One of the fundamental elements of any good marketing strategy is a well defined target audience. Casting a wide net and attempting to attract any business that remotely matches your offering is by no means an effective strategy. Often companies hungry for growth pursue this strategy, however it is not sustainable.

Properly defining your ideal customer will help you deliver a clear message and attract the customers who value your offering. It will also guide your growth; ensuring you develop products and services that match customer needs; build a successful sales and marketing team; understand future operational requirement.

Defining your ideal customer is like pruning a tree, when you prune correctly, you encourage healthy growth. The kind of growth that sees both parties helping each other to meet their goals – a true partnership.

The journey toward finding your ideal customer involves 4 key steps:

Identify Your Best Customers – create a spreadsheet of all your customers from the past few years. Now focus on the customers you’ve done the most business with that period. Which are your most profitable ones? Make a list of these customers.

Identify Referrals – from your list of profitable customers, identify those customers who you know are referral sources. Usually only happy customers will act as referrals, and in most cases, customers are happy because you add value to their business.

Identify Patterns – now that you have a list of happy, profitable customers, use it to find patterns. What does this list of customers have in common? Why do they value your offering? Answering these questions will help you further refine your ideal customer list.

Create an Ideal Customer Profile – once you’ve whittled down the list to customers who are profitable and who value your offering, you are ready to create an ideal client profile.

At one time all your customers were prospects, by defining your ideal customer you are in fact identifying your ideal prospect. The kind of prospect you want to attract and convert into a paying client.

Share your ideal client profile with your team so they understand exactly what kind of client the business aims to attract. Share it with prospects so that they know exactly what you are looking for in a partner.