Week 2 | OkDork.com

Week 2

Week 2: Defining Your Customer

Looking for last week's lesson? Week 1


The best marketers consistently ask the same questions: What is the problem I am solving? Who is the customer I am serving? Where is that customer?

It is easy to rush into something without stopping to define who exactly needs your product or service.

Even I get it wrong sometimes...

A few weeks ago at AppSumo, we emailed out a pre-sale email to 20,000 people for KingSumo.com.

We were testing copy and prices for the new tool that automatically optimizes WordPress headlines.

This tool has literally made at least $100,000 for AppSumo on our own website, and we expected it to sell like Taco Deli tacos (that’s really good, btw).

Guess how many people bought from that email blast?

3 people. WTF?!?

That’s a .015% conversion rate and a total of $27 a month in revenue we generated.

Okay, raise the flag. AppSumo and our entire business is going down in flames! Anyone hiring?

We resent the email a week later and sold over 300 licenses. Right now it is selling around 5 a day at $99, for a total of about $40,000 in revenue in the past 2 weeks.

So, what changed?

We figured out WHO are customers were and the EXACT problem they were facing.

Through “safe” stalking, we found that our ideal customers have blogs that generate valuable leads and / or enough advertising revenue to generate spending money on growing their blog.

We started looking at the 3 people who bought after the first pre-sale email to truly get in their heads.


We spent the time to know exactly who our customers are and what problems they face.

As a result we found three key things that had been missing in our original email:

1- Lifetime payment for small sites. Larger more profitable sites could afford subscriptions and justify the ROI. Smaller sites needed an easier pricing decision. To sell to them, we found out even our $9 / month option wasn’t appealing so we let them use the tool at a higher price, forever.

2- SEO. We discovered that SEO was a huge concern. The people who chose not to buy and use the Headlines tool were concerned that it would negatively affect SEO. On the landing page, we clearly addressed the SEO question and alleviate the fear our customers had.

3- Profitable blogs. We thought everyone with a blog would want the tool. We underestimated the extreme value the tool offered to people who got valuable leads from their blog or their advertising revenue paid salaries. This helped us narrow our appeal to the customers who we knew could see the ROI right away.

Changing these three elements changed the success of our marketing.

The more narrow and defined your customer base is, the easier it’ll be for you to find and sell to them.

Last week you decided your 90 day goal and created your Quant Based Marketing.

Most companies struggle with marketing since they try to appeal to a person who doesn’t care for the proposed solution. That won’t be you!

This week you will make sure you know who your exact customer is.

Week 2 Task

Grab the top 10 emails of your favorite customers (or top spenders). If you don’t have customers, make a list of 10 people you believe would be your ideal customers.

1) Search each customer's email address on Facebook.

2) Fill out this spreadsheet from their profile info (like this):

Name, Age, Location, Gender, Websites, Books, Groups
Tyler Vawser, 28, NYC, Male, Farnam Street / Billguard, Amazon.com

Use this Google spreadsheet OR download it directly from OkDork.

Note: If there’s not enough in Facebook, look at the person's domain name, their profile on LinkedIn, or who they follow and what they share on Twitter.

You are looking for patterns.

Your ideal customer should be very specific.

So many people don’t want to be SILO’D.

Would you rather be silo’d or solo? 🙂

Every company starts niche:

  • Facebook, yup. Just Harvard.
  • Google, yup. Just Stanford research nerds.
  • Microsoft, yup. Nerd Developers.

Build your foundation and then you can build out.

You should be able to describe your customer in exactness as:

Specific gender
Age range (25-30)
Which state / country do they live in?
What are there 3 favorite websites to learn about businesses like yours?
What do they do for a living?
Which company they work at?
What problem you are solving for them?

For Kingsumo.com Headlines tool, the exact answers are:

San Francisco, CA
GrowthHackers.com, Inbound.org, ConversionXL.com
Conversion optimizer

Their blog gets them leads that are worth $100 a month. Having their blog get 20% more traffic a month is worth the $100 for KingSumo.com.

Once you know what their problem is, who they are and where they are online, the rest is easy. It always sounds easy!

Don’t forget the WoW formula.

What’s the problem you are solving
whO’s the person that really has that problem?
Where are those people?

Imagine you knew all your exact customers hung at this one place. Wouldn’t it be much easier just to go right there and serve them up?

That’s what we’ll be doing over the next 10 weeks.

