Survivial Skills for Freelancers

How clever customer profiles help you attract the right clients

Whatever business you’re in, you can’t successfully market your products or services without knowing who you’re selling to. To quote Friends (the one with Russ, if you must know) “You can try, but you will not be successful”.

One of the first questions I ask business owners when we’re chatting about their marketing is, “Who is your target customer?”. Sometimes they have an idea – female, mid to late 30s, ambitious – but that’s often about as far as it goes.

Far too often (you didn’t hear that from me) they’ll look a bit blank and reply, “Well, anyone, really…”.

You wouldn’t buy shoes without knowing your size, so don’t think about writing copy to sell or promote your business without knowing exactly who you’re trying to convert.

Avatar? I thought that was a film full of giant blue people?

Customer profiles – sometimes called buyer personas, or avatars – are an in-depth description of your ideal client. They look a bit like this:


The expert start-up


In her mid-30s, Rachel is a divorced graduate with two boys in junior school. She gave up her job so she could achieve a balance between work and family, and believes she can earn more working for herself.

She’s experienced in her industry but has become disillusioned and wants to use her considerable knowledge to help other businesses.


Rachel has ambitious plans for her own company, and needs a great website and marketing materials to help her launch her business and build her customer base.

She wants to earn enough for financial independence and security for her family, and would like to be able to afford a decent annual holiday for her and her boys.


Juggling is her biggest challenge, and she wants to appear professional at all times, while balancing the needs of her family.

Communication styles

She’s happy to talk on the phone and meet face to face when necessary, but deep down prefers to email, as she can respond in her own time, making juggling easier. She is a big social media user and very switched on to the latest trends.


You may have more than one customer profile – perhaps a different persona for different products or services. And that’s okay. The key is to take time to understand the differences between the customers you want to attract, and their motivations to buy.

Talk to the heart

Taking the time to identify and outline your ideal customer and the things that make them tick, makes it easier for you – or your copywriter (hello!) – to talk to them in their language.

As Nelson Mandela once said: “If you talk to a person in a language they understand, that goes to their head. If you talk to them in their language, that goes to their heart.”

When you use your customers’ language you have more influence. By understanding what motivates them, and the things that are important to them, you can begin to address their fears, solve their problems, and excite them with the things they desire.

That insight is like a superpower. Once you know who you’re writing to, you have the power to use that in-depth knowledge to influence them, by producing targeted, segmented marketing messages that really mean something to your audience.

Worried this all sounds a bit manipulative?

Think of it this way. You’re in business because you genuinely believe in your products and services, right? (Time to dust off that CV, if not.)

And if that’s the case, then you genuinely believe in their ability to solve problems, and to make life easier or more enjoyable.

Client with gaping need, meet supplier with perfectly formed solution. You’re welcome.

When it comes to addressing your target audience, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Using generic marketing messages is like taking a scattergun approach to your marketing copy. You might reach the odd new customer by chance – perhaps the timing just happened to be right – but you’re more likely to hit the mark if you segment your messages, and use a targeted approach.

That’s when you begin to generate real results.

Want to read more?

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