In marketing, if you talk to everyone, you’re actually talking to no one. In other words, if you market your products or services without an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) in mind, you may be frustrated. You might see very poor results, despite your best efforts.
The Ideal Customer Profile, in simple terms, is a complete description of hypothetical customers who are likely to patronize your service or product and, in turn, provide your business with significant profits.
This article summarizes what you need to learn about the best practices when creating and ICP, and how this practice benefits you.
1. What Is ICP? Why Use It At All?
If you’re going to implement a marketing campaign and want to target only those prospects that you think best fit your product or service, an ICP can be of great help. ICP marketing saves you time, resources, and sanity.
An ICP is one of the best ways to ensure that you catch quality leads that actually have more chances of becoming long-term paying customers in your sales funnel. An ICP can help you market to those prospects who can turn your marketing strategy into a dependable revenue generation process. This article summarizes some useful tips on creating an Ideal Customer Profile for your business.
2. It’s All About Information And Numbers
First and foremost, to gather data, you have to analyze existing customers. Identify the strongest customers in your line of business and list the elements that make them important assets to you. Are they bringing revenue and value to your business more than to others? Here are some key factors to help you decide who your best customers are.
- Influence - Customers who are respected and valued in the market niche can help you pull in more customers. Which customers do you think are most respected or valued in your target market? In their respective domains, what’s their position of influence: high, medium, or low? Identify their backgrounds and their worth in the market.
- Have You Struck Gold In Terms Of Referrals? - Customers who are making the most valuable and effective referrals are simply more profitable than others. Check how many referrals they’ve made so far; identify those who made the most valuable ones.
- Revenue Generated VS Acquisition Cost - Assemble complete information and look at the numbers. Always compare the revenue generated with the acquisition cost. Customers with the lowest acquisition cost compared to the revenue they’re generating can be your most profitable customers.
Review all the data collected based on these factors, drill down the numbers, and don’t forget to audit the wrong information while keeping the data updated.
3. Question Your Top Customers
After identifying your strongest customers, don’t commit the mistake of assuming anything about them. Always keep in mind that what you might see from the outside isn’t necessarily what’s real.
Most businesses make themselves believe that they’re marketing or advertising to individuals with a certain lifestyle, who make a specific amount of money, and so on. While it’s true that they might get things correctly, it doesn’t change the fact that marketers still need to actually speak with your top customers to find out what’s actually going on in the background or in their minds.
When you speak with your strongest customers, you might find out that the person you’ve always thought was happy in their workplace is actually someone who’s trying to get into a different job. If you notice that this is a trend among the individuals who do business with you, you can then ask yourself, why is it so?
Always dig deeper into areas where you start seeing similarities or patterns and then try ad find out if this pattern is essential to note or relevant to your marketing campaign’s next step. You’ll understand the importance of doing this as you move forward.
4. Organized Data On An APS
After talking to your top customers and gathering all the necessary information, make sure to list everything on an audience profile sheet (APS). The information you must include are challenges, background, purchasing process, goals, and demographics, to mention a few.
All of this information will significantly influence your marketing. It's going to be very useful in crafting a message for your audience profile so that you can speak to prospects in a way that addresses their pain points and shows how your service or product is the right solution they need.
Personalizing your marketing and advertising materials allows you to improve your conversion rate, thus, increasing your profits and overall revenue.
Audience profile sheets are highly valuable data that you can share beyond your marketing team so that all parts of your business are geared to attracting and retaining the right customers.
5. Go Beyond Your Prospects’ Face Value
Now that you already know what you should look for in your ideal customers, it's time to do extensive research regarding their backgrounds. As with your existing top customers, never judge your prospects by face value. After all, you're going to invest a significant amount of money and time to attract and retain them.
Search for your prospects’ behavioral characteristics, their past budget adjustments, as well as the reasons behind these. Don’t be rigid; always be wary. Keep yourself open to new explanations. The last thing you’d want is to miss out on one productive prospect.
6. Age Isn’t Just A Number
When creating an Ideal Customer Profile, never commit the mistake of neglecting the age of your prospects.
Always remember that you can’t deliver the same marketing message or sell the same idea to individuals of different age groups.
As you probably already know, individuals in their late 20s or even those in their 30s are more likely to experiment and try new products than those already in their 50s. The older ones might prefer something reliable and staid.
7. Gender-group Your Target Prospects
Many marketers still commit the mistake of neglecting gender-based marketing. While it’s true that men tend to be more market-oriented, you’ll need to up your game if you want to convert everyone into paying customers. You can do this by leveraging your emotional impressions and intuition, coupled with your pragmatic approach.
While gender elements may not always apply to your product or service, you must take into account any specific gender domination among your prospective customers.
Aside from the aspects discussed in this article, you also have to ask: Will your product or service add any values to the lives of your prospects? If yes, then find out how, and to what exact extent.
By doing this, you'll have a clear idea about whom to approach. This can actually be the most crucial part of creating an Ideal Customer Profile.
The last thing you’d want is to end up wasting your resources on individuals who don’t need what you can offer.
Why would these people care about how your business excels in the market? Why would your targets care about how excellent your product or service is? Leads always want someone or something that can solve their problems. With an ICP in hand, your business will have a real competitive advantage in your target market.