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As the weather turns crisp, singles start looking to couple up — and business owners start seeing visions of sugar plum profits dancing in their heads. The holiday season is huge for both; it’s the busiest shopping season of the year, but also one of the busiest seasons for finding that special someone. What do these two things have in common? If you don’t know who you’re pursuing, you’re going to end up disappointed. That's where the ideal customer profile (ICP) comes in.
Most people, like most businesses, have a “type” — people with certain characteristics that they feel just click with them. Unlike most people, though, a lot of business owners don’t have a good idea of what their type actually is. And just like in dating, trying to sell products to people that aren’t a good match is a recipe for disaster.
Your ICP is a profile of your best customer. To find out who that is, questions you'll need to answer include:
As with dating, the more you know about who you’re interested in, the better the result. Being able to attract those who mirror you best, paying customers can make a dramatic difference in your bottom line — while ignoring them will leave you with a case of the holiday blues.
Here are five tips to get you started:
Much like someone keeping their options open, you likely have more than one ICP. If you’re an online toy retailer, your ICPs may include people who shop for toddlers and others who shop for tweens.
Based on what your customers have bought or looked at in the past, you can segment your email list into those buckets. This allows you to send targeted messaging to individual customer segments, such as sending promotions for stacking wooden blocks to those interested in toddler products and highlighting robotics kits for tween-focused shoppers.
Segmentation helps ensure that you send relevant promotions to your audiences (as tween-focused shoppers will have no use for stacking rings that are safe to chew).
If you want to meet someone who loves art, you’d start frequenting galleries. When you’re looking at your ICPs, you’ll want to figure out where they spend time online to “meet” them. This will help you choose not only where to serve ads, but also where to post digital content to engage with your customers and fans.
For example, if you want to engage more with dads on social media, you may want to spend less time on Pinterest, since that platform is more popular with women. Instead, you could shift your focus to Facebook, which has about an equal number of male and female users.
Similarly, if your ICP is between ages 18 and 24, you’d spend more time posting relevant videos on Snapchat and YouTube, two popular platforms with that demographic.
Just like a potential paramour who's athletic would be more interested in hiking dates than going out for drinks, different ICPs respond to different types of messages. If you’re targeting grandparents, the images in the ads you’d serve to them might include happy children hugging or playing with grandparent-type figures.
Meanwhile, messaging to parents may focus more on the safety or educational aspects of the products you sell. Tailoring your messaging ensures that what you’re saying resonates with your ICPs and gets them to take action.
As mentioned above, your ICPs help you focus your efforts. Instead of trying to be everything to everyone (which makes you as interesting as cardboard to both potential mates and customers), you can focus on the audience that's most likely to purchase from you.
For example, if one of the concerns of your ICP is environmentalism, build your messaging around how your products are made from sustainable materials. Focusing your marketing efforts towards your ideal customer profile makes more efficient use of your marketing and ad spend, and helps you target your efforts on the people who are most likely to buy.
Once you know your ICPs, you can use this information to find the most effective ways to reach them. You’ll better understand what keeps them up at night and can use that to create helpful content that answers their questions and educates them on how your products and services can make their lives better or easier.
To do this effectively, leverage our 2019 Seasonality Calendar template, to map out all the things you’ll need to consider for your upcoming holiday campaign, such as:
You can use this seasonality calendar to organize your marketing outreach before and during the holidays to keep your customers engaged, your brand top-of-mind, and yourself sane.
No matter what your ICPs are, you can use them to make this holiday season your most profitable. Segmentation, social media, messaging, focus, and seasonality calendars are just five ways to do this. You’ve likely done the first four, so grab your ICPs and create your seasonality calendar today to start hitting your holiday targets and keep the relationship burning all winter long.
Now that you know the importance of knowing your ideal customer profile, download our 2019 Holiday Seasonality Calendar to help you map out your upcoming holiday campaign.
Originally published on July 22nd, 2019, last updated on July 12th, 2022.