Creating Ideal Customer Profiles for Your Blog
You need to get clear on who you want to attract. So, that means it's time to talk about crafting some ideal customer profiles for your blog. Tawnee's like, "I don't wanna do it." It's been a while since I've done ideal customer profiles in a class, so it feels like it was time. So, getting clear on who the ideal customer is for your blog will make it easier to decide what kinds of content to create. So, earlier, we had an online question from Rachelle, and she was like, "Well, I don't know what to write about "because I make jewelry, but I'm not really into style." Chances are, neither is your customer, Rachelle, which means you don't have to write about style, but you have to know your customer to know that. Now, this may seem obvious, but I just wanna point it out, the ideal reader for your blog is the ideal customer for your products. We're not trying to attract somebody else, right? We want the people who are gonna buy our things. The other thing that you may wanna think about is ...
that your blog may not need to attract all of your ideal customer profiles if you aren't trying to reach those customers online. So, if you've been in some of my previous classes where we've done ideal customer profiles, you may be familiar, particularly with Bernice. (laughing) Bernice is my 63-year-old hip grandma who lives in the Bay area. She's got the short, gray bob, the awesome red glasses. In one of my classes, someone was like, "I went out to get dinner last night, and I saw Bernice. "She is real." I was like, "I know she's real. "She's my customer." So, Bernice, I don't really worry about Bernice in my blog. Okay, Bernice is who I serve through my stores, alright? She's the one that's going to my museum store. She's the one that's going to cool galleries in interesting locations. She's probably not spending a lot of her time on the internet reading blogs. So, I don't have to worry about her. Even the same with Susan, my Boston-area interior designer. She's shopping at my Boston stores. I don't have to worry about her for my blog. So, instead, I'm gonna focus my energy, and in this case, not surprisingly, it happens to be my two younger profiles, on my professional person and my entrepreneur. I'm gonna focus my energy there, because they're the ones that are most likely to buy online from me. They're the ones I'm trying to attract, and we're gonna talk about creating these profiles in a minute. But you can see some examples here, right? So if I'm thinking about Annie, my young professional, here's a post I created, 8 Chic and Stylish Ways to Wear Black and White to Work. This is a post thinking about her, right? She's a professional. She has to go to work. If she likes my brand, she probably doesn't actually like color that much, (laughing) so it's not just what you wear to work, but eight black and white things to wear to work, right? So, I'm thinking about her. Or this post, What to Wear to a Casual Summer Conference. I know that one of my ideal customer profiles is an entrepreneur who works at home and does not dress up very often. But then, sometimes, she has to leave her house and go somewhere and interact with other humans. This profile is an introvert, in case you didn't know. (laughing) And so, when she does, she has to think about what she's gonna wear. And, so this person might literally type into Google, what do I wear to a casual summer conference? So I created this post thinking specifically about attracting her. Now, of course, if I wanted to attract Bernice, I could create content like that, if I wanted to, right? That's the kind that museum post, so I might sprinkle that in every now and again, but ultimately, she's not the big goal. She's not the fish I'm after with my blog, because I'm serving her in other places. Make sense? So, identifying your ideal customer is an exercise in imagination that you then confirm over time. There's no magic database of ideal customers where you type in some words, and then suddenly, it's like, "Your ideal customer is Bernice." (laughing) Some of you probably have Bernice as your ideal customer. I met someone once, and he was a woodworker, and we had this conversation. I was like, "That's my customer, too." I was like, "Her name's Bernice," and he's like, "Well, I've never given her a name before." (laughing) Yeah, it's Bernice. But it really starts as just imagination. Who do you think your customer is? Now, you have to be a little bit realistic, right? You can't be like, "My customer is the person "who only buys handmade things, and also makes "a bazillion dollars and just throws it around "like it's candy," right? You have to actually think about these people as real people, but then, you start to confirm that over time, right? As you sell things, you start to look at, is that the person? I get really excited, actually, when people buy things from my shop and their name is Susan. It happens more than you would think. I'm like, "Yes, Susan, there she is again." Alright, so you start to confirm it over time. And part of the way that you confirm this is by thinking about who is not your customer. I do not care who you are or what you sell, not everyone is your customer. Even the biggest brands cannot have everyone as their customer, right? You like Coke or you like Pepsi. Or you don't like either. I don't even drink soda, right? Not everyone is your customer. So we wanna stop looking for this myth of universal appeal, right? We're not designing for everyone. We're designing for specific people. And so, actually, establishing who your customer is not is a really good place to start. I remember a couple years ago, I was at the New York gift fair, and I was watching people, and I was like, "Well, maybe my customer likes fashion." And then I would watch these 20-something fashionistas literally walk by my booth without giving it any time of day. Just walk by, walk by, walk by, and I was like, "Hmm, maybe that's not my person." And then I was like, "Oh, wait, there's Susan, "there's Bernice, there they are." So start by thinking about who's not gonna buy your product, and it lets you start to narrow it down. So now everyone start to think about maybe some people who we're definitely not ever, ever gonna buy their product. Right, can you guys think of a few people? Alright, so once you start thinking about that, now you're gonna start to think about, and again, imagination. If you have no idea, just imagine for a minute. So let's start to think about, maybe, where's your customer spending time online? What websites