How to Create a Customer Blueprint: Your Startup’s Secret Weapon

Jumping from one customer acquisition tactic to the next exhausts you. Trying to find the best way to reach customers seems like an endless and boring task. However what if you knew exactly which methods your customers would love?

Today, I will show you one of the most powerful techniques you can use to grow and sustain your business – creating a customer blueprint. We will be using the data you gathered in part one, so now is a good time to review that lesson and complete the exercises i you haven’t yet.

A Customer Blueprint is a cheat sheet for your marketing plan

Once you have a blueprint, you can refer to this in all your marketing planning and ask “does this make sense for my customer?” with confidence. My next article will tie this into how to create a startup marketing plan with no marketing experience, based on your work today.

For marketing guru’s, this has also been called an ideal customer profile or customer avatar. However both of those I think overemphasize many things that turn out to be irrelevant, and underemphasize or leave off critical information about a customer.

How to write an effective blueprint

Writing an effective blueprint is key to your long term success. Here are a few items to remember while writing your blueprint:

  • Write each section as if you were writing about one specific person. Don’t be general, be specific.

    • Example: Describe customers hair color
      Bad Answer: any color from blonde to brown to black.
      Good answer: a gentle brown, never colored

  • Use data to fuel your answers. If you don’t know some information, ask yourself what steps you can take to find out?

  • Don’t restrict yourself to the information below – add information highly specific to your audience. If selling to developers you might include information like preferred programming language, coding style, IDE, etc.

  • Remove questions or information which has no bearing on your market, but be more conservative removing data than adding data. It may not seem like some of the demographic and psychographic information applies to you, but chances are they can influence your marketing significantly (in a good way!) so be judicious and honest while culling information. Don’t remove it just because it is hard for you to answer.

Creating the Blueprint

Let’s jump into it. This exercise is a little more involved than my other ones, and will take more time, though it is worth every second! Open a document and copy over the questions below, then fill out detailed answers using the data you gathered in part one.

Blueprint questions:

  1. Outline your perfect customer demographics:

    1. Age range

    2. Location

    3. income range

    4. Gender

    5. Sexual orientation

    6. Race

    7. Education Level

    8. Employment status (what is their title?)

  2. Psychographic information:

    1. Strong political beliefs

    2. Favored activities

    3. Important values & morals

    4. Extrovert or introvert?

    5. How analytical are they?

    6. How much does emotion play into decisions?

  3. List products your customers love, purchase, and discuss. For each product, in one sentence, describe what they LOVE about it.

  4. List products your customers deride or make fun of. For each one, in one sentence, describe what they HATE about it.

  5. List your customers fears. What scares them, keeps them up at night, or makes them worry irrationally?

  6. Describe your customers dreams. Make this highly descriptive, as if you were writing a fiction novel. Make sure to include their core dream, as well as how they feel today when wishing for it, how they will feel when they achieve it, and the struggle they are willing to undertake when they get there. Also include surroundings – what else about their life will change then their dreams are achieved?

  7. Is there anyone the customer is trying to impress which your product can help with? Describe this.

  8. What language and slang does your customer use? Any words, acronyms, or other ways they speak which are unique to their place in the world.

  9. Do you solve a specific problem for them? What other things do they do to solve/overcome/avoid/ignore this problem? What other related problems does this create?
  10. What are some related interests of your customer? List out websites, magazines, communities, and other places they might spend time (enjoyably).

Once you go through this exercise, you should have a good grasp on your customer and what makes them tick.

Over time, as you delve into focused marketing efforts, organic growth, customer acquisition, and product development, you can refer again and again to this living document to make sure you and your customer are aligned.

In my upcoming book, Bootstrapping Growth, I include an even more in depth customer blueprint guide, including exact worksheets and questions you can use to get even further inside your customers head, as well as specific tactics and strategies to apply this blueprint to all your marketing efforts.

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