3) Leave a very specific comment about:

a) WHAT problem you are solving for them
b) WHO your customer is
c) The #1 niche website WHERE your customers spend time on

The person who leaves our favorite comment, will have their website emailed out to all 12,000+ of you next week 🙂


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113 responses to “Week 2”

February 15, 2017 at 11:26 pm

a) WHAT problem you are solving for them
Solve their inventory management headache for small business owners. Helping them manage their inventories/ orders via a cloud based SaaS.

b) WHO your customer is
Small Business Owners (Wholesalers), eCommerce sellers.
Businesses who sell both offline and online.

c) The #1 niche website WHERE your customers spend time on
Having hard time finding this answer.
Quora, google, b2b sites.

Utkarsh Talwar
October 26, 2015 at 4:05 am

It's difficult for web developers and eLearning course designers to review their products and gain feedback from their teams in a speedy and efficient manner. zipBoard provides a collaboration platform where teams can review their projects in real-time with a variety of tools.
Web developers, eLearning course developers, product managers
Basecamp, Jira, Articulate/Captivate

August 17, 2015 at 5:38 am

a) WHAT problem you are solving for them
Making it easy for them to spend some free time chatting with stranger about any topics they find interesting. They can also speak anonymously.

b) WHO your customer is
Male and Female ages from 14-32 who can afford spend some time to talk or ask anything to the rest of the world

c) The #1 niche website WHERE your customers spend time on
9GAG and Omegle mainly

Jordan Georgiev
May 4, 2015 at 9:21 am

Learning to design and program games using Unity3d.

Game Developers between 20-30 years of age. Mostly male.


Mike Rucker
September 12, 2014 at 1:57 am

What: Having their product offering scale
Who: Coaches
Where: success.com

Marie Renn
August 14, 2014 at 2:43 pm

WHAT: We promote famliy bonding opportunities through sports and other activities to overcome stressful situations.
WHO: According to Google Analytics, our site content attracts men/women aged 18-34 at a ratio of 54/45% respectively.
WHERE: They frequent ESPN.go.com and FamilyTLC.net

August 4, 2014 at 7:50 pm

WHAT: Finding something "WOW" to wear that makes them stand out & get asked numerous questions & receive hundreds of likes on a FB or Instagram photo (creates buzz for THEM)

WHO: Females aged 15-22 living predominantly in NSW, AUS who are living at home and working to buy more clothes or not working at all.

#1 Website: They can be found hanging around on FB.com

July 24, 2014 at 4:27 am

thanks for your free wp list builder. i use them to push my book marketing...

love your stuff

volker waves goodbye

July 23, 2014 at 5:02 pm

(late) easy to understand and honest Info about debt review is not easy to find. Younger consumers who are in debt. My site: http://www.debtfreedigi.co.za...

Marc Zirolli
July 22, 2014 at 9:41 am

We looked up our new customer accounts based on ad leads from the publications we advertise in from the last 3 years. Unfortunately, we were unsuccessful and are working on doing a better job entering accurate media codes for those new customers.

When checking EXISTING accounts over the last 3 years, we found a total of 8 orders were entered using our ad media codes, while an additional 59 are either expired or active bids in the system.

Nik Martin
July 21, 2014 at 3:47 pm

What: Eliminate paper reports as part of their workflow
whO: Ambulance company operators: Male, > 40 Years old
Where: Linked In, EMS World, EMS1.com (speculation, I can't find a lot of sites common to this audience yet)

July 19, 2014 at 7:24 am

1. I save their time and make them fill more rich

2. Busy business men car owners

3. They just going to car wash and spend 15-20 minutes there and pay more

Jeff King
July 16, 2014 at 1:48 pm

The Problem: Boredom. Uninspired people spending way too much time watching others do interesting and exciting things, whether it is television, sports, or commenting on Facebook. I want to get people off the couch and into their own adventure and show them simple ways to do it.

Who: 35-55 yrs old who are tired of the daily grind want to recapture a bit of youthful spark. They have a good income and take nice vacations, but would like to have more adventure during the rest of the year. They are looking for ideas and inspiration to get up and get going this afternoon or this weekend.

Where: They are watching the travel channel or maybe one of the survival TV shows, maybe reading reviews on tripadvisor or other travel website. They could be exploring anything from cooking to sailing to photography online in order to get a little inspiration. These people may be difficult to target. Anyone got any ideas?

