When it comes to starting a business, or building an e-commerce website, there are some things you must know in order to be successful — like who your ideal customer is.

Why is that so important? Well, your business, as great as it is, isn’t for everybody. Some folks will love what you offer and turn into repeat customers, some can appreciate what you offer but won’t commit to a purchase, and others won’t be interested at all. (Sounds a lot like dating, doesn’t it?)

How do you market your business to such a wide variety of people who all feel differently toward your business? You don’t. Instead, focus on identifying your ideal customer by creating a customer persona that you can then use to cater your marketing messages for maximum effect. Once you know who you’re trying to sell your products to, you’ll find it easier to design your site and messaging to attract them.

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Here’s what to consider when creating a customer persona

What problem do I solve and what’s my differentiator?

When you start a business, one of the first things someone might ask you is “What problem do you solve?” If you haven’t figured that out yet, now is the time. If you aren’t sure what needs your product or service addresses, how can you expect your customers to know? Your customers can’t understand how your product will benefit them if you haven’t taken the time to think it through yourself.

Once you’ve identified the problem that you solve, it’s on to part 2, figuring out your differentiator. Do you have competitors who offer the same products and solutions that you do? What sets you apart? Is it your customer support or bonus features? Your differentiator should play a role in determining your marketing strategy and helps you stand out from the crowd.

What do current customers say about your product?

Feedback is a gift, so ask for it and use it. Use your current customers’ praises and critiques to fine-tune your offerings and make them more appealing to your ideal customer.

What are your ideal customer’s demographics?

Why do demographics matter? If you’re selling high-quality, fine wines, you don’t want to waste your time and money marketing them to people who refuse to buy anything that isn’t on sale. By understanding your ideal customer’s demographics, including income and preferences, you’ll be able to cater your messaging to get your product in front of the people who will buy it.

The role of Google Analytics

If you don’t have Google Analytics, or something similar, on your website then you should add it. Google Analytics is a set of free tools that Google created as part of its marketing platform and they’ll help you analyze and understand your website traffic. How does that assist in creating a customer persona? If you can get insight into who is purchasing from your site — where they come from, what device they use, what social media channel they discovered you on — you can start to paint a picture of your online customers. Do the people who purchase from you online match up with your expectations? Is there anything you need to tweak to bring in your ideal customers?

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Identifying your ideal customer leads to improved marketing

When you identify your perfect customer and create a customer persona, you’re also learning about your business. Depending on your business, you may even need to create multiple customer personas. You can use this information to improve and cater your marketing messages for better results, and more sales, moving forward.