What is an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)?

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Hey Brandi,
What is an ideal customer profile? I've heard about it in both sales and marketing. Do I need one?

Going a step farther than your niche market is your ideal customer profile (ICP). One of the biggest things that we forget in business is that we get to choose our customers – especially as entrepreneurs and small business owners. You can decide who you want to work with and target your marketing to attract them. Virtually everything you do with your marketing from here on out should relate back to this Ideal Customer Profile (ICP).

Even as important as defining who you do want as a customer is making sure that you avoid a bad fit. We've all had those bad customers the ones that take too much time, are never satisfied, or who really needed a Subaru even though they came in and bought a Camaro.

The easiest way to define your ICP is with a simple table. Just add a row for every criterion.

Ideal Customer Profile - Table Example

Now, take it a step further and add a few things that you don't want. For example, if you teach courses on improving your handwriting, you may not want people who are Non-English speaking, because the way their letters flow together are too different from the styles you teach. If you sell a B2B social media software solution, you may not want customers who aren't using social media at all because they typically won't see any value in your product.

To make this easy, sign up for my newsletter below and get access to my free resource library. I included a ready-to-go ICP worksheet!

Of course, you may have more than one ICP. I recommend not having more than 3 ICPs to start with. Otherwise, you start to move back to “marketing to everyone.” You can always add a new ICP later once you've saturated your initial markets.

Your ICP is the foundation of creating personas – where you give your customer profiles distinct personalities and faces.

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What is an ideal customer profile?

What is an Ideal Customer Profile?