July 16, 2014 at 11:26 am

a) Helping people write better about what their company is about on their websites and email followups.

b) Non US developers or Solopreneurs not familiar with copywriting

c) Twitter

Mike Goncalves
July 15, 2014 at 10:54 pm

WHAT - Taking action to improve wellness
WHO - Female 25-45
WHERE - Fitness & Nutrition Forums

July 15, 2014 at 10:41 am

Raw chocolate at Yoga and Health centers in Bogota, Colombia. Female, 30 - 40, Health professional or teacher, Niche website: http://www.yogaspace.com.co/

Cindy | The Reedster Speaks
July 14, 2014 at 2:30 pm

a) WHAT problem you are solving for them
Write better. Get readers. Create raving blog fans by becoming a kickass storyteller.

b) WHO your customer is

*Age: 45

*Lives: US. Cool progressive town (Think: Ashevllle, Portland, Seattle, Austin)

*What do they do for a living?
Doesn’t matter. Their passion is writing and they cram it into a corner of their life. They blog on the side, they think about starting a blog, they think "someday I'll be a writer."

c) The #1 niche website WHERE your customers spend time on

#1 Their Facebook feed.
#2 http://www.thebloggess.com (offbeat humor)
#3 http://yeahwrite.me (weekly writing challenge)

Mike Floyd
July 11, 2014 at 4:40 pm

What is the problem I am solving?

Summary – B2B, Selling a consumable product to a business that has $$ to spend, and is VERY high on their totem pole of importance. In rural areas, stores are not readily available to pick up locally is limited.

Problem – Churches need to manage communion and related supplies. Then purchase or order it. This takes resources to coordinate. Ordering too far in advance, and communion goes stale.
Solution – Provide auto shipment of products (similar to business office supplies) for routinely consumable products, e.g. communion bread, cups, etc. monthly.

Who is the customer I am serving?

Churches who offer communion, weekly, monthly, quarterly to members.

Where is that customer?

This audience are in local neighborhoods
They subscribe to periodicals & trade journals
They go to conventions
They attend summer camps, or group sessions
Are members of other organizations, etc.

Arryn Hansen
July 11, 2014 at 3:12 pm

What: Creating better web based products - We are the experts.
Who: Clients who have a web based product
Where: Healthcare - We are experts at the web based medical applications

July 11, 2014 at 1:43 pm

What: Reading my book will change their lives
Who: People who enjoy reading YA fantasy (women, age 25-25, living in the US)
Where: Facebook is where they spend the majority of their time online

July 10, 2014 at 11:28 am

WHAT: Provide content about Android and mobile operating systems
WHO: To all people needs information about this
WHERE: On my blogs and mailing list

July 8, 2014 at 5:49 am

WHAT: Provide printing solutions for their publications
WHO: Corporate Communications departments, Publishers, Ad agencies

Frederik van Deurs
July 7, 2014 at 10:23 pm

a) We strengthen their Identity as physically active academic men
b) Men that read tolkien, 22-27 years old, do private sports and like intelligent news satire
c) Student(Uni) Groups on Facebook

Ken Matheson
July 7, 2014 at 6:10 pm

Late to the party - just back from Vacation. Got to get back on track.

Working for a popular bar trying to increase sales and traffic during off-peak hours and also increasing online presence to increase customer base.

a) WHAT problem you are solving for them

Our customers are working 8-5 jobs looking for somewhere to go in an unassuming, low-key environment where they can relax, enjoy a beer and discuss their day/lives with their friends and co-workers, but with the expectation that the atmosphere will match their mood.

b) WHO your customer is

Male, 27-55, mostly contractors or construction workers working in the area who do not necessarily care about price as long as they do not feel under-dressed or out of place coming into the bar in their work uniforms. Most are married or attached, but even so would like to be near or in the company of females, just to add to the experience of going out.

c) The #1 niche website WHERE your customers spend time on

Yelp!(Etobicoke/Toronto area)/DineTO

Chris Fellows
July 7, 2014 at 12:39 pm

WHAT - Helping people be effective at saving money each month with a budgeting strategy that actually works.
WHO - 25-39 year olds. College Graduates. Interested in budgeting tools like Mint.com or Quicken or BillGuard. Into health and wellness and sports.
WHERE - mint.com

August 1, 2014 at 9:53 am

Refining WHO: 28-38, lives in major metropolitan areas, entrepreneurial/biz owner, highly educated (post BS work, MS or Ph'd), tech savvy and mobile savvy

Charles Bohannan
July 7, 2014 at 5:56 am

This was an excellent exercise that really made a difference!

