Mrs. Jolly was a beautiful African-American woman with short jet-black hair, bright red lips, pretty eyes, and a smile that lit up the room. Her name described her perfectly, always happy and so beautiful. She was also my 1st-grade teacher and constantly scolding me for daydreaming. I definitely wasn’t one of her favorite students. I remember she even called in my parents to discuss how I was daydreaming instead of doing class work.

But all that practice with make-believe has helped me be a better marketer, blogger, and copywriter.

You see, it takes a little bit of imagination and make-believe to define your target audience and then put yourself in their shoes.

When I ask business owners who their target audience is, 99.999% of the time I get either an eye-roll, a deep sigh, or the answer, “a wide variety of people”. As business owners, we hate that question and most of us make the mistake of not answering it or putting it off for way too long.

What if I told you that it’s not as hard as you think to answer that question? And with the right perspective, the process can actually be a fun and enjoyable exercise for you and your team (if you have a team).

Honestly, as stuffy as the topic of defining your target audience seems, the best and most effective answer will come after you relax and recall how to be a child again.

So, let’s kick our feet up and play a little game of Make-Believe, shall we?

DEFINING YOUR IDEAL REPRESENTATIVE CUSTOMER (i.e. Target Audience)

I’m serious when I say it’s time to have a little fun. Give yourself permission to unlock your creative imagination and I promise, the rewards for your business will blow you away. It brings clarity to your direction and communications. You’ll start attracting the right people – people who resonate with your message. Instead of boring, basic copy or marketing, you’ll be able to get creative and targeted in everything you do with your business. When you plan to advertise, you’ll know exactly where to spend your dollars, because you’ll know where your Ideal Representative Client (IRC) is hanging out.

First of all, kick off your shoes and put on your favorite music. Relax. Give yourself permission to have some fun!

  • Find colorful markers
  • Get a big blank piece of paper (the bigger, the better)
  • Be prepared to write down every idea that comes to mind

Next, in regards to your business, think of some of the best clients you’ve had. Do they represent the kind of clientele you want?

If not, think of the type of person that you’d like to do business with. Maybe it’s you.

  • Write down everything you know about them. (If you really want to do this exercise well, request a free client interview sheet and call those clients and ask them these questions.)
  • Pull out the similarities.
  • Imagine in your mind what type of person they are.
  • Write down basic info about them – about who they are at home.
  • Then create two columns and label them: WISHES and WOES
target audience worksheet
An example of defining your target audience (Ideal Representative Customer)

Under “Wishes” and “Woes”, think about the things this person dreams about and what keeps them up at night. Really spend good time here. Try to imagine what they may be going through in their life based on the answers to the general questions about their life. A single man has different wishes and woes than a married woman with five kids.

Answer these questions with your business in mind AND without it.

Note: the more time you spend in this exercise, the more likely you’ll start generating really good marketing ideas!! (Bring someone in to do this with you).

PUT YOURSELF IN THEIR SHOES

Now that you’re starting to think of a person, imagine yourself living in their shoes. Step outside of your business and look back at your business from their perspective. If you have storefront, website, a flyer stuck to a billboard, etc…what do they see? How does it make them feel? What words or message can you give that will resonate with them so that they’ll want your product or service?

  1. When you can identify with a specific person and talk to them directly your message becomes clear and stands out.
  2. Design your website, branding, and copy as if you are talking to that one specific person.
  3. Your clear message will attract not only with a specific group of people, but you’ll draw others who are not defined in the same way but still resonate with that message.
  4. You may need to adjust your Ideal Representative Customer over time – and that’s okay!
  5. Give your IRC a name…and anytime you make a decision regarding your business ask yourself, “What would _______ do or want?”

The biggest key is to be able to view your business from the perspective of someone who doesn’t know what you know.

That can be tough, so it’s best to bring in other people to do this with you – or call your customers and ask them questions of why they used your product or service, what drew them to you, and most of all…how would they find you if they didn’t know about you.

The more you allow yourself to play make-believe, the better you’ll get at attracting and communicating to the right audience. An audience that will be happy to give you their business!!


Need help going through the process of identifying your
Ideal Representative Customer? I offer mentoring services
by the hour. Contact me here for a quote.