How to Define your Ideal Customer: Part One
Defining your ideal customer can transform your homestead business and supply you with a steady stream of happy customers!
Whether you provide a homestead service, have an agritourism operation, manage a market farm, or operate a small handmade business, we all have one thing in common: customers. Like it or not, our business success relies on our customers. The reality of operating any business is that we need our customers – not the other way around!
In a crowded market, it can be hard to make your business stand out. It can seem even harder to develop a fan-base of customers who love your product enough to come back time and time again. Understanding who your ideal customer is and what they want is a big key to making your business successful!
What is an “Ideal Customer”?
When we first start our businesses, we are often pretty desperate for sales! It’s tempting to believe that our ideal customer is anyone and everyone who is willing to buy our product or service. This method may work for a while, but there’s a much better way to make sales! Imagine this: instead of trying to make everyone like your product, you instead focus on making sure that your product makes a select group of people wildly happy. They don’t just like your product, they love it – everything about it: from the packaging to the customer service they receive. In fact, they love it so much that they become repeat customers and tell all their friends about it as well!
Why do they love your product so much? Because the product was created with them in mind! It meets their needs and is the solution to their problem. Maybe it even solves a problem that they didn’t realize they had until the solution was sitting in front of them!
This is your ideal customer!
Knowing who your ideal customer is will change the way you run your homestead business! It will affect every detail, from marketing to packaging. It can even help you know when, where and how to sell your product or service! With an ideal customer, you will be able to focus your time, energy and talents on customers who truly love and appreciate your work, rather than trying to cater to everyone!
Why having an ideal customer is better than trying to appeal to everyone:
At this point, you may be thinking “isn’t it better to appeal to as wide of range of people as possible? Doesn’t that allow me to have the largest amount of customers? Will I miss out on sales if I appeal to just one group of people?”
It may seem beneficial to appeal to many different types of customers, but it can actually be quite detrimental to both your business and your customer’s happiness. Here’s why: Every customer is different. Everyone has different needs. If you try to meet all those needs, you are either going to end up with a very generic product/service that is not specialized to meet your customers’ needs, or you will have so many products/services that you and your customers become overwhelmed. Trying to meet everyone’s needs can stretch you too thin and cause the quality of your product to suffer. It can also lead to becoming overwhelmed and burnt out. Passion can dull quickly when you try to please everyone and receive little recognition in return!
But, if you focus on identifying and understanding your ideal customer, you can produce exactly the items and services that solve their particular problems. You will find that it is much more rewarding and that it allows you to create stronger relationships with your customers. Best of all, this type of service to your customer creates loyal followers who love your product and can’t wait to share it with others!
Even if you think that your ideal customer doesn’t exist or that there aren’t enough of them, I assure you that they do exist and that they will flock to your product if it solves their problem! Have you heard the expression “if you build it, they will come”? The same is true for your homestead business, which is why it is important to create your products and operate your business with your ideal customer in mind!
Here’s an example:
At the farmer’s market, there are two produce stalls. Jim runs one and Jenny runs the other one. Jim’s booth has a basic white tablecloth with a variety of very nice produce and herbs arranged on it. Behind the table, Jim has a large sign with his farm name printed on it in big, bold print.
Jenny’s booth has a bright yellow and teal tablecloth. She has a sign with her farm name name on it, written in a fun script font and bright colors. On the table, she has pamphlets with recipes for healthy 20-minute meals that can be made with seasonal produce. In addition to selling individual produce, she also offers “meal packs”. The meal packs includes a recipe and all the veggies and seasonings needed to make a healthy, plant-based meal.
Both Jim and Jenny sell the same produce at the same market on the same days. The difference is that Jim is unsure who his ideal customer is, so he instead tries to appeal to everyone. Because of this, his stand actually ends up appealing to fewer people. Jenny, on the other hand, knows that her ideal customer is a woman who wants healthy food options for her family even though she is short on time.
Jenny’s whole business is based on helping her ideal customer. Even the font used on Jenny’s sign appeals to her ideal customer! She makes her produce stand out above the crowd be creating a one-stop shopping experience. Jenny’s happy customers can’t wait to tell their friends about the dinner they made with the produce. And her customers return because of the convenience the meal packs provide! Jenny took the time to discover who her ideal customer is and present her produce in a way that solves their problem.
So, who is your ideal customer? Next week, we will talk about how to define your ideal customer and how it can completely transform your business! Click here to view Part Two!