Let me tell you a story of my made up friend, Sally.
Sally is an artist whose specialty is in her beautiful floral gouache paintings. She has a decent sized following on Instagram and they love her art. In an effort to grow her business, Sally decides to launch an entire range of notepads and stickers that feature her paintings. Since her followers already appreciate her work, she figured they'd definitely love her new line of products.
She's excited- launch day is finally here!
She makes 4 sales in the first day. Not what she expected but perhaps she just needs to give it more time. 3 more sales the next day. And another the next day. A week later, she has made less than 10 sales but is left with a whole inventory of products.
Awesome Product ≠ Sales
If we wanted to really simplify sales into an equation, it'd probably look something like this:
Sales = Awesome product + Right person
Sally's range of notepads and stickers were beautiful, yes, but they just weren't created with her ideal customer in mind.
Or as I like to call them, her "Heck yeah!" gang.
Heck yeah wha-???
Think of it this way. You've just finished reading Jamie Kern Lima's amazing book, Believe It (it truly is amazing, by the way!) and you're feeling all sorts of inspired. The experiences she shared about being a woman in business and sticking up for what she believes in got you so fired up. You just HAVE to share it with someone but I'm guessing that someone is not going to be your husband, dad or brother. Sure, they may feel happy for your reignited motivation but nothing beats having a girlfriend shout 'Heck yeah!' in agreement as you read out your favourite lines from the book.
Finding your ideal customer is basically like finding your "Heck yeah!" person. They're the ones who will actually buy from you and then gladly rave about your awesome products to their own "Heck yeah" gang without you even telling them to.
So how do you find your gang?
Start by asking yourself these questions below. If you already have a few customers, start there. You could send them a survey, conduct polls via Instagram and do a little sneaky-sneaky of their profiles while you're on there. If you don't have any customers (yet!) then use your best judgment for now. As you start making sales, you'll be able to come back to these questions and refine them. Note that this is not an exhaustive list of questions but it's a good place to begin.
1) What are their demographics?
Gender, age, location, income, marital status, ethnicity etc. There are many other information that fall under this category but not all may be as relevant to your business so just focus on the few key ones that are.
2) How do they like to spend their free time?
Are they adventurous and love to explore the great outdoors or do they prefer to curl up at home with a good book? Do they love social events and meeting new people or would they much rather hang out with family and friends?
3) What do they spend their money on?
As the saying goes, "where your treasure is, there your heart is also." A good way of understanding your customer's heart and interests therefore, is to see where they invest their treasure aka moolah.
4) What kind of content do they consume?
This can include tv shows, movies, music, podcasts and books to name a few.
5) What brands do they shop from?
This doesn't have to just include brands selling similar items to yours, in fact, it shouldn't. Widen the scope to where they shop for their clothes, books, gadgets, groceries and more!
I love a good example so here's one you to illustrate how these questions all tie together. In this parallel universe, Sally knows exactly who her ideal customers are.
Go, parallel universe Sally! Notice how knowing who her ideal customers are didn't just impact the marketing but also the product itself. Instead of designing a regular journal, she was able to create one that met the specific needs of her customer. That's the beauty of knowing your "Heck yeah!" gang really well.
Now that you know how to identify your own "Heck yeah!" gang, it's time to go even deeper to build yourself a long lasting business. I've created a free guide and action plan sheet to help you turn your followers into customers. It includes the same tips I use in my business to this very day.