An essential part of making money in the digital age comes from people and connections. When forging relationships online, be they with customers, clients or anyone, the more specific you can be when you're searching for people to connect with the better. And when you find them, or they find you, the more refined your message, the higher the chance it'll have a significant impact on someone when they see it.
To ensure you're not searching and trying to talk to all 7 billion people on earth to find and help those you hope to serve. You need to build a profile of that ideal customer you seek to reach with your efforts. These specific profiles contain everything you know about your potential user, how they think and the problems they're having. They are commonly referred to as personas. They give a bird-eye view of everything about that person who represents your audience as a whole. They help you find those you can aid in solving problems and make sure that when people happen across you, you're showing you understand.
As a note on your audience, stay as focused as you can with it. Always work to keep your targeting as precise as possible. It's better to work things down to a group of people so exact you can count them on one hand, than it is to dilute things down by trying to serve everyone. Don't worry that it'll be too few people. Just focus on solving problems for them and doing it well and then learning from the experience to adjust and improve your messaging and targeting. Others like them will begin to flock and become evident after you've solved the problems of those initial few who exactly match your specific persona.
The personas you build that represent your ideal customer in that small audience you serve are incredibly useful not only when it comes to finding and being discovered by those your targeting by knowing where they spend time. But also in tailoring how you communicate. As we said at the top of this email, the more specific and refined you can get your message; the more extraordinary your results will be. By knowing exactly who you're talking to, you can research them much easier and understand how they speak and what motivates them.
Personas aren't a one and done thing. They need to be constantly updated to keep them accurate. You need to be always working to improve the user profiles for your ideal customer and making sure they're evolving as your audience do. Be they for the clients you hope to serve with your freelance business or the users you aim to get signed up for your startup; and everything in between. Spend time researching aspects of what makes them tick. Set out a folder or document of quotes and screenshots of specific moments that give more information on how your audience thinks and feels. Flesh it out with as much accurate information about the person and potential viewer you're targeting as you can.
If there's anything you're unsure of or think could be expanded more, seek out a person who fits that persona and ask them. Grab some time with them for a Zoom call or ask over email. Then, when you're working on content and projects of your own or communicating back to those customers, you know exactly how they think and the problems they're having. So you can speak to them like you understand (because you do), use the same words they do and ultimately make the connections you build all the more durable and delight your customers when you know exactly what they need.
This originally appeared on my newsletter.