do they visit? And try not to think about the ones that you're like, "Well, of course they're on Facebook, "'cause everybody's on Facebook." First of all, not everyone is on Facebook. My husband does not even have a Facebook profile. And I literally, he has a Pinterest profile now. I got him into Pinterest, but he doesn't have a Facebook profile. And I, who am on Facebook, is literally never on Facebook. People are like, "Well, I posted it on Facebook." I don't know, I don't go on there. I don't have time for that. So, try to avoid the really, really big ones, alright? Try to think maybe a little bit more specifically. What websites do they visit? What blogs do they read? Maybe they don't read blogs, but ideally, we want someone who's reading blogs if we're gonna attract them with our blog. So what other blogs do they read, right? Are they looking at Design*Sponge or Apartment Therapy, or are they looking at mom blogs, right? What are they looking at? Who are they following on social media? Who might they follow on Instagram? And what online stores do they frequent? Because here's the other thing. You want, on your blog, to attract people who are actually shopping online, right? If you're like, "Well, they don't shop online," they're not a good target for your blog. So, what online stores do they frequent? Where are they buying from? You also wanna think about, what else does your customer spend their money on? What restaurants do they eat at, or what types of restaurants, or what food are they buying? Are they getting a meal service delivered now? Or maybe what alcohol are they buying? Are they hitting up every craft brewery every time they take a road trip? Or maybe it's every winery. What movies and TV shows do they watch? Because those things might influence you stylistically, right? What are they looking at? What books are they reading, or are they not reading books, or are they listening to podcasts? What car do they drive, or maybe they don't. What bike do they have? What public transportation do they take? And again, imagination, right? I'm not saying you have to know these things, but I'm saying we want to start thinking about them and imagine who this person is. Where do they go on vacation? What other brands do they buy? What else are they shopping for? So we wanna move from broad demographics to specific profiles. Every time I teach this exercise, somebody's like, "Well, my customer is between 20 and 70, "and she lives in a major urban or suburban area "on either coast, or maybe in Chicago." Yes, that's probably true. That's also very unhelpful, right? So we wanna take this, and then you're like, "Well, I can't narrow it down "because I see people in a range." Yes, you're always gonna see a range of customers. But what we're trying to do here is just give us someone to imagine in our minds as we create content, right? What do I think Annie would wanna see online? What is she looking for? And so I want you to create these specific profiles for your customers of who you envision buying your product. So, normally, for ideal customer exercises, I recommend three to four ideal customer profiles. But for your blog, you can just focus on one or two, because, as I mentioned, especially if you're wholesaling, or if you're doing craft shows, you're probably hitting some of those customers in other places. So, for this exercise, we wanna focus specifically on the people that you think are gonna shop in your online store, because that's who we want your blog to attract. And now I want you to start to literally answer questions, right? Are they male or female? How old are they? Where do they live? And again, we're picking specific profiles, so I don't wanna know that Bernice is between 50 and 70. I'm gonna imagine that Bernice is 63, and she lives here in the Bay area, right? Be specific. What do they look like? Are they in a relationship? Do they have kids or grandkids? What's their education like? What's their occupation? What do they do? How much money do they make? And this is not, again, this idea, they make all the money. But it's important to understand if this the person with a lot of disposable income, or if it's someone who maybe has to make decisions about buying your product, right? Is your product an impulse buy or a splurge? And that actually has nothing to do with your price point and everything to do with who your customer is, because the same product at the same price point is an impulse buy for some people, and it's a splurge for other people, and that is always true at any price point. Now, the higher you get, it's a splurge for more people, but there are always people at every price point who could impulse buy it. This morning, on my way in here, I caught the tail end, in the car, I caught this tail end of a news story about that Johnny Depp made $650 million, and has spent all of his $650 million. Do you know what you have to impulse buy to spend $650 million dollars? (laughing) I'm thinking jets. So, knowing how much money they make helps you know whether we're talking about splurge or impulse. What are their interests and hobbies? Where do they go on vacation? What do they read, watch, and listen to? How would you define their style? Do they define their style, right? And again, think about style in terms of what your product category is, so if you're selling something that they can wear, think about how they define their style in terms of what they wear. And maybe they define their style as, I don't have one, right? Or I only wear what's comfortable. That's okay. And if you're selling something for their home, think about that. Or, if you're selling something for their kids, how would they define their kids' style? Are they a trend follower? Do they care about trends? 'Cause, guess what, if your customer doesn't care about trends, you don't have to care about trends. Isn't that exciting for those who don't care about trends? If your customer doesn't care, you don't have to care. Do they have a lot of friends? How social are they? Do they prefer to stay home or go out? So, start to think about all of these things, and build these customer profiles. And again, you wanna kinda carry this in your head, but at the end of the day, you should be able to sum this up pretty quickly, right? Annie is a 33-year-old professional who lives in D.C. And then in my head, I can picture her, right? She's blonde, she goes to craft shows, she sometimes goes to charity events, right? I sorta put her together in my head, right? Questions about the ideal profile exercise? Are we seeing some online?
