4 Proven Methods To Get Into The Heart Of Your Ideal Customer—Without Getting Stuck In Your Head
“All my business coaches are making me do this ideal customer avatar exercise, and I hate it."
Do you get stuck trying to figure out questions like, What’s their annual income? What TV shows do they watch? and the best one yet, Do they have a dog?
Don't despair, you are not alone.
100% of my conscious entrepreneur clients resent this ideal customer avatar (ICA) exercise, complaining that it gets them stuck in their head and out of the flow.
But knowing your market lies at the basis of your business and marketing plan.
You need to know who you’re talking to and how your offering makes their lives better so you can communicate it loud and clear.
If your messaging does not directly speak to your dream client, you’ll miss the emotional mark.
Because if you’re trying to speak to everyone, you speak to NO ONE.
So what can you do to overcome analysis paralysis and move forward with your business?
From experience, I found FOUR ways to understanding your market.
Two are very practical, the other two more intuitive. They all work.
Here are all my four methods and how you can apply them to figure out your ICA. Check them out and decide which one works best for your personality and style.
1. The Talk-To-Me-Boy Method
In this approach, you talk with AT LEAST ONE real-life person who desperately needs what you have to offer.
Interview that one special person (or even better, 3, 5, or 20 of the people you want to help).
You can either talk on the phone with a (past) client, interview a friend who is struggling, or survey your audience online.
Remember that this is taking some of their valuable time, so make sure you offer them kindness in return. Take a client out for lunch, or invite your friend over for coffee. For surveys, create an incentive for people to fill it in. A coupon code on your latest product or a chance to win a free session with you will work.
When interviewing, ask them the following questions:
What’s your biggest struggle (as it relates to your offering)?
How does that make you feel?
How does this problem or situation affect other areas of your life?
If you don’t deal with this now, how will things get worse? A year from now? Ten years?
If you could wave a magic wand and solve this problem forever, how would your situation be different?
How would that make you feel?
How would solving this problem improve every other area of your life?
What do you most long for (as it relates to your offering)?
What is solving this problem worth to you?
Anything else you’d like to add?
Make sure you record their answers, either with your phone or by taking notes. (Google Forms also allow you to track your survey results in a separate Sheet.)
The more specific they are, the better.
Don’t stop until you are crystal-clear on what they want and how you help them get it.
Next up, the proven method for introverts who want to avoid human interaction.
2. The Copy-Stalker Method
If you’re an introvert who hates talking to real-life people and prefers to hide behind their screens, this one’s for you.
You don’t have to interview anyone. All you need to do is stalk people online. Literally.
Go to forums like Reddit and Quora, join a bunch of Facebook groups, or browse hashtags on Instagram. People are very open to sharing about their (inner) lives online.
You’re looking for words and phrases they use to describe their daily lives and problems as they relate to your offering.
Here’s an example. Let’s say you’re a tantra teacher, and you’re looking to find out what your market is struggling with as it relates to tantra and conscious sexuality.
Read the stories, comments, and questions people post online.
What’s the problem? What do they desire? What do their posts and stories have in common? Is there a red thread? What can you learn from this?
Copy and paste these recurring complaints/issues/desires in a Word document and save them as a file on your computer.
These are all words and phrases you can later use to speak to their problem and offer your dream solution.
These two approaches were a little more analytic and left-brain oriented. Next up, I’ll show you my two proven right-brain, heart-centered methods that work equally well.
3. The I-Heart-My-Intuition Method
Are you highly intuitive, love visualization meditations, and good at emphasizing with others? Then this one’s for you.
My co-author Ingunn and I once played with this method when exploring our ideal reader for our book project. This woman became so alive it felt like she was a real person.
Works like a charm.
I guided him into a meditation where he’d visualize his dream client.
She became so alive in his mind, he could ask her any question, and the answer would miraculously arise from within.
Even though this woman was made up, she became so real that he felt great love, compassion, and care for her struggles. This process inspired him so much that new ideas for content and offerings just kept pouring out of him.
This method works best if you have someone who can guide you into a meditative space and then read the questions from method number one for you.
Ask a friend to help you or record the questions and listen back to them if you’re doing it on your own.
The goal is to get quiet, tune in, and ask Spirit to show you your ideal client.
Wait for what comes. Once they become tangible in your mind’s eye, engage them in a conversation.
Ask questions just like you would ask a friend or real-life client in method one.
Record yourself as you’re repeating their answers out loud.
Once you feel done, thank them and return to normal waking consciousness.
Remember, you can return to your inner ideal client whenever you like, they’re always available to you through your heart.
All you need to do is tune in and ask.
Next up, an even more intimate approach. Just you, yourself, and YOU.
4. The I-Am-My-Own-Best-Client Method
When I was fretting over my dream client, my spirit guides told me loud and clear, “Nadja, stop obsessing. YOU are your ideal client. This person you’re trying to help, they’re not someone outside of you. It is you.”
Five years ago, I was a spiritual life-and relationship coach struggling to overcome my resistance towards marketing. What I would have needed to hear the most back then is what I am going on about now.
Don’t vibe with any of the above methods?
Use your past self as your ideal client. IMO, this one is the easiest method, because you know yourself best. You feel yourself inside out, and nobody understands you better than you do.
What were you struggling with five years ago that you now help others overcome?
What have you overcome that qualifies you to do the work you do today?
What do you want to say to your younger self?
Take out your journal. In a stream of consciousness style, jot down all the answers your younger self has to the questions from method one.
Let them wallow, rant, and dream. You just note everything down.
Now that you know what life looks like on the other side, it’s easy to paint the picture of an ideal future. You’re living it!
Remember to have fun with this, and don’t overthink it! When you're done, you should have pages of material that you can draw upon when writing copy for your ideal customer.
Struggling with putting all your research into copy that converts?
It pays to hire a PRO rather sooner than later. Save time, save money, and save your sanity by bringing your data and research to me. It helps me do my best work for you, making you stand out and shine online.
Now you. Which method worked best for you? Write me at email@example.com and let me know about your results!