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5 Easy Steps to Define Your Ideal Customer Profile

by Nicolas Jacobeus, on 9 December 2020

Understanding and defining your ideal customer profile is an essential step in the marketing process for any business. After all, if you don’t know the characteristics of your target customer, how can you come up with a clear marketing strategy?

In defining your customer profile, you’ll be able to understand your customers wants and needs. It will help you to provide better support, anticipate problems with your software, and rise above your competition.

Ready to get to know your ideal customer? Let’s discuss some simple steps you can take to get started.

What is a customer profile?

First of all, we need to define “customer profile.” A customer profile is essentially a description of a “type” of customer. Your ideal customer profile (or ICP) should tell you the basics about the ideal users of your service. This can include a wide range of customer characteristics, including demographics like age, business objective, and geographical location, as well as more personal factors like interests, lifestyle, family, and so on.

5 steps to define your ideal customer profile

Here are five simple steps you can take to define your ideal customer profile so you can start building an effective marketing strategy.

1. Ask yourself what problem your business solves

You probably already know what problem your software can solve for consumers. Make sure you know exactly why your software can help people resolve a specific issue. Marketing usually focuses on defining what problem your business can solve, as this can help you to more easily define which consumers may be having this problem in the first place.

Asking yourself this question should always be the first step in defining an ICP. Once you know your answer, you’ll immediately get a general picture of the type of consumers that will be likely to benefit from (and purchase) your service.

The Royal Canadian Mint published a case study of this process in action: After creating a persona-based on research, they were able to fine-tune their marketing and add 140,000 new high-potential customers in one single campaign.

2. Research and identify your best customers

If your business is already up and running, use your most reliable returning customers as a blueprint. Do some research using website traffic, ad engagement, and sales statistics and analyze demographics. Look for patterns.

For instance, are all of your best customers over the age of 50? This may be a sign that your marketing should focus on this age group. Or maybe your customers tend to be located in Europe.

Understanding your current customer demographics will help you to reassess your initial instinct about your ICP. In some cases, the statistics may surprise you, and you may end up with a very different ICP than you originally anticipated.

3. Analyze customer feedback—both good and bad

Data is a crucial aspect of building an ideal customer profile, but it shouldn’t be the only thing you rely on. Try to get a sense of your customers on a more personal level, too. If you can, arrange phone calls or in-person meetings with your best customers to discover why they love your service. This person-to-person interaction will help you uncover things about your ICP that data might not have been able to show.

4. Define important customer characteristics

After your research and analysis, collate your findings. Now is the time to put pen to paper, figuratively speaking, and create a written customer profile. Every company will have a slightly different list of traits, but every basic ICP should include information about:

  • Geographical location
  • Age range
  • Company size
  • Budget for software, or annual revenue
  • Location

A good ICP will also answer more nuanced, contextual questions about the ideal company. In this case study from the Harvard Business School, you can see the importance of using a complex segmentation method that incorporates data based on attitudes and behavioral patterns, such as:

  • What are the company’s biggest challenges?
  • What technology do they currently use?
  • How experienced is the company?
  • What are their pain points?
  • What are their short-term and long-term goals?
  • What are their brand values?

You might even consider including more personal traits, especially if there’s a pattern in your current customer base, like:

  • Employee gender
  • Lifestyle
  • Hobbies
  • Family life

You can also consider negative traits, or the traits of customers who have proven to be the wrong fit for your software. This will help you avoid spending money on marketing that actively targets poor prospects.

5. Use your ICP to optimize your brand and your marketing strategy

Once you’ve developed a clear picture of your ideal customer profile, you can use it in your marketing campaigns to specifically target the right companies for you.

How Belighted can help

Belighted specializes in helping entrepreneurs build a SaaS company from the ground up. Using our proven four-step process, we can guide you through the early planning stages to the final steps of the product launch. We can even help out with post-release product management.

Interested in learning how to get started on your SaaS journey with Belighted? Sign up for our day-long strategy workshop, where you’ll get input and insight from our expert team. It’s the perfect way to find out if Belighted is right for you—and get so much more than a simple quote.

Topics:      SaaS development

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