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10 Fun Ways to Find Your Ideal Customer

woman wearing eyeglasses - ways to find your ideal customer

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You know that you have to find your ideal customer, but this often fells like you’re searching for a needle in a haystack. I get it.  I’ve spent dozens of hours with sticky notes and filling out buyer persona templates doing all kinds of research. 

68% of all customers now expect to have a personal experience! That’s great information to know. Actually, it’s obvious. That’s not the challenge. The real challenge is figuring out WHERE to invest your resources in creating that experience.

You and I both know that it’s not the splashy stuff that has a choose a business to work with, often, it’s the smallest things. And, you’re not going to find the “small things” by just doing research online or doing surveys.

There just had to be a better way – a more fun and engaging way to get closer to my ideal customer, really walk in their shoes and feel their feels. 

That’s what had me sit down and come up with 10 fun and engaging ways to research your ideal customer in a more tactile and experiential way.  

Get Your Hands Dirty With the Data

woman showing her hands with black paint - find your ideal customer
Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

Look, there are no shortcuts to anything that you want to do well.  The experts make it look easy, but what you don’t see is all the behind the scenes work and effort. 

I’m a huge fan of automation, but when it comes to anything related to customers and sales and connecting with customers in an engaging way – you gotta get your hands dirty with the data.  That means doing things MANUALLY – no importing, no shortcuts.

You see, doing things manually, the long way slows everything down and that gives your brain the ability to think and ponder. That’s exactly what you want.  It eliminates the “garbage in, garbage out” phenomenon. 

10 Ways to Find Your Ideal Customer

There are hundreds, maybe thousands of ways to find your ideal customer. The problem with all of this is that they are — how should I say — BORING. I mean stick a fork in your eye boring and overwhelming.

You need fun ways to find your ideal customer. You need ways to find your ideal customer that are experiential enough that you can internalize them and organically use them at will in your marketing.

So, with that said, Ready to make the search a whole lot easier (and more fun)? Let’s jump in!

1. Ideal Customer Day-in-the-Life Video Diary

Imagine a day in the life of your ideal customer from morning till night. Use your phone to record a video diary describing their day, focusing on their challenges, needs, and the moments they might interact with your product or service. This exercise helps you step into their shoes in a dynamic, visual way.

To do this exercise means that you’ll have to embed yourself in their world.  Instead of “take your kid to work” ask one of your favorite customers if you can tag along or spend the day with them.  Here’s the fun part – you are NOT ALLOWED to interact, ask questions or anything, just be a fly on the wall, take pictures, etc.  

Once your day is over – go home and create a video of their day.  Use any one of the available video editing tools.  This will be a super-two-fer.  You’ll get some practice creating videos AND you’ll 

Here’s the fun part – go BACK to your customer, show them your storyboard and then have a conversation about it – ask questions, ask what was happening for them, oh, and don’t forget to ask if you perceived it correctly.  Ask what was missing, what would make their day easier. 

2. “Through Their Eyes” Photo Challenge

Spend a day taking photos of things your ideal customer might see in their daily life. This could include places they go, products they use, or people they interact with. Review the photos to gain insights into their environment, preferences, and lifestyle.

This is a variation of the day in the life.  What makes this different is that this isn’t a work thing.  This is more of a personal thing.  These days our work life and personal life are entwined, so it makes sense to see what’s happening in the background. 

You can also do this without your customer.  Do this on your own and then share it with one or more of your favorite customers.  See what you got right, what you got wrong, etc. 

3. Customer Pain Point Poetry

red roses on book - ways to find your ideal customer
Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Write a poem from the perspective of your ideal customer, focusing on their pain points, dreams, and aspirations. This creative exercise encourages empathy and a deeper emotional understanding of your customer’s experiences and how your business can address them.

I’m not a poet by any means, but this can be a really powerful verbal exercise.  You can write any type of poem you like – try Haiku or be like Dr. Seuss. 

I don’t need to tell you but you can use ChatGPT to help you get this done.  Just remember to get started you’ll need material – you’ll need to have a list of points, pains, desired outcomes, etc. that your customer would have. 

4. “If They Were…” Game

Fill in the blanks with attributes relating to your ideal customer: If they were a car, they would be ___. If they were a book, they would be ___. If they were a city, they would be ___. This helps you think abstractly about their characteristics, values, and style.

You can do this with just words, or you can take on the rockstar challenge and actually find pictures and images and create a poster board. 

5. DIY Customer Testimonial

Write a fictional testimonial from your ideal customer explaining how your product or service transformed their life. This activity forces you to focus on the benefits and outcomes that are most valuable to your target audience. 

You can take this up a notch by creating testimonials from customers you’d LOVE to have but currently don’t.  

6. The Ideal Customer Playlist

Create a music playlist that your ideal customer would listen to. This can be based on their demographic, psychographics, or a specific scenario where they might use your product or service. Music can provide deep insights into a person’s mood, preferences, and cultural leanings.

You can use this playlist as part of your motivation.  Play it in the morning, play it during your workout or meditation. 

7. “Walk a Mile” Immersion Task

Spend a day or an activity immersing yourself in something that your ideal customer loves or does regularly. This could be attending a fitness class, trying out a new hobby, or visiting a location. 

Reflect on the experience and how it relates to your product or service.

8. Ideal Customer Vision Board

Create a vision board (using physical cut-outs or a digital tool like Pinterest) that represents your ideal customer’s aspirations, dreams, and what they value most. This visual collage can help clarify who you are targeting and why they need your offering.

I’ve done a variation of this exercise by creating a magazine cover for my ideal customer. I went to a bookstore and stood in front of the magazine rack.  Then I selected magazines that my ideal customer would read – on any topic.

Then I went through the magazines and cut out images, headlines, words, etc. and pasted them on a poster board.  This was a terrific way to craft messaging and really understand what was important to my ideal customer. 

9. Role-play Interviews

Role-play an interview with your ideal customer, either by yourself or with a friend acting as the customer. Prepare questions to uncover their needs, frustrations, and lifestyle. This role-play can reveal new insights and solidify your understanding of your customer’s perspective.

10. Design Their Workspace

Using drawing or digital design tools, create a visualization of your ideal customer’s workspace or home space. Include items, decorations, and tools they use daily. This exercise helps you appreciate the physical environment and personal tastes of your target audience.

One way to take this to a higher level is to imagine your ideal customer’s desk.  What’s on their desk? What are they working on? What’s causing them frustration, etc.  This is a terrific way to create messaging that will have them say “You get me!”

Mission Accomplished: Your Ideal Customer Awaits

And there you have it—10 creative missions to help you uncover the goldmine that is your ideal customer. Remember, understanding your audience isn’t just a box to tick; it’s the cornerstone of your business strategy, shaping everything from your marketing messages to your product development.

As you wrap up these activities, you’re not just walking away with a clearer picture of who you’re talking to. You’re stepping into a new phase of your business, one where your marketing feels like a conversation, not a shout into the void. Your products and services? They’ll start feeling like they were custom-made for your audience. And that’s because, in a way, they were.

So, what’s the next step? Take these insights, these nuggets of gold you’ve unearthed, and let them guide your decisions. Keep the conversation with your ideal customer going—listen to them, learn from them, and let them know they’re heard. That’s how you turn a one-time buyer into a lifelong fan.

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