Understanding your customers and their pain points is the first step in being a successful business. While they may share similar struggles, every customer is singular. It is crucial to understand how each differs and how to address unique concerns without trying to please everyone thus, risking the dilution of your product. Several steps can be taken to categorize needs.
Know your customer
Think of your ideal customer, not your best customer. The joke that the best customer is one that pays is only funny for a moment. An ideal customer is what you should be focused on in business.
Define the personality for your customer
Create a name and personality for your customer, whom you should think of like a best friend. An avatar is the embodiment of an idea, such as when someone chooses an ideal self when playing a video game and they want to be a sprite or a demon hunter. Perhaps you designed an ideal customer avatar named Catherine, a nurse who treats herself to your organic foot rub after a long shift. She wants her beauty product to soothe her feet and make them soft. Go a bit deeper to understand her needs, wants, and aspirations.
Create a vision board
Sometimes it helps to imagine a conversation when strategizing marketing and formulations. Create a vision board for Catherine and give her a character sketch. Some may sit down and design a dating profile or social media profile for their avatar. Once you fully understand your ideal customer, you can become a greater influence and segment on a higher level. Finally, the time will come when you can strategically market to those who “must” have your product. A juicy burger would not tempt a vegan, just as an organic, hand-milled soap may not sway a warm lead who does not have a beauty budget.
Put on their shoes
As Depeche Mode once sang, “try walking in my shoes / you’ll stumble in my footsteps”. At some point in your life, you had a pronounced pain point that needed addressing. When you started your business, you may have read blogs, attended seminars, and asked questions to trusted mentors. You searched for a solution. Sometimes you received answers and sometimes the help you sought generated more questions or became a dead end. Consider which avenues were most helpful to you and try to emulate them for your customers. Look online for their complaints and use their problem language. Even if you do not have paying customers at the moment, you can put yourself in their shoes. Take Catherine: you can imagine the ache of her feet and how much she would like a product that addresses her pain point of physical discomfort.
Don’t be afraid to label
Once you have paying customers, you can start labeling them. Consider using occasional categories.
Choice means those that who readily afford your product and are thrilled to be brand ambassadors. They may share the same income level, career ambitions, or physical conditions.
Steady applies to customers who buy your product, perhaps not so easily, which may stem from lower income levels, different pain points, or simply share a limited time to shop.
Occasional customers may use your product as stocking stuffers or as a splurge once a month.
Analyze what all divisions share and how they contrast. Specifically address their needs, wants, and goals. With that information, decide which group would make the most sense to focus upon in the moment. Perhaps your best bet would be the steady customers who may not purchase big ticket items, but are a majority.
At this point, you should hopefully have a general idea of your ideal customer. Now figure out where they currently are in their lives. In other words, Catherine may want a foot cream that that smells like fresh cut roses rather than a medicinal aroma, a common request for her age group. Be in the ideal customer’s world and address their current pain points. Use their problem language. Once this happens with the power of your avatar and a keen awareness, you will speak their language enough for them to consider you one of their own.