Imagine having to cook dinner for your friend’s parents without getting to know them first. You could end up making sugar-filled desserts for diabetics (or worse, serving meat to vegans). Marketing without a customer profile is essentially just that.
A leap in the dark.
While a good understanding of your target market is a must, a business also needs to know who its ideal customer is. That’s where a customer profile comes in handy. It makes it easy for you to tailor campaigns to the specific behaviors, pain points, and needs of people who’re most likely to buy your products and services.
Most business owners have big dreams: exponential growth, market-leading companies as clients, and millions in revenue. But before your company can make it big, you need a plan for how you’re going to build a solid customer base. And, obviously, that requires you to know who your ideal customers are.
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about a customer profile – including what it is, how you can benefit from it, and the step-by-step process of creating one for your business.
What Is a Customer Profile?
A customer profile (sometimes referred to as consumer profile) is a document that includes psychographic, demographic, and geographic characteristics, as well as pain points, interests, buying patterns, and social media preferences of a company’s customers. This document is presented in a manner that makes it look like a description of a real person, with a full name and an image or avatar. Below is an example:
Building a customer profile can help you run better marketing campaigns that, in turn, increases your profits. With all that useful information, you can decide which strategy to implement and which ones to avoid. For example, if the profile says your ideal customer loves engaging with brands on Instagram, then you should probably focus on improving your Instagram marketing.
It’s worth mentioning that a customer profile for a B2C company would look different than that of a B2B firm. The latter defines the ideal customer using firmographics, such as:
- Company size
So if you sell to other companies, you’ll need to find out how big they are, what sector they are in, and how much they make on average in a year.
Advantages of Customer Profiling
You can’t be all things to all people, but you can create a customer profile to learn more about your ideal customer, who they are, and what they do. This can help you in the following ways.
Let’s say you’re a nutritionist and you send out a weekly newsletter to your clients that includes dietary recommendations. When you know that your ideal customers are young gym-goers between 20 and 30, you can tailor your content in a way that augments their lifestyle and preferences. For example, you can feature a recipe for a low-calorie pizza or burger in your email newsletter, as millennials love eating these food items.
With an ideal customer profile on your screen, you’ll know the exact characteristics your target audiences share. Such insights are a goldmine for marketers because they can use the information to actively target precise consumer segments. For example, if your customer profile notes that potential buyers use iPhones to browse and shop online, you’d include their device preference in the Facebook Ads Manager. Put simply, it’s much easier to run cheaper ads when you know a thing or two about who you want to reach.
Being aware of your customers’ likes and dislikes allows you to engage with them on a personal level. This should improve their overall experience with your company and build loyalty toward you in the long run. According to Customer Experience Matrix, 79 percent of consumers are more loyal to a business that understands them. As you uncover the desires and pain points of your target audience, you can personalize their customer experience and also provide better resources to make them loyal to your brand.
How to Create a Customer Profile
Don’t just rely on guesswork when deciding what to include in your customer profile. Instead, you take a systematic approach to gathering information and data on your ideal customers. The end result is that you create a realistic description that embodies the traits, behaviors, and needs of your best clients.
Here are five simple steps for creating a customer profile.
1. Identify Your Best Customers
The first step is to find and analyze people who are in love with your products or services.
From your existing customer base, create a list of between five and ten best customers who’re getting the most value out of your offerings – value in terms of how you are helping them achieve their objectives.
Some questions to ask yourself to find your best customers are:
- Which customers have been with my company the longest?
- Who’s been referring my business to their friends and family?
- What customers have I featured in my case studies?
- Which customers have made significantly more money using my product than they invested in it?
If you’re a new company and don’t have a whole lot of clients to work with, think about the type of people that would get the most out of your product or service. So ask yourself, who’ll get the most benefit from doing business with my company? Someone selling ergonomic table stands, for instance, can consider computer users to be one of their best customers.
2. List Their Notable Attributes
Once you’ve compiled a list of your best customers, write down all their important attributes.
For an ideal customer profile, the main attributes usually relate to:
Demographic attributes reveal the age, gender, race, ethnicity, and religion of your ideal customers. With this information at your disposal, it becomes easy to build products or services that they’d find useful.
For instance, a chic female clothing store should only market its products to young female audiences who have an interest in buying stylish apparel.
Psychographics offer a deeper understanding of your customers’ beliefs and values. They include things like:
- Activities: Netflix, exercise, baking, etc.
- Lifestyle: Extrovert, stay indoors, socialize thrice a week, etc.
