Building an ICP (ideal customer profile) may seem like a fluffy marketing project better reserved for some undergrad marketing class.
It takes a block of focus time and a deep understanding of your customer – through experience and research. But as you can probably tell by the title of this article, it is a worthy exercise. And to get you started we have a complete ICP example to share we use here at Upgrow.
What is an ICP (ideal customer profile)?
An ICP is the type of company that would benefit the most from your solution. Companies that fit your ICP are most likely to convert and use your product, making them easier to sell to and more likely to be long-term, happy customers.
Why do you need an ideal customer profile?
An ideal customer profile will tell you who you need to target and why by helping you identify key characteristics that your best buyers share. Your ICP should always be backed up with accurate data and company firmographics, such as technographic data, funding status, company size, revenue, industry, as well as less tangible criteria. What common problems do they have that you can solve? What do they hang out online and get referrals from? What job title is the decision-maker?
Understanding this information before you start running LinkedIn Ads is critical — it will improve your CTR and generate the leads you can best convert and perform for.
Here is an example ICP used in Upgrow’s own marketing and sales strategy:
B2B Tech Niche ICP #1: B2B Data Companies
There are additional sub-niches within this niche that could potentially also be narrowed down on but this is a sub-industry we have a lot of experience and expertise within.
Where are they online:
- Digital Marketing Manager/Director/VP
- Performance Marketing Manager/Director
- Head of Growth
- SEO Manager/Director
- Paid Media Manager/Director
- Marketing Manager/Director/VP
- Data pipelines
- Data integrators
- Data warehouses
- Data processing
- Data intelligence platforms
- Data Management
- Declining or low and stagnant SEO traffic given their company size (eg, ideal is they have high revenue but low SEO traffic) – check in Ahrefs/SEMRush
- Poor or missing SEO fundamentals (eg, no META or H1, lots of 404 and lost links, not ranking for many terms)
- No or low-quality LinkedIn Ads – check on their LinkedIn company page
- No or low-quality Google Ads – just Google their company name or look in SEMRush/Ahrefs
- Located in the San Francisco Bay Area (they are more likely to know Upgrow or at least some of our clients)
- A small, general marketing team (they have someone to manage an agency, but lack the resources and specialization to execute PPC and SEO scale)
- They have a maintained, active company LinkedIn and/or Twitter (any legitimate company would)
- They are sponsoring or attending industry conferences (they have a marketing budget and looking for new business)
- Their target customer, developers and engineers, are notoriously hard to reach – they don’t like ads and don’t like responding to cold emails, calls, or LinkedIn messages
- They have 2 separate decision-makers to satisfy, the executive (eg CTO, Director) and the end-user (eg Software Developer, Engineer). Each group has different needs and challenges to meet.
- It’s a competitive, expensive industry where clicks on Google Ads and LinkedIn can be $20+ CPC.
- It can be hard to control lead quality and reach qualified decision-makers
Our Advantages in this Niche:
- We have worked with data and other developer-focused software companies for over 5 years. Over 70% of our clients are B2B technology.
- We offer full-funnel digital marketing, to prospect, engage, and convert qualified prospects across digital channels. Using CRM data we can optimize for the qualified leads, saving budget by reducing low-quality clicks.
- Hyper-segmentation is a key strategy we use to target different decision-makers with messaging and offers relevant to them.
- SingleStore – modern relational database for multi-cloud, hybrid, and on-premises. Active client since 2018, all paid media.
- InfluxData – time-series database Active client since 2017, all paid media and SEO. Case Study
- Blendo – ETL data integration and pipeline tool. Past client in 2019, SEO.
- Alooma – data pipeline platform. Past client in 2017-2018, Google Ads.
- Prisma.io – NodeJS and TypeScript ORM open-source database toolkit. Past client 2021, SEO.
- CausaLens – AI predictive analytics. Active client 2022, SEO and Google Ads.
- Materialize – database connector for streaming data. Active client since 2021, SEO and Google Ads
- Pingcap – database. Active client since 2021, SEO and Google Ads
- Liquibase – database CI/CD and automation. Past client 2021 to 2022.
Turn Your ICP into Ads and Sales Outreach
Now that you’ve done the hard work of compiling the research on your prospect, you just need to turn that into a functional marketing and sales initiative.
A marketing platform like LinkedIn Ads makes it easy to target based on ICP criteria like:
- Company name
- Job title
- Member skills
- Company size
- And many more
Build your audience based on your ICP research – and also be sure to create pixel-based lookalike and retargeting audiences.
Sales Cold Email and Ad Messaging
Turn the customer pain points and your ideal solutions into the ad copy and outreach message. Here’s an example of the email template for this ICP to give you a better idea:
Subject: Data Management Engineers Don’t Like Ads