They don’t teach how to define exactly who you want to target as your ideal customer.
As in WHO do YOU WANT to do business with?
Marketers seem hellbent on funneling as many people onto their lists as possible.
They want to target EVERYONE.
They want to sell to EVERYONE.
“Look mommy, I have a 70K list!”
… of useless freeloader tire kickers, or people who are not interested in what you have to say, let alone what you’re selling.
Here’s a tip:
You DON’T want to be all things to all people.
You DON’T want to target and market to everyone.
That’s not how to build a hyper-responsive email list.
Good funnel design paints a picture through your ideal target customers’ eyes.
It gives context based on their point-of-view (POV), biases, perspective, and worldview. Reread that sentence.
Doing this will completely transform your conversion rates.
It’ll ensure that the people you attract are the customers you WANT TO do business with.
And just as important as it is to know exactly who you want to attract as a customer, you also want a clear idea of who you DON’T WANT as a customer.
Reread that last bit. It’s important as hell.
Your list building gameplan needs to start by DEFINING WHO EXACTLY your ideal target customer is (and conversely, who they aren’t).
- What are their traits,
- their needs,
- their issues,
- their pain-points,
- their irrational fears,
- their aspirations,
Your approach to creating your sales funnel and lead capture process should be customer-centric.
With me so far?
This process of “customer insight” consists of two steps:
- STEP 1: Empathy Mapping
- STEP 2: Ideal Customer Avatar Creation
The end result of doing this will be a VERY CLEAR idea of WHO you are targeting (talking to) with your marketing.
Your marketing will be more consistent.
And it’ll be (way) easier to create ads and write sales copy and say things that your audience actually cares about.
You’ll be able to “connect” with your audience on a far deeper more emotional level.
CUSTOMER INSIGHTS STEP 1: Empathy Mapping
Watch this short video now (2m54s):
The exercise of empathy mapping (as described in the book Gamestorming) allows you to go beyond a customers’s demographic characteristics and develop a better understanding of environment, behavior, concerns, and aspirations.
If this is not making much sense (yet), hang in there. It’s really not hard to do. You’ll see…
Here is how to use the (customer) empathy map:
First brainstorm / come up with two audience segments.
- One is who you want to serve.
- The other is who you want to AVOID (filer out).
Start by giving these two customer segments a name and some demographic characteristics, such as income, marital status, and so forth.
If you know my stuff at all then this will already be familiar to you.
Using to the diagram (attached) build a profile of your two newly named audience segments by asking and answering the following six questions:
1. WHAT DOES SHE SEE?
Describe what the customer sees in her environment:
- What does it look like?
- Who surrounds her?
- What types of offers is SHE exposed to daily?
- What problems does she encounter?
2. WHAT DOES SHE HEAR?
Describe how the environment influence the customer:
- What do her friends say?
- Who really influences her, and how?
3. WHAT DOES SHE REALLY THINK AND FEEL?
Try to sketch out what goes on in your customer’s mind:
- What is really important to her (which she might not say publicly)?
- Imagine her emotions. What moves her?
- Try describe her dreams and aspirations.
4. WHAT DOES SHE SAY AND DO?
- What is her attitude?
- What could she be telling others?
- Pay particular attention to potential conflicts between what a customer might say and what she may truly think or feel.
5. WHAT IS HER PAIN?
- What are her biggest frustrations?
- What obstacles stand between her and what she wants or needs to achieve?
- Which risks might she fear taking?
6. WHAT DOES SHE GAIN?
- What does she truly want or need to achieve?
- How does she measure success?
- Think of some strategies she might use to achieve her goals?
If this all seems like a lot of work … well, you’d be right. It is.
No getting around it.
But honestly, this process is fun to do and it doesn’t need to consume hours and hours of your time.
If you do this process in a small group, it can take as little as 10-15 minutes.
But in my experience, expect the process to take up to an hour if you do it solo.
I found two short videos that demonstrate how to populate your empathy maps.
This first one is from a lady named Jeannel King (I have no idea who she is).
She does a pretty good job of explaining the empathy mapping process:
This next video is more thorough example of how to really dig into the empathy mapping process:
I’ve attached a blank empathy map to this email.
Print out two copies. One for each of your audience segments.
CUSTOMER INSIGHTS STEP 2: Ideal Customer Avatar
This next step I originally learned from Eben Pagan in his Altitude program back in 2007 (I think).
I’ve been using it ever since.
I’ve found the process game changing.
But since then I’ve “enhanced” what Eben originally taught.
The end result is a customer profile (avatar) that continually “evolves” over time.
Your two (2) avatars initially get created based on what you discovered with the empathy mapping process.
In the IM space I have two avatars based completely on real customer traits.
I’ve named them Frank & Matt.
Again, if you’ve been following my stuff for any length of time, you prob’ly would have seen Frank & Matt pop up in my marketing 🙂
Frank represents the customer segment that I want to AVOID. As in filter and weed out with my marketing.
Matt represents my ideal customer. I want to attract LOTS OF MATTS … thousands of ’em.
So I have two customer profile documents that make up the characteristics of my two avatars.
These two documents get “updated” all the time as I learn and discover new things.
Reread that again. This part is a game changer.
Let’s say I test two new story angles as a lead-in to a new affiliate promotion … and one completely bombs (the other generates 5x more sales).
I’ll then make a note of that in my avatar profile document:
- Offer details
- What I did
- What worked
- What didn’t work (and why)
It all goes in there. Everything.
My Frank profile doesn’t change much. It simply represents the type of customer that I DON’T want to attract.
But my Matt avatar changes a lot. Because it represents the customers that I’m actively trying to reach.
I have thousands of REAL CUSTOMER data points that I’ve gathered over the years based on real surveys and in-person or over the phone interviews.
This is a process.
It all takes time.
Your dossier for each customer avatar will prob’ly start off small and lightweight.
Perhaps just a few lines.
That’s OK. It’s normal.
The longer you operate within a niche market the more “insight” you’ll learn about the people you want to do business with.
… and conversely, the people who you want to filer out BEFORE they get to your list.
Recently I ran an experiment where I took my two avatars—Frank & Matt—and made them the focus of a sales process.
Because the experiment worked so well…
(and yes, results were noted down in my “Matt profile”, like the 49.15% conversion rate for a $49.95 recurring subscription)
… I’m now using Frank & Matt as characters throughout my marketing.
In fact Frank & Matt now even have their own website 🙂
(If you’re a member of TLB or UML then I’ll be explaining in more detail why I’m doing this.)
I hope this lesson makes sense to you and that you can see the value in doing it.
ACTION TASKS (aka: homework)
- Watch the three videos in this lesson.
- Print out the (attached) blank empathy map (twice).
- Create two empathy maps. One to represent your ideal customer. The other to represent who you want to avoid.
- Create two customer avatars like I’ve done with Frank & Matt.
BTW: Your two avatars don’t need their own websites. I’ve done that for another reason.
My good buddy Dave Tropeano created three avatars that represent three people in the IM space:
Use that, along with this example:
… to create your avatars.
Something that allows you to paste images and screenshots and stuff into it.
Andre “frank vs matt” Chaperon