Understanding your ideal customer.
Starting a hypnotherapy practice might seem like a daunting prospect. You’ve decided to take your desire to help people with their issues and problems and make a business of it, and up until now you’ve worked with people you know, friends, friends of friends, family, co-workers and so on.
As a business your first step is identifying your customers, so you can reach out to them without wasting your energy, time and money in promoting services to people who aren’t interested. By taking the time to understand and identify the customers that will be the best match for your business, you can ensure that your marketing and advertising efforts offer the greatest return on investment. A tried and tested way of understanding your ideal customer is to take the time to develop customer avatars, also known as buyer personas. Creating buyer personas not only helps you clearly define the customers you want to attract, but also helps you understand, in detail, the nature of your own business. Creating a buyer persona is, to a certain extent, an act of imagination – no real people will exactly fit the personas, but the process requires you to ask searching questions that will reveal the gaps in your understanding of your target market, and will reveal a way to bridge them. Think about the general qualities of the people who have responded best to your help so far, are they male or female? How old are they? What were the issues they were seeking to overcome that caused them to engage with you? To start creating a customer avatar, you need a start point – so begin with a man or a woman in a feasible age range. Then pretend to be them and ask yourself the following questions:
- What do you do for a living? (e.g – office administrator, housewife/husband, CEO)
- Where do you live?
- What is your situation (family/job/pets)? (e.g. Kids left home, homeowner, no pets)
- What are your hobbies and interests? (e.g. reading romantic novels, sea kayaking, comedy films)
- What are your goals? (I want to have a tidy garden, I want to buy a Range Rover, go to Florida on my holidays).
- What are your values? (e.g. I voted Leave, I support animal charities, I go to church)
- What media do you consume? (Books/magazines/blogs/websites/conferences/local papers)?
- What are the things that are challenging you in life at this moment, which you would like resolving?(I want to stop smoking, be less nervous in exams, fly without fear etc.)
This isn’t an exhaustive list, you can think of more questions that will help build up a really detailed ‘back story’ for your ideal customer, use your imagination and go for it! This process helps you understand who it is you want to market your services to and once completed, your customer avatars will be instrumental in defining the channel, content and frequency of your marketing activity.
You’ll need more than one buyer persona! This is an exercise in thinking about your business as much as it is thinking about your ideal customer. You’ll find that once you have got the hang of it, you’ll be able to easily write additional personas, developing your target market and better understanding your own ambitions for your business in the process.