Being an online entrepreneur and experiencing the reward of selling an excellent product is like no other feeling in the world. Especially when the profits and positive feedback start rolling in. But what if I told you that you need to take things to the next level? What if I challenged you to shift your thinking from product to people?  I dare say that could revolutionize your approach on how to get customers.

Consider this concept for a moment. I was asked by a listener of this podcast, “How does a product help the buyer become the hero in his or her own story?” First of all, this blew my mind for a few, because I had never thought of product sales in this manner. In my former reality, I assumed that a customer browsed my products and then selected the one that appealed to him the most based on quality, price, and availability. That was it. Simple enough, right? Wrong.

New Customer Reality

In the new reality that my brain just discovered, buyers go through a process that is so much more complex. They choose to buy our products because the product they are searching for completes a big need in their life, solves a problem, or fulfills them on an emotional level. They seek out a brand that resonates with them, and therefore, the focus needs to be not in quantity of customers, but in the quality of customers.

Unfortunately, an increasing amount of online marketers are finding it challenging to locate their target audiences and customers online.

The good news is we can have the power to influence the kinds of customers that are perfect for our brand. Pretty amazing to think about, and it’s one of the reasons that some online sellers create six, seven, even eight figure businesses.

The workshop

But before I dive into how all of this works, I recently invited a group of people into my home for an exclusive workshop facilitated by none other than Max Kerwick, creator of “8-Figure Exits” and my co-host at the Brand Builders podcast. During the workshop, Matt was tasked with identifying the ideal person and how to speak to that person. The idea is that if you know who this person is, it makes it a lot easier to sell to this person, communicate with them, convert them from a casual browser to a buyer, and create a customer for life. From a business standpoint, this increases the odds that you can build a scalable Amazon business that can beat out the competition.

What you will be hearing next will be excerpts and gems of information taken from this workshop, along with some of my own thoughts thrown in. Grab your favorite beverage and a notepad, reduce any distractions, and learn the fine art of how to get the perfect customers.

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We, as online entrepreneurs, are selling to people who are attracted to our brand. There is an entire world of buyers out there who match our ideal customer, so we don't want to scare them off. To accomplish this, we need to develop a brand that speaks to our ideal customer.

Jeff Charles, Founder of Artisan Owl Media, shared with Small Business Trends, “Sales is about helping other people get what they want. It’s about making a positive impact on the lives of others.”

When we are building brands, we are talking about building a brand for a singular person -- an avatar of the ideal customer. This could be a soccer mom with 3 kids. She’s busy and doesn’t have a lot of time to shop. She drives a minivan. Most of the time, she has to be the hero for her family. So she shops on Amazon for the needs she has. She is willing to pay more for the convenience of having things sent right to her home so she isn’t spending all her time in Walmart. The biggest thing she worries about is if her kids go without.

Who is your ideal customer?

Max shared that there is a formula for figuring this out. Starting with the core of your customers, who are your most ideal, regular shoppers you can begin to create avatars of your brand-specific customers.

  1. Draw a small circle in the center of a piece of paper and label it CORE. Write out the qualities of your exact perfect customer. If you don’t know this yet, just move to the next task.
  2. Draw a larger circle around your CORE circle and label this your next level - the people who click through to your products but don’t always buy.
  3. Draw yet another bigger circle around them both. These are the people in your sales funnel who have not purchased anything, but could become perfect customers for your brand.

Max says we build brands around the people who are most predictive of our long-term success as online sellers. This is a lot different than selling to the customers on the outer rings. But keep in mind, all of these people have stories to tell. While they care about different things and they all have different lifestyles and needs, they can have similar factors that can be built around. Like interests, goals, or motivations that bring people together.

Building around these commonalities of where people are and where they want to be is a solid place to begin crafting your brand.

Expanding on an avatar

In the above avatar of the soccer mom, there were some limitations. The seller failed to notice that the kids have a story to tell too. They are a bunch of middle-schoolers. Most love to eat pizza and drink Gatorade. You'll see them wearing the latest athletic shoes, because their parents can afford brand names. When they are not playing soccer, they are engaged in video games or hanging with their friends at the movies. They are not interested in girls, yet, but they are starting to grow up and their bodies embarrass them.

Then there’s dad. He works as an attorney for a prominent law firm in the city. For work, he also travels a lot to conferences. Because he is busy, he seldom shops for himself and his wife handles this most of the time. He loves technology and politics. His life slows down a little when he is at home or when he takes the family on vacations, but most of the time it’s the fastlane for him. The biggest concern that dad has is that he doesn’t feel connected enough to his family, especially his kids.

These are the outer layers of the ideal customer base. The needs that each of these layers or avatars have are uniquely different from a product aspect, but they are all telling a similar story. This is a family that is busy and needs to find the products that will make their life easier online -- specifically in your Amazon store.

This is a big reason why advertising leaders like Facebook lead people towards lifestyle needs and wants. They know that this approach works better than just building a business based on demographics like age, gender, etc.

Your ideal customer base is the key to many of your problems in business.  You can even learn what product to launch next from them, eliminating guesswork.

Let’s recap:

  • Our ideal customer avatar is based on behavioral factors, lifestyle needs and desires.
  • These are the people who are most apt to be repeat buyers of our products.
  • They are willing to pay a premium price for the goods we sell because of convenience.
  • These customers will talk to their friends and family about our products and their buying experience.
  • They will look about 60 to 80 percent like the ideal customer you have in mind.

In building your business, you must look at this as happening in phases. Max says, “We build brands around avatars, we market to segments.”

Phase 1 - You identify your ideal avatar and build your brand around this. You have just enough information to get started.

Phase 2 - Once you’ve scaled enough, it’s time to build segmentation into your marketing. You have a lot more information on your customers at this point to successfully do this.

Max shared how he successfully transformed the organic grocery delivery business by recognizing the importance of marketing to these segments of interested people. Turns out, he discovered through a survey that there were quite a few consumers who did not fit his initial ideal of a customer. He was able to build a brand that attracted people who cared about a common goal of healthier eating and more responsible agriculture.

How to find products that align with your brand

We’ve talked a lot about finding the right products to sell online. One of the points that Max brought up is that, “If you are not building your own brand, you are simply building Amazon’s brand.” Sellers need to make a great deal of effort to get their brand recognized on this platform, and one of the ways to accomplish this is by putting forth an excellent highly-recognized product. A way to do this is by getting to know your customers a lot better.

Make it a practice to ask your customers a few lifestyle questions as soon as possible in your relationship with them. These are some examples for a sleep related product (so modify yours to your product).

  • Tell me a little more about yourself?
  • Can you walk me through a normal day in your life?
  • What happens the next day if you’ve had a good night’s sleep?
  • How is the next day if you have not had a good night’s sleep?
  • What are your goals in ten years from now?

So you could inject weight loss products, time management, and many other products and solutions in here.  Launching a physical product is a extremely reliable method for ongoing sales that we've covered in past posts.

The cool thing about this approach is that the people who are interested in talking to you about their lifestyle are those who you can build your brand around. They care and they are either buying from you or just need a gentle push to buy from you.

And this, my friend is how you get the best customers for your brand.