I’m very glad that you enjoyed the post, Tammy, and welcome to Firepole Marketing! 🙂
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
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.
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!
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
Thanks for this great advice. I am just planning on making my own blog and this tip is a big help.
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.
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?
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?
Hi Danny. Yes. I guess it does.
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?
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! 🙂
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!
You’re right, Lisa, it’s very hard to do, but totally worth it! 🙂
Ruan | Ultimate Domain Manager
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!
You’re very welcome, Ruan. Listen, better now than later, right? 🙂
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?
Yup, that’s exactly right! 🙂
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.
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!
Hey Glynne, what happens when you try?
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.
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.
Hey Scarlett, it’s a PDF, and it works on both PCs and Macs. Email me directly if you have trouble. 🙂
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.
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!
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.
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
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.
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!
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.
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!
Mandy Eve Barnett
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!
Sure, Mandy, I just emailed it to you. 🙂
THANK YOU. I’ve been racking my brain forever on how to find my niche…narrowing it down to one person. Brilliant.
Lorraine Marie Reguly
Thanks for this…everyone likes free stuff. I will use it to help me.
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.
Sure thing – I just emailed you. 🙂
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”?
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
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.
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.
Candy L. Hill
I tried to tweet and post but nothing worked. I could really use this pdf. Can you help?
Sure thing, Candy – I just emailed you. 🙂
Candy L. Hill
🙂 Thanks so Much!!
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.
Thank you..this is excellent..am using summer to get clearer re my ideal customer so this is a brilliant resource. Thank you for your simplicity.
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!
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.
Sure thing – just emailed it. 🙂
So responsive! Awesome! Thank you.
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!
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!!
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!
pamela j. alexander
This is a great post. And if the “cost” is only to share great information, I’m in! But I share business info on LinkedIn, not Facebook or Twitter. Can you add a LinkedIn option?
Hi Pamela, thank you for your comment. I just emailed you the worksheet!
pamela j. alexander
Thanks! You’re the best!
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!
I posted n FB but don’t see how to access the information.
The page that you clicked through to Facebook From should have a download link for you. once you post.
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!
I posted it on Facebook. May I have the “Who is Your One Person” worksheet?
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!
I love the idea but both twitter and facebook rejected the postings as “automated” and would not allow it.
Hmm – that’s odd – could you send me an email at Megan (at) FirepoleMarketing (dot) com, and we’ll figure it out? Thanks!
I am loving the information that is in the articles. Thanks so much.
look like a very interesting doc
Send me the details plz
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!!!!
I love it and share it with my students.
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.
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!
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.
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.
I really enjoyed it, Thanks for the post
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!
Great post! Thanks for sharing
Ps. I don’t like chocolate. Now you know at least one woman who doesn’t. 😉
The link to the video of the persona of Apple is no longer valid.
@Rob Kooijmans – Thank you for the heads up! I’ll look for a replacement and update the post ASAP.
I’ve used this guide many times and quoted the Apple example to a number of people. Thanks for such an awesome tool!!
LOL – am I the only woman on earth who could care less about chocolate?
Great article and tips, thank you.
“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.
By obtaining information about their ideal customer, a business can target a specific market segment to advertise market or sell a particular product too.
With the information collected, businesses can also begin to identify likes, dislikes, and buying behaviors of their potential customers.
Customer Profiles offer businesses an ultimate marketing tool that helps their marketing, sales, and service teams understand their customers and help make better business decisions.
A customer profile is a way of describing a consumer categorically so that they can be grouped for marketing purposes. Eventually, thanks for putting these valuable facts for us.
With best wishes,
Thanks, Amar. You’re absolutely right – it’s so important to have a good grasp on your customer’s likes, dislikes, and buying behaviors. Let us know if you have any other questions or thoughts about putting together your customer avatar!
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