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How to Identify Your Ideal Customer Profile

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If you’re launching a new SaaS product or service, try to narrow down your ideal customer profile (ICP) as much as possible rather than assuming that your product might solve many types of problems.

Start by solving a specific problem for a specific type of customer first, and then move on to address broader problems for related groups.

Go deep, then go wide. If you do it in the opposite order, you may never get your new SaaS product off the ground.

Drill Down Into One Vertical

We have a client at Hop Online who has a really awesome WordPress plugin. Right now, they are targeting all WordPress websites.

About 38% of all existing websites are on WordPress. More specifically, four hundred fifty-five million websites, according to WhoIsHostingThis. That is their target audience.

Instead of targeting 455,000,000 website owners, we’re trying to get them to think about how to narrow down their Ideal Customer Profile to a specific subset of WordPress users.

Say, let’s target companies that run restaurant websites or law firms, or perhaps marketing agencies – we want to narrow it down to one Ideal Customer Profile.

With a laser-focused ideal customer, we can personalize ad messages, craft efficient landing pages, and tailor the whole buyer journey to maximize conversions. We can create content and map it to the journey stages. We would try to solve a very specific problem of a very specific type of user every step of the way.

We want to get that right first – target a very specific Ideal Customer Profile, learn from it, and then expand.

Expand Into Adjacent Categories

Once we’ve achieved profitable campaigns with this ideal customer profile, we can start expanding horizontally into adjacent categories. Here we’d try and solve their own specific problems.

The process is similar to marketing a SaaS product that creates its own new category, or trailblazing. The difference is that, in this case, you do have a category, yet it is much too wide to target effectively.

Taking all we’ve learned from one narrow audience segment and covering that audience of 455,000,000 WordPress website owners a chunk at a time is the best approach for ROI-positive marketing campaigns.

While we’re talking about results, take a look at our approach for discovering the true Return of Ad Spend, based on paying SaaS users, not free trial starts. This solution allows us to optimize campaigns for lifetime value customers and not for tire-kickers.