“One of the deep secrets of life is that all that is really worth doing is what we do for others.” Lewis Carroll
My friend, if you’re aiming to make money on the internet, the most important thing is to find someone to sell something to. However when most people are starting to develop an internet business, they focus on the thing they want to sell. Then once they’ve spent all this time and effort developing it, they may have a hard time selling it, because no one wants it.
If you start with working out who you are going to target, then work out what their pain points are, their needs and their wants, and only then find or develop a product or service which alleviates their pain points – BINGO! You’ve got a winner.
Solutions only derive their value from the problems they solve. You need to work out what problems people have, and where you can find those people, so that you can offer them your solution.
To do this, you need to work out, in detail, who you are going to sell your products or services to. This process has many names, depending on the industry you are working in. Some of these are
- audience analysis
- customer definition
- customer avatar
- ideal customer
- client avatar
- user story
- prospect profile
- market segmentation
After going through this process, the outcome may surprise you.
Today I had a meeting with a potential client who is looking at developing a sales funnel providing education and training, with a high priced backend offer of consultancy services. As we talked more about the consultancy services they would be offering, we realised that the ideal customer for these services is someone working in government or industry, who is procuring services from consultancy firms.
The initial products that this organisation had thought of developing was targeted at people delivering the consultancy services. As we talked more about this, we realised that those kind of products would not lead to the kind of upsells the organisation wanted to deliver. So we put our thinking hats on, and, using the high end customers as the target, came up with some totally different products to use in the sales funnel.
If we hadn’t done the work to identify our ideal customers, we could have put in a whole lot of work developing a product and sales funnel which attracted the wrong type of people, and wouldn’t meet its purpose of selling the high end consultancy services.
Defining your customer impacts on
- what products or services you offer
- how and where you promote your offer
- the wording you use in all your communication with your customers.
It is fundamental to developing a successful business, whether that is an internet business or a bricks and mortar one.
Define your ideal customer
The first step in defining your ideal customer is to think about the kind of people you want to work with. You’re going to be spending a lot of time interacting with these people, so you may as well work with the kind of people you like.
The reason you have to narrow it down from “everybody” is that if you don’t, no one will think they fit the bill for your product. You won’t be able to focus in on problems, issues, pain points which people have.
You have to be able to position your product so that when you talk about the problems it solves, people will be able to say “yeah, that’s me. I’ve got that problem”. If you try to please everybody, you end up pleasing nobody.
If you’re concerned about narrowing your focus so much that you exclude most of your audience, don’t be. The more narrowly you target, the more specific you can be, and the more you can really serve those people well. What you will find is that other people who may have some of the same characteristics will also be interested in your offers.
When defining your ideal customer, you want to focus on their characteristics. These are the things which make this group different to other people. Things like
- level of income
- level of education and experience
Work out where they hang out
Find out how you can connect with these types of people. Look at both online and offline methods, to develop the widest possible picture of where you can interact with them.
You want to look at things like
- hard copy print media such as newspapers and magazines
- online media such as websites, forums, magazines
- social networking sites
- leaders in the industry who they might look up to
- organisations they belong to
You’re going to use this information in the next step for your research, and also when you start marketing your products to them.
Identify their pain points
Then start doing some research into what their main pain points are. These are the things which keep them up at night, the things which are first on their list of things to do.
You could start by talking to people who meet your audience characteristics and asking them what their biggest issues are. You could hang out on forums where these people interact and look at the questions which they pose. You could look existing publications and training courses which are already aimed at your ideal customer, and analyse the kind of information they provide.
This step requires a bit of work. However the more effort you put in here, the easier it is to find a product which will help them enormously and that they will be desperate to buy.
Identify their wants and needs
“You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes well you might find
You get what you need” Rolling Stones
This is where you look at the pain points, and work out what their needs and wants are related to those pain points.
Needs are generally the un-sexy things. The things which you know you must have or do, and which often aren’t very exciting. They’re the things like planning, organisation skills, healthy food.
Wants are the exciting things, the things you start salivating over.
Michael Cheney uses the term “chocolate-covered broccoli”. The broccoli is the needs, the thing that really delivers the benefit to the person. The chocolate is the thing which makes the person buy it. To be really successful, sell people on the chocolate, and deliver some broccoli along with the chocolate.
Let’s look at an example to help explain the difference between the pain points, wants and needs.
A parent who works 9-5, with multiple kids, will often have a pain point of time, and having to keep the family fed. They want something which is quick and easy to prepare, that the kids are happy to eat, and that isn’t too expensive. They need something which is good for the kids to eat, that will help them to grow up to be healthy.
Along comes McDonald’s. Cheap, quick way to feed the family. Addresses the pain point. Addresses the want. Doesn’t really address the need, which then can create further, different problems.
Here’s another example, using the audience analysis I did for Internet Profits (iPro). iPro is a program I am involved in, which helps people build a successful internet business. I think it’s fabulous, and have been learning an incredible amount, and receiving massive support. iPro addresses all the pain points below, delivers all the needs, and wraps it up in the wants. If you’d like more information about it, if these pain points sound like things you are experiencing, check iPro out here. The low priced offer of the Big Commission Blueprint System (BCBS) allows you to check out the team and type of information, to see if you’d like to work with my mentor and partner Dean Holland and his group. iPro itself is a higher priced product which you can get access to once you’ve checked out BCBS.
|doesn’t like current job
|new job which interests them
|their dream job, where they make lots of money for little work
|doesn’t like current working conditions/hours
|work from home
work from anywhere
|flexibility in work hours and conditions
|not earning enough money
|earn a decent income
|to earn lots of money, live a luxury lifestyle
|wants to start/improve an online business and doesn’t know how
|training (specific skills)
education (broader contest)
|to change their life, be successful in their business
|doesn’t know technically how to do things on the internet
|learn how to do the technology bits
|someone else to set it all up for them
|feels alone in their business venture
like-minded community of peers to discuss things with
|to be surrounded by people encouraging them on
Only after you’ve gone through all the steps above do you develop or find a product which will be of value to your ideal client. You now know exactly what their pain points are, their needs and their wants. You know who they are, and where you can reach them. You know how to present your product or services to them, so that it appeals to their desires. You know that it will help them enormously by also meeting their needs.
I’ve created a worksheet which you can use which takes you through the steps to identify your ideal customer. No opt in required. I really hope that it helps you get more clarity in your business, and helps you to connect with people who will ensure the success of your business.
Download Your Ideal Customer worksheet using the link.
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below on defining your ideal customer. Let me know what your experience has been with it.