One chilly December night, I had an audition.
It was for a role in a play called Life Sucks, and I was obscenely excited about it.
(Dominant Sensation: entire butterfly pavilion housed in abdomen.)
So there I was the night before, studying the script — to look for clues about my character.
Of course, at the start of most scripts there’s a description of each role.
Babs, my character, was apparently: Vibrant, artistic, outspoken and even enlightened. A great soul and scrappy wit.
OK, good to know.
But that really wasn’t enough for me to understand how Babs would act and interact with other characters in her world.
So I mined the entire script for nuggets of meaty intel that would help me put flesh on Babs’s bones—
(Seamlessly blended metaphors there. Nice.)
because I wanted to understand where she comes from, what her driving beliefs are, what past experiences have shaped her, what she loves, what she can’t stomach … (butterflies?)
This is what my digging discovered:
She adored her flamboyant grandfather, who immigrated to the US from eastern Europe with four younger brothers
Her grandfather taught her to “eat life like the rest of us eat latkes” — like you can never get enough
She’s a secular jew, a potter (sorry, ceramic artist) and a traveler — she frequently disappears on “adventures” for months on end
Her real name is Bathsheba
She moved in with her best friend when she got breast cancer, and just stayed after she died to look after her daughter
She’s made some dodgy decisions in her time — so these days she doesn’t judge
She’s optimistic, open, earthy, generous, creative, kind, independent, intelligent, unconventional, honest, and a little lonely sometimes…
I gradually put together the landscape of her life — her given circumstances and worldview.
So I could understand how she’d act and respond to what happens around her.
Aaaaaand … why am I telling you this?
Is it just the anxious outpouring of a jittery wannabe stage star, remembering a particularly nervous night?
Well, yes. But also…
This is exactly how I go about understanding your ideal customer too.
I dig for clues.
In surveys and interview transcripts with existing or potential customers, I ferret around to find telling details about your perfect prospect’s outlook — loves, longings, frustrations, fears, aspirations and dreams…
I mine voice-of-customer data from online reviews, and from forums where people are sharing what they love and hate about similar products to yours…
Gradually, I build a composite picture of your perfect prospect…
what she’s like
what she likes
and what she’s likely to do, in any given situation.
And once I have that 3D feel for her, and understand her wants and worries almost better than she does …
I can write copy that speaks directly to her.
From your About page, to the nurturing emails you send, to the sales page she finally lands upon …
All the copy can be finely focused so that when your ideal customer reads it, she feels like you’ve read her mind.
Like you understand her very soul.
She comes to know you, like you and ultimately trust you — to lead her on the transformational journey your product will be.
She buys in.
Yay! A Happy New Beginning 🙂