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How to make a client profile, and why your website needs one

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How to make a client profile avatars

Why do you need to know how to make a client profile? and what is one anyway? is it deeply guarded black magic marketing trick, or just a sideways view of your last customer?

Sadly, or fortunately, neither. Client profiling is the understanding of who you are really selling to.

You want more customers, right? Profiling will help bring them to you

So, who are you selling to right now, and who would you like to sell to? Few businesses can really truthfully answer “Everybody”, unless you are lucky enough to Coca Cola Corp. Even Coke have to be slightly more specific than “somebody who is thirsty right now” (good luck optimising for that term).

Coke, and every other successful business on the planet identifies a niche market, a segment of people who have a need that the company can satisfy. Coke have several different products, each one is marketed differently – although this may be reduced in the future to make marketing simpler (i.e. cheaper). Read more on Coca Cola’s marketing here.

Identify your market

how to make a client profileThe first step towards creating a client profile is to identify your target market. For example, say you run a small appliance repair business (“I run a small appliance repair business” – thank you  Police Squad), then you could identify your target market as:

  • People who live within 15 miles of my business
  • People who have a broken household appliance

So how can we drill down into this to be more specific?

  • People who don’t have warranties or service plans

So who might they be? Probably people with young families where only one adult is working (or one is only receiving a part time income). Now we are starting to build a picture of the client. It’s obvious that, say, having a broken washer is the pain point. But if we can identify exactly why this causes pain then we can create far more meaningful messages. So now we can say that our Appliance Repair Business can target a customer who:

  • Needs lots of washing doing daily
  • Finds it unacceptable to have dirty clothes
  • Is on a tight budget
  • Does not have a service contract
  • is already busy

Now we are ready to build a client persona.

Imagine your client persona in detail

how to make a client profileLet’s make our theoretical appliance repair customer a little more real – I’m going to imagine a person with a lifestyle that fits the above criteria.

Meet Joanne. Joanne is in her early 30s and has two children, 4 and 12. Her husband Dave works long hours in the nearby town, and Joanne works part time on the reception at the local Dentists to help make ends meet. She has two schools to visit on her school run, and Dave has to leave early to beat the rush hour traffic so he can’t help.

Mornings are always frought, what with 4 people to get our of the door breakfasted, lunch and equipment for the day in hand and Joanne frequently leaves the house 2 minutes later that she really intended to, stressed. So the last thing she needs is the washer to break down. Everybody needs clean work and school clothes every day, and the household budget won’t stretch to a clean uniform every day (not if they want to go on holiday this year, anyway) so she needs to wash at least every other day. Joanne could ask her mother to do some washing for her, but its a 25 minute drive that will soon become a real pain! Fortunately there is a little money spare to get the washer repaired, and Mum will always lend a hand so there’s no option but to find a reliable, affordable repair man.

There you have a scenario that you can craft a poignant sales message for. I’m not going to do it, but why don’t you have a go an publish your ideas for us all to share in the comments below?

How I made up the scenario

To get to the little story I filled out a client profile. It’s a useful sheet that I have that asks all sorts of leading questions so I can get to understand my clients target market. It goes into intimate detail to get them to really imagine their current or ideal client in detail. Only by understanding the people can we truly see how our business helps them, and how we can communicate this to them.

I’ve posted my client persona form here for you to use to construct your own target market personas. When you’ve done 3-4 you’ll start to have ideas on how to market yourself to them and be able to spot where your current marketing goes wrong – or gets it right!

Good luck with your client persona exercises – it really is a worthwhile investment to get to understand your target market better.

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