How to define your ideal customer (target market).

How to define your ideal customer (target market).

Before starting a small business or considering branding visuals it’s important to develop an understanding of who your ideal customer is within a specific target market. Once established, then it’s time to start building your brand and marketing strategy around attracting these people.

”Aim small, miss small”

A great quote delivered by Mel Gibson in the movie The Patriot, and although a reference to shooting the principal is the same for targeting customers. If you aim at a broad target market and miss, you will have missed reaching any of your potential customers. But, if you aim at a smaller niche market and miss you have still reached some your potential customers.

Rather than considering a whole target market I want you to focus a single customer and create a customer profile (or buyer persona) for them.

Consider the below questions carefully.


  • What is their gender?
  • How old are they?
  • Are they married?
  • Have any children?
  • Have any pets?
  • Where do they live? work? play?
  • Have they studied?
  • Are they currently employed?
  • What is their occupation?
  • How much do they earn?


  • What type of personality do they have?
  • Where do they hang out?
  • What do they read or listen to?
  • What are their interests or hobbies?
  • What values do they have?
  • What motivates them?
  • How are they searching for information?
  • What are they searching for online?
  • What triggers them to make a purchase?

Challenges / Pain Points (aka. Problems)

  • What keeps them up at night?
  • What would they like to do but are unable to, or don’t know where to start?
  • Can ___ save them money?
  • Will ___ remove their stress?
  • Does ___ make their life easier, or give them back more time?

Buying Decisions

  • What is their role in the purchase process?
  • Do they have to consult with someone else?
  • How do they buy regularly?
  • What are their objections to purchasing?

When potential customers start researching a product or service there is always a reason why they ‘need’ it. They don’t just decide to buy for no reason. They make the decision because they have a pain point or problem that needs a solution.

At the end of the day remember that you are ultimately selling a solution – regardless of whether it’s a product or service. By understanding the customer and providing them with valuable information, you build a trusting relationship where you can nurture them through the sales process.

The best advice I can give you is to make the time, do the research and get very clear on who you are speaking to (and don’t be afraid that you will miss business by being too specific).