May 27, 2023

4 Minutes to Better Followers (and customers)

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I recently used the term “Ideal Follower Profile” in a newsletter, and that prompted a ton of questions from readers:

  • What is an Ideal Follower Profile?
  • How do I know what my Ideal Follower Profile is?
  • Once I have my Ideal Follower Profile, how can I use it?

These are good questions. Maybe the most important questions a new solopreneur should ask. So let’s dive in.

Your Ideal Follower Profile (IFP) is the kind of person who’ll get the most value from your content, ideas, products, and services. It’s the person who’s going to want and need exactly what you’re creating & selling.

Understanding your IFP can literally mean the difference between content and products that are loved and praised. Or content and products that flop.

Your IFP can include many traits:

  • Age
  • Location
  • Pain points
  • Aspirations
  • Income level
  • And much, much more

I find it helps to think of your ideal follower as a character, or a persona.

It’s your mission to understand that persona — who they are, what they want, what they need, and what blockers are getting in their way.

If you can visualize an actual person, that will help you bring your IFP to life, and you can focus your energy on helping that exact person.

I want you to have an example to follow when you’re riffing on your own IFP. So let’s create an Ideal Follower Profile now.

Start with Hypotheses

First, you want to understand two of the most important aspects of your IFP:

  1. What are their pain points?
  2. What are their aspirations?

There’s no magic formula for answering these questions. You just have to get out there and talk to people you think you can help.

And more importantly — really listen to what they have to say. People love to talk about their problems, and that will work to your advantage.

Less time listening to "experts".

More time listening to customers.
— Justin Welsh (@thejustinwelsh) May 24, 2023

If you’re struggling to strike up conversations, start with a few hypotheses.

For example, let’s say you're a personal trainer at your local gym, and you want to transition to running an online personal training business.

For this example, we could start with one probable pain point: your ideal client is someone who’s too busy to get to the gym, and therefore more likely to work with an online trainer.

Taking this a step further, let’s hypothesize an aspiration: your ideal client wants to get in shape in the comfort of their own home, as quickly and efficiently as possible (remember, they’re busy!)

With now have 2 hypotheses about our IFP:

  • Pain Point: Too busy to get to the gym
  • Aspiration: Get in shape with a fast and efficient home program

Create Content Tailored to Pain & Aspiration

With these hypotheses, we can create content that should attract a few eyeballs from people sharing this specific pain and aspiration.

You could start by creating helpful content on LinkedIn (easiest), Twitter, Instagram, or other social platforms.

Here are some example themes you could riff on over and over:

  1. Fit Anywhere, Anytime: Tips for squeezing in quick and effective workouts, no matter how busy your schedule is.
  2. HIIT and Circuit Training: The power of high-intensity workouts and circuit training to maximize your home fitness routine.
  3. Build Your Home Gym on a Budget: Smart and cost-effective tips for setting up a premium workout space without breaking the bank.

Furthermore, you could create 2 or 3 short eBooks that go deeper into solving your IFP’s pain points, and also align with their aspirations:

  • Home Fitness Hacks: Time-Saving Strategies for Busy Professionals
  • Meal Prep Mastery: Quick and Healthy Recipes for Busy Parents
  • The 15-Minute Home Workout Plan: Fast and Effective Routines for Maximum Results

As people interact with your content, you'll get a sense as to whether or not your hypotheses were wrong or right. You can always iterate and experiment to see what truly resonates.

Iterate and Optimize Over Time

If you publish high-quality, laser-focused content like that for 3-6 months, it’s almost impossible not to gain a small & ideal following.

And once you have people listening to you, going deeper into characteristics gets easier.

You could consider offering a 15-minute consultation for free to use some of that time to collect information that will help you refine your IFP over time.

I can’t stress this enough: Having conversations with potential customers is gold.

Here are some additional characteristics that might be helpful:

  • How old are they?
  • What do they do for a living?
  • What’s their primary fitness goal?
  • What is their budget?

Everyone is going to have different answers, but you’re looking for the bell curve, not the outliers.

For example, maybe our next layer is “What is your primary fitness goal?”

You could run a survey on social media, or ask people in real-life conversations.

Using a simple survey, we can now add a new layer to our IFP.

  • Pain Point: Too busy to get to the gym
  • Aspiration: Get in shape with a fast and efficient home program
  • Primary outcome: Fat loss

With this new layer, we can refine our content, eBooks, newsletters, etc. to target fat loss as the primary goal.

Maybe our 3 eBooks get updated to reflect this new layer:

  • Fat-loss Fitness Hacks: Time-Saving Strategies for Busy Professionals
  • Meal Prep Mastery: Quick Fat-loss Recipes for Busy Families
  • The 15-Minute Home Workout Plan: Fast and Effective Routines for Maximum Fat Loss

By incorporating fat loss into the content, we’ve created even more specific content that’s speaking directly to your IFP. Now you just rinse and repeat for more characteristics.

The goal is to have a balance between specificity and market size. Enough people to serve, and specific enough to stand out from other generic fitness coaches.

If you can get this right, you’re going to create content that resonates deeply with the exact follower you want for your business.

And guess what? Ideal followers become the best customers.

→ Today's action step: Start by hypothesizing 2 characteristics of your ideal follower - their pain points and aspirations, and create 2-3 pieces of content that address them.

Well, that’s it for today.

See you next week.

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