I'm sure we are.
There are a lot of, yeah, some of them, just clarifications. I know some of this, you've already explained, but just to reiterate. So, Jake wants to know, "Where are you learning "the answers to all of these client profile questions? "Are you always just asking one person who seems ideal "in your head, or do you create this imaginary person, "and you just hope that you get it right, "and then you just change over time?"
So, first of all, you're starting, again, with imagination. If you're doing any kind of in-person selling, you start to read people, right? You see someone at a craft show, I'm sorry, but you can learn a lot about someone by what they're wearing. You can make a lot of guesses, but now it's even easier, because of social media, right? So one of the things you can do is start to look at the people who are following you, or are buying from you. Who are your biggest fans on social media? And instead of just being like, "Here's a person," I'm gonna click over, and I'm gonna look at them. So, Instagram's a little harder now, because more people make their things private, but you'd be amazed at how much stuff people don't realize Facebook tells you even on a public profile. So, you can start to figure out who's buying from you, and I know this sounds creepy, but it's not. It's market research. And big companies are doing way creepier things to find out about you than spending a couple minutes hanging out on a social media profile. So you can start to look at people, and look at who else are they following? What are they sharing? What are they talking about? So you start with this idea, but then you start to pay attention to who's following you and who's already gravitating toward your brand online, and you can go from there.
Yeah, we have another question from Red Scorpio who says that, "A lot of my blogging and social media "is about the other creative stuff I do for fun "like brush lettering and painting. "Is this something that would attract my ideal customer, "or just peers?" And I guess you could think about that, is it something where you create the content to attract that customer, or do you have that customer in mind before you create the content?
Yeah, so first of all, I think this, I wanna ask a little bit of a rhetorical question, 'cause who is your ideal customer? Do you think that they are interested in those things? But I would say, in general, so I'm gonna make a little bit of an assumption, because I know Rachelle, and I know the price point that some of the things she's trying to sell at, so, your person is probably not super, super DIY crafty creative because they need a little bit more disposable income, not to say that people who have a lot of disposable income aren't creative, but I think there's certain levels that we're looking at here, and so my gut is, that some of that is also probably still attracting your peers, but then, the other thing that I would say is, right, you have to think about who the customer is first, and what kinds of content would attract them, or else you're kind of wasting your time.
Gotcha. And the questions just keep coming in here we wanna just touch on. Here's a good one that just came in from Sue who says, "A lot of my purchases "are buying gifts for others. "Which ideal customer do I focus on? "The purchaser or the end user?"
Ah-ha, that is a great question. And so there are a couple of things to think about here. So, if the person who's buying, is buying it as a gift, are they buying it as a gift because they found it, or because they were told to buy it? And so that answers that question. So, in my case, I do have a lot of men who are buying for their wives, but it's because their wives said, "I want this thing from Megan," or they pinned it to their Pinterest board. So I'm still writing in this case, for the end user. Now, that said, if the end user can't say they want it, for instance, if the end user is a child, then you're not blogging for the child. You're blogging for the parent, or maybe you're blogging for the grandparent who is probably gonna spend even more money than the parent is gonna spend, right? So, there are differences here, but really, it boils down to who is actually making the decision. Are they being told to buy it, or are they finding it themselves, and then buying it? And that'll tell you who you should be blogging for.
Other questions, or are we feeling okay?
Just to reiterate this one, we had a lot of questions on the ideal number of customer profiles.
Is it too much if you have so many of them? Is there an ideal number?
Yeah, it's totally starts to get too overwhelming because then you end up being back to this thing of like, "My customer is everyone." So even though not every customer fits into these profiles, I recommend three to four ideal customer profiles for your business. Maybe you could push it to five. But really, I've found that three to four is ideal, but then for your blog, focus on one to two because, chances are, some of those profiles are probably being served by stores or craft shows or things like that, and also, just to keep it a little bit easier and more focused, one to two is what I want you to look at for your blog.
Great, thank you.