ICPMany business owners enter the marketplace chasing leads without their ideal customer in mind. Their goal is to connect with every customer and not just their best customers. With high enthusiasm, these owners pursue new leads by sharing their business story and product with everyone.

While enthusiasm is not a bad thing, this method of lead generation involves a lot of guess work that can take up time and resources that most business owners don’t have. We understand that it’s easy to get caught up in this share-everything-with-anyone-who-will-listen tactic, but there are better ways to strategize connecting with the best leads for your company, like developing an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP).

Developing an Ideal Customer Profile can potentially boost your business and help you:

  •          Identify your best and worst customers
  •          Simplify your lead generation process by pursuing leads that match your ideal customer profile
  •          Refine marketing strategies and distribution channels for your ideal customers
  •          Develop new products that appeal to your ideal customer
  •          Focus on sharing your story and products with your best customers and people like them

Sounds great, but what exactly is an Ideal Customer Profile? 

In short, it’s a description of the best customers for your business; those who will find the most value from your products, bring the most revenue to your business, and are likely to continue to work with you in future. This description is generated by analyzing the demographic, geographic, behavioral, and psychographic characteristics of your best or ideal customers. When you identify your ideal customer, you create a relatable picture of the kind of customers that you want to be doing business with.

So, how do I create an ICP?

It’s simple and free, but it does take time and strategy: Start by describing your best customers. If you’re thinking specifics, like 18-25 year olds with college degrees who love dogs and chocolate, you’re on the right track, but there’s more. Grab a pen and paper or open up your word processing software and answer the following questions to identify your ideal customer:

  •        What are my ideal customers demographics – their age, gender, income, etc.?
  •        What are their psychographics – personality type, preferences?
  •        What is their geographic location?
  •        Where do they shop and when do they shop?
  •        What do they shop for other than your product or service?
  •        Where and when do they access their media (cellphone, laptop; home, work, evenings)?
  •        What are their problems or needs?
  •        Why do they need your product?
  •        Why do they continue to do business with your company?
  •        What do they like to do in their free time?
  •        What are their goals in life?
  •        What’s important to them?

What about B2B ICPs? Consider these questions:

  •          What’s their industry vertical?
  •          How much is their annual revenue?
  •          How many employees do they have?
  •          Where would you find their headquarters?
  •          Who is the decision maker and what’s the best way to reach them?
  •          What product solutions are they using that aren’t yours?
  •          What products of yours are they using?
  •          Are they open to cooperation and new products?

Be honest and imaginative when answering these questions. Really think about the customers you’re having the most success with and who you’re failing. If the information is available, dig deeper and analyze your sales statistics. This will be a great way discover who you think your ideal customer is and who they actually are.

What’s next?

Once you have pinpointed your ideal customer, get out there and engage with them. Cater all your marketing messages towards them and speak their language. Weed out your least profitable customers and focus on building relationships with your best customers. Don’t focus on every lead; instead, use your ICP to pursue the ideal lead. Your Ideal Customer Profile can help you streamline your lead generation process and customer retention practices.

Whether you’re just starting your business or looking to expand, defining who your ideal customers are is one of the easiest methods to help you strategize how to connect with the best customers for your company.

 Photo Credit: Steve Depolo, Flickr