With Get to Know Your Customer Day right around the corner (it’s the third Thursday of each quarter) it’s a great reminder to set time aside to get to know your ideal customer.

Knowing the basics about their age, location, and gender paints a basic picture. Gathering more details about their daily lives – like if they own a pet, family make up, if they prefer spending time at a coffee shop or pub, their interests and values – means you can paint a vivid picture of their larger goals and motivations, and truly understand your ideal clients’ needs.

This kind of info might seem irrelevant, but the better you know your audience, the easier it will be to build trust with them, and craft a message that feels like you’re speaking to them.

Let’s talk about why knowing your customer is important, and a few tips for how to get to know your customers better.

Knowing Your Customer Is Key to Building a Lasting Relationship

Think of the last phone call you had with a friend. You probably talked about all the things going on in your life, from big life news to small day-to-day details. The same goes for your brand. Consumers are generally more likely to buy from you if they feel like you understand them the way a friend would.

The challenge is this – you can’t be everyone’s friend at the same time. It’s important that you niche down your audience and split them up into segments. It’s always better to connect deeply with one segment than to dilute your message trying to reach everyone.

For example, a sneaker company wouldn’t try to advertise to an intense athlete and a casual jogger at the same time. Messaging crafted to target a serious athlete would focus on beating the competition and pushing your limits. On the hand (or foot?), messaging crafted to target a casual jogger might mention enjoying the weather, fresh air, and caring for your overall health.

Create Ideal Customer Avatars 

So, what’s the best way to get to know your ideal customers?

The first thing is to focus on one person at a time.  Like the sneaker example – don’t go in with ‘generic athlete avatar’ but think of an actual person, give him a name. Let’s say “Joe” is 35 years old, drives a Prius, loves Chipotle, and takes his dog on weekend hikes in the nearby park.

Once you have your general avatar in mind – get specific with these three primary categories: demographics, psychographics, and brand experience.

First, we have demographics. Like I said before – age, location, and gender aren’t enough, so go beyond that. Consider relationship status, income, education, career, housing, and even the type of car your ideal avatar drives.

Demographic info can give you insights into their life, habits, and routines that can inform your targeting, for example, if you boost a Facebook post. And, you might be surprised at how this information can help when you need to pivot or troubleshoot.

For example, at the start of the pandemic, a few of my clients couldn’t figure out why their podcast listener numbers plummeted. With a bit of investigating, the ones who really knew their ideal client demographics were early to realize that many of their listeners were commuters who’d begun working from home. No commute – no time to listen to podcasts. Together, we were also early to pivot, moving to video, written content, and other forms of media that their audience was more likely to consume.

Next, think about psychographics, which includes things like attitudes, values, and opinions. To dig deep into psychographics, explore your ideal clients’ hobbies, interests, fears, life goals, and what they read or watch in their spare time. Knowing your avatars’ psychographics is key to designing messaging that helps them see that you align with their values.

This is your opportunity to reflect that you really know and understand your client in your messaging. It shows not only in what you talk about, but in how you talk, and in your brand’s attitude and persona. The more it matches your ideal client, the more effective it is at building long-term relationships and leads to sales. In fact, 86% of consumers prefer an honest and authentic brand personality, so don’t be afraid to show some personality, share your values, and tell your story.

Brand Experience
Here’s a bonus – brand experience, you’re analyzing what it looks like when this avatar interacts with your brand. When they come to you, what are they looking for?

Consider things like why they might choose you, what service or product they’d be interested in, the types of questions they’d ask before buying, and what would make them excited to engage with you. How can you inspire brand loyalty, and make them want to buy again? What kind of an unexpected experience could you provide that would make them tell their friends? Answering these questions and understanding your ideal customer is the key to effective messaging and brand-building.