Written by: StructureM
Have you ever stopped to consider what your ideal customer did for breakfast this morning?
She started her morning pinning a few home exterior design styles that could work for her home while mixing up pancake batter for the kids. The newly empty-nesters sat down at a locally-owned breakfast cafe for fresh squeezed orange juice and quiche to talk about ideas for their upcoming home renovation. A building manager researched 3 companies while waking up with coffee, one from a referral of a friend with a recent home renovation, before deciding which company to call first.
These details might seem silly, but each one hints at a specific demographic. At StructureM, we often see clients who have never thought about their ideal customer. It’s usually “anyone with a project and checkbook.” While that might pay the bills for a while, it isn’t a sustainable model for growth, and it’s bound to lead to years of frustration. If you’re not seeing the high-quality leads you’d like, it’s time to consider your ideal customer. Creating an ideal customer profile will allow you to hone your message and attract the leads that work for you.
Development of an Ideal Customer Profile is one of the first services we offer at StructureM when we onboard a new client. Through a series of questions, we help our clients identify their dream customers, and the characteristics that make them stand out. Our branding work flows from that profile to ensure all messaging is clear and targets the perfect customer.
To develop an ideal customer profile on your own, put a pen to paper and consider these questions:
What does your company do best?
It may sound obvious, but now is the time to consider the most profitable services you offer and/or services where you want to see more growth. Instead of casting your net wide, you’ll want to focus your message to attract customers looking for these specific services. It might be helpful to bring in key staff members to help develop your ideal customer profile.
Who did you like working with in the past?
Look back and identify three or four of your best customers and think about what they have in common.
- How old were they?
- Was your first point of contact with a man or woman?
- What’s their family status?
- What is their education level and professional status?
- How old were their homes?
- What was the average value of their homes?
Now, it’s time to drill down a bit more. You are a problem solver for homeowners, so as you think about them, consider where they are in life and how you can solve their home renovation problems.
- Are they new home buyers wanting to update and personalize their space?
- Are they an established family who loves their neighborhood and local schools, but need a more efficient or larger space?
- Are they a young couple just starting a family and need room?
- Are they empty-nesters who want a fresh space as they start a new chapter in life?
- Are they retired and looking to enjoy their space more?
- Do they have aging parents to care for in their home?
Think back again to those original three or four of your best customers, try to identify what they wanted, and at the same time, write down a few things that you think they didn’t want.
- Did they want a hassle-free experience with minimal interruption to their lives?
- Did they want a friendly contractor to provide day-by-day updates?
- Were they looking for an affordable solution?
- Did they want to avoid being high-maintenance or hard-to-please?
Stop and think about how they make buying decisions.
- Are they frugal?
- Are they quality-focused at any cost?
- Are they researchers, who did a lot of searching for solutions online?
- Are they influenced by HGTV, Pinterest, or Houzz?
- Do they put family first?
- Do they pay their bills on time?
- Do they trust a professional to handle the details, or are they interested in managing those details in partnership with their contractor?
Another key factor to consider is how they found you and decided to hire you. This question is important because you want to uncover the process you went through to attract your best customers and put the framework in place to continue to do that. Did they find you through:
- Your online portfolio?
- Customer reviews?
- A referral from a family member or friend?
- Familiarity with your brand?
Remember you are your best customers’ problem solver, so consider their fears as well. Time, money and trust are central to most homeowner’s concerns, and your messaging needs to address these central fears. Are your ideal customers worried about:
- A contractor doing a poor job?
- A project that goes over-budget,
- A dishonest contractor?
No matter who your ideal customers are, they probably have some assumptions about dealing with contractors. Again, your messaging should address these assumptions, so it’s important to drill down to as much detail as possible. Ask yourself, do they assume:
- They can get more done than their budget allows?
- Their project will take more or less time than it actually will?
- All contractors are dishonest?
Your messaging also needs to address the most common questions your ideal customers have. There are countless variables in every project, however, think of the general questions your ideal customers share and write them down. Are they asking:
- Are you insured?
- Do you have references?
- Have you done this kind of work before?
- Can you help redesign the space?
- How much will it cost?
Now that you’ve sketched out a profile of your ideal customer, it’s time to put that information to work. You may be thinking of making changes to your website, and that’s a great place to start. Your website content needs to attract your ideal customer, address their fears, answer their questions, and propose solutions that fit their needs and budget. Your website is certainly an ideal place to do that, but you’ll also want to look at your sales process as well. Is your sales process targeting your ideal customer, and if not, ask yourself how you can improve your communication from that first point of contact by phone or email to the final contract? It should not only attract ideal customers, but also weed out those who are not.
- Are you addressing fears, assumptions, and questions?
- Are you available and perhaps advertising on the platforms where your ideal customer can find you?
- Do you have solid, reputable reviews from your ideal customers?
- Is your staff trained to use your ideal customer profile as a tool in the sales process?
Implementation can take time, but your work will pay off with a steady stream of high-quality leads. As your business grows and changes, you can expect your ideal customer profile to change with it. When that happens, return to this list for a revision and bring those changes to your messaging and sales process to maintain the flow of leads.
At StructureM, we can help you take your ideal customer profile to the next level to maximize growth. If you’re ready to make an investment in your business that could help you grow 15-50 percent, call us today to get started.