How to woo your ideal customer
First things first. Do you know who your ideal customer is?
I’m asking, because it can actually be a very confusing concept to understand, especially if you haven’t done the work to properly create a schematic of who that person really is.
If you’ve done the work, you’ll get this much easier.
For the purpose of this blog, imagine that your ideal customer is a woman named, Tola.
I hate to say it, but Tola can be really dumb. I’m referring specifically to Tola’s purchasing habits.
Tola, like the majority of customers, chooses products based on their aesthetic appeal, not necessarily because they’re quality products. She buys into labels because they’re “the it thing” with the "in crowd".
For non-essential purchases, Tola shuts off the skeptical part of her brain, when she walks into a shopping mall, goes to the supermarket, or scrolls through instagram. Because the truth is, Tola can be really really lazy.
She doesn’t want to have to spend her precious chill time doing the research to find products that are great, when she can be lazy and just pick something up that she quickly gravitates towards.
How often do you really do your research before you buy something? For the most part, most people just pick whatever seems good. That’s where it gets interesting.
The key question we’re covering in this post is, “what seems good to your ideal customer?” or What Would Tola Love (WWTL)?
You may or may not know this, but my first Masters was in sociology, specifically Culture and Society, so I’ve done a good amount of research on consumer psychology, decision making and more. That Masters is what I pulled on the most when I was designing the branding and marketing programs we run here at Do it Now Now.
Many founders have no idea what their ideal customers want to see, and so they fail. You’re not going to fail.
There are three key aspects to the aesthetics that draw customers into your brand.
The first is the language you use, the second is your colour scheme and the third is your graphics. All of these work together to create an image of your brand that lulls your customers into submission before they even make it to your website.
You want your customers to be predisposed to making a purchase before they even see your prices.
What’s the difference between, “Hey”, “Hi”, “Hi!”, “Hi :)”, “Hi ya” and “Hello”?
They’re all words and the pretty much mean the same thing, or do they?
Just like you wouldn’t write “Dear Sir” to a close friend, you probably wouldn’t write “Hi ya” to a prospective client who also happens to be the Chief Executive of the multinational conglomerate you are trying to work with.
Once you know who your ideal client is, you’ll know what kind of greeting they would want you to use when you email them.
This language breakdown applies to every aspect of your business.
Think about your slogan. I recently came across a slogan that really irked me.
It was, “if you need help to give mum a helping hand please raise your hand.” The repetition of words and the convoluted sentence structure just irritated me.
But, I’m not their ideal customer.
They were trying to attract children who are taught how to use words through sentences just like that one.
Its like the writer’s club saying, “don’t purchase when you can buy”, meaning don’t use over complicated words unnecessarily. That is, of course, unless your ideal customer prides themselves on their intellect, in which case, do purchase rather than buy.
The best advice I’ve ever gotten about this was during a conversation with Sarah Drinkwater the Community Director of Google’s entrepreneur scheme in London. The company had just gone through an overhaul in their branding and I was curious about how they keep things consistent across their many locations.
Instead of giving me a really technical answer, as I have come to expect from Googlers, she said all you have to do is “stick your words on the wall in front of your computer, and stare at them before you create anything.” The words she was referring to are key words.
In our cheat sheet, 4 Proven Steps to Attract and Retain more Customers, we ask you to list some key words that you think effectively describe your business. Our coaching clients often choose words like, “bright”, “friendly”, “fun”, “comforting”, “precise”, “professional” and “quick”.
If you haven’t already, definitely read through the cheat sheet. The words you choose are going to help you figure out what should be the bedrock of your language when you’re communicating with your customers at any time, in every format.
If you describe your business as “bright”, whenever your customer reads anything you write, whether it’s on social media, on your blog or even in interviews, your ideal customer should be able to identify it as “bright” and gravitate towards it because they are attracted to “bright” things.
A good way to test the effectiveness of your language is to spy on your competition.
Who’s stealing all your ideal customers from you?
What kind of language do they use?
Are they personable and chatty, or reserved and professional?
What language should you be using, based on their success?
TOP TIP: This is slightly trickier when it comes to African startups, especially those based in the diaspora.
From the diaspora, Africa is often referred to as a country rather than a continent. But when you're actually on the continent, you appreciate how different each culture, within each country is.
The diversity in each country is really rich, so be careful when you’re choosing a successful startup to emulate. You don’t want to write for South Africans when your core customers are Nigerians.
My favourite thing to talk about is colour psychology. Every time I talk about it, I re-live the blown away feeling I had when I first started researching it.
Colour psychology is an incredibly underused resource in business, especially when it comes to early stage founders.
CoSchedule put together a really useful summary on the subject.
The key take away is that every colour means something. From when we’re really young, we’re taught to associate certain colours with feelings and characteristics that are either positive or negative.
Its our job as we develop brands that attract our ideal customers, to understand what our brand colours say to them.
I was once coaching a founder who was running a makeup brand. The product itself was wonderful. Her language, when she spoke about the product was centred around luxury, class and finesse, but the brand image she had developed was more suited to a company like Pampers, instead of IMAN.
The difference is startling isn’t it?
Look at what your competitors are doing. Look for competitors that are extremely successful. What colours are they using?
I’m not saying you should copy their colour palette, but I am saying, if they’re all using black as a base colour and you’re using baby blue, you need to reconsider what it is you’re trying to say.
If your brand image doesn’t suit your ideal customer, you run the risk of confusing your ideal customer and turning them off your brand completely.
A few months ago I was at Oxford University presenting on Do it Now Now at an African Innovation conference and I sat in on a lecture by Jono of Dagon Media, the company that helped Ghana’s Busy Telecoms completely rebrand last year.
One of the things he touched on was the assumptions founders make when choosing graphics to use for their business, especially on social media.
This brings me back to our key question – WWTL?
Making assumptions is probably the worst thing you could do for your business. I often speak to founders who consider themselves their own ideal client.
Don’t do that.
You change everyday based on your mood and your experiences. Your ideal client should remain a static portrayal of a fictional person that does not waver (until you do a review of your business direction).
When it comes to the graphics you produce, every thing should pass the WWTL test.
Would your ideal customer see it and love it instantly?
Would they be inspired to send it to their friends, family and colleagues?
If you consistently produce a brand image that your ideal customer loves, they’ll trust that they’ll love whatever you create as a product or service as well.
To step away from assumptions and start creating sure winners, you’re going to have to engage in marketing.
The point of market research is simple; get to know your ideal customer well enough so that whatever you create will be their perfect fit every time.
I like to call this the fairy god mother method.
Prince Charming, had a perfect shoe and made every woman in the country try it on until he found the unique girl. But the fairy god mother, created a shoe that was the perfect fit for a unique girl.
Yes, that was a Cinderella reference.
The point is, when you know their struggles, you know their past and you know their pain, you can create something that is so perfectly suited to them, everything becomes as effortless as waving a wand.
I’m done with the Cinderella references.
Have a look at the Instagram pages of your competitors. Look for the ones that have the most engagement.
What kinds of things are they posting?
How far do those kinds of posts resonate with the brand you are developing?
Do a quick audit of what you're currently producing on your social media pages and think about what changes you need to make to become more attractive to your ideal customer. You can apply this audit to website design, packaging design etc.
TOP TIP: You can get the cheat sheet on how to attract and retain more customers here.
You can also check out the guide to creating your ideal customer. Its 30 questions in 30 days. Trust me... you're not going to regret it. By the end of it, you'll know your ideal customer like the back of your hand.
Both of these docs will be really helpful in your journey to building a better business.
That’s all folks.
Thanks for reading,