- Values: No alcohol, moderate views, etc.
- Aspirations: Work-life balance, grow following on Instagram, etc.
- Pain points and fears: Low-quality product, hidden charges, etc.
The psychographic part of your customer profile helps you better create and market products that speak to the way people think, their pain points, and their emotional triggers.
Most ideal customer profiles also feature attributes related to education, income, neighborhood, and household size of ideal customers. You can even research what socioeconomic class your best customers fall into.
The main socio-economic classes are:
- Upper class
- Middle class
- Lower middle class
- Skilled worker class
- Unemployed class
Your chances of meeting your customers’ expectations should significantly improve when you have a clear picture of their socioeconomic attributes.
Do your customers live in a tax-free state? What’s the culture like in their town or city? Geographic segmentation helps you answer these and other location-specific questions about your customers.
This information can be particularly valuable if you sell items that are subject to differences in regional taxes, population, or climate.
A car company, for instance, would be able to use geographic segmentation to determine the type of vehicles they should produce in greater quantities. If most of their best customers reside in rural areas, it’d make sense for them to make cars with thick and heavy tires that allow customers to navigate bumpy roads with ease.
Firmographics (If It’s a B2B Customer Profile)
As we mentioned earlier, B2B customer profiles tend to include firmographics. This is where you write down the industry, size, geography, total employees, number of customers, and annual revenue of your B2B client. If you’re using a CRM tool to track the sales for your company, you should be able to source most of these firmographics with ease.
Crunchbase is also a goldmine for researching company-related data. The platform offers filters such as categories, number of employees, and total funding amount to help you gain insight into the firmographics of a particular company.
3. Survey Them
As you’re writing out the above attributes, you’ll realize you have more knowledge about some customers than about others. That’s where surveys can help fill the gaps. Tools like SurveyMonkey or Google Forms will definitely come in handy here. Below are some ideas for the type of questions to include in your survey:
You should keep in mind that these are very personal and sensitive questions. As a result, you have to pay special attention to the way you structure them. It’s also a good idea to give consumers multiple answers to choose from for some demographic questions. Below are a few examples you can replicate:
- What is your nationality?
- In what year were you born?
- From 1944 to 1964
- From 1965 to 1979
- From 1980 to 1994
- From 1995 onward
- What is your gender?
- Other (please specify)
- What is your relationship status?
These questions also ask for private information, so it’s best to use multiple-choice answers here as well. Below are a few examples to give you an idea of which questions to ask in order to gain socioeconomic data:
- What is your current employment status?
- Employed full-time
- Employed part-time
- What is your highest educational qualification?
- What is your household’s estimated gross annual income?
- $14,999 or less
- $15,000 to $34,999
- $35,000 to $49,999
- $50,000 to 74,999
- $75,000 to $99,999
- $100,000 or more
Since there are so many potential answers to these types of questions, you can ask open-ended questions like the ones below:
- What hobbies do you enjoy?
- What do you value most in life?
- What are the factors that you consider before purchasing a product or service?
These are generally easy-to-answer questions about the consumer’s geographical location, such as:
- In what region are you situated?
- How would you describe the weather in your area?
- Are you exempt from paying taxes in your region?
Again, the answers to these questions are not complex or sensitive, so you can use open-ended questions like the ones below:
- How many years has your company been in business?
- How many workers are currently employed by your company?
- What industry does your company specialize in?
- How many branches does your company have?
4. Fill in Your Customer Profile Template
Now that you’ve surveyed your top customers, covered all their attributes, and gained a complete overview of why they give you their business, compose your research into one single document – this will serve as your customer profile.
While you can create a customer profile document from scratch, it’s always easier to use a template. Here are some options to consider.
Research & Discovery offers a simple template that’ll cover most of your ideal customers’ attributes.
Though a barebones document, Minimalist.Business’ customer profile template lists all the important attributes.
Red Caffeine’s customer profile template is ideal for B2B companies because it covers most of the firmographics required for effective outreach and client nurturing.
Creately’s customer profile template is easy to fill. You can use the first 5 boxes for listing your ideal customer’s attributes, and the last one for sharing a verdict or opinion on the findings.
That’s it. You’ve learned everything you need to know about creating a customer profile.
Once you create one, make sure to share it with your business partners, employees, sales and marketing teams.
Doing so will give them a better idea about what kinds of strategies to adopt. They’ll also be able to use them to guide their buyer personas and create even better promotional campaigns.
Have you created a customer profile for your business? Drop an image of your ideal customer profile below!