A. Problem I'm solving: Help serial entrepreneurs stay truly happy.
B. Who are my customers: 27-43 year old males living in San Francisco and chasing the Silicon Valley dream of success and riches.
C. #1 niche website: ProductHunt.com (this one was hard for me to figure out; TechCrunch seemed too dated and PandoDaily — too much drama).

Best wishes to everyone on this. I hope you all have a breakthrough 🙂

Charles Bohannan
July 7, 2014 at 6:33 am

Correction: A. Help exhausted entrepreneurs stay happy, alert and calm.

Mike Strong
July 7, 2014 at 4:21 am

What: India's current logistics options are unorganized and unreliable. Customers need fixed pricing, quick delivery, and the ability to track delivery.

Who: Our customers are 25-35 years old, technologically proficient, middle/upper class residents that work at IT/software companies in Bangalore. They have disposal income and willing to pay a premium for delivery in exchange for a superior service level.

Where: Our customers spend lots of time on Reddit. They also utilize OLX (India's craigslist) to buy/sell goods.

Adrian Corella
July 6, 2014 at 4:22 pm

a) teleBeer.com allows people to reconnect with far-away friends by allowing them to buy each other a beer, just like in the good old days.

b) males, 22-30, college educated in America, currently living in urban areas (not necessarily in the U.S.) and who have lived at more than one location

c) Reddit (with beer sub-reddit). BeerAdvocate.com

Rick Corbett
July 6, 2014 at 3:44 pm

1. We are solving the problem of having to spend hours of time monthly searching for industry specific content and having enough time to read it all.
We have developed a massive library of industry specific personal development content and broken it down into bite size chunks so an individual can spend 2-3 minutes getting the exact industry specific content they want delivered to them on their phone multiple times a day. In the course of a month it's like reading an entire book or two on the exact subject they are interested in.
2.Our customer is the individual (there are millions) that currently spends $824 a year on books, audios and seminars for their personal development.
3. Success.com is the primary and their specific industry gurus websites are 2nd.

July 6, 2014 at 3:18 pm

1. Many of their students (customers) don't actually apply what they learn and aren't really engaged in the course. They want to increase the engagement level and motivate their students more powerfully to internalize what they learn.

2. Online course creators (prefferably have PAID online courses). They are usually experts, who teach, offer consulting/coaching/training services, create info products. They are 30-40 years old, in the USA, male, entrepreneurs/freelancers/consultants. They rely on their personal brand or on their reputation for most of their business.

3. Udemy.com

Lily Ann Fouts
July 6, 2014 at 2:36 pm

WHAT: My prospects really want to travel the world more, and have some time to do it, but can't see how they could ever afford it. I solve the problem by teaching them techniques for traveling the world comfortably with a very small budget.

WHO: Female elementary school teachers between age 30 and 50, from Los Angeles, CA and New York, NY.

WHERE: I'm not exactly sure which *niche* sites (travel-related) they are on, but my research so far shows me that teachers from LA and NY who like to travel also like NPR and PBS, Huffington Post, and Ellen DeGeneres...and supposedly the website most visited by elementary teachers is scholastic.com. I would be willing to guess (based on some preliminary research) they also visit sites such as Travelzoo, online travel agencies like Expedia and Travelocity, and airline websites.

Christie Workman
July 6, 2014 at 10:29 am

What - The problem I solve for my clients is that I provide and develop coaching programs and resources to propel women to their greatest potential in an individual learning styling supported with an online community.It takes into account the personal and professional demands a woman faces when wanting to get a head.

Who: My customer is between a woman between the age of 35 and 45, She is in charge of her own revenue stream, owns a business, or leads in a nonprofit or community organization. She is wanting to get a head, have a life of significance and feel as if she is living with purpose. She lives in the U.S. and also relies on websites such as John Maxwell and Entreprenuer Magazine's site.

July 6, 2014 at 6:30 am

WHAT: Young couples just beginning on their journey towards location independence often have no idea where to even start and get discouraged easily with the amount of information they consume from the very beginning.

WHO: Young couples (in a long-term, committed relationship) from the USA with no business experience

WHERE: BootsNAll.com

Leo Tabibzadegan
July 5, 2014 at 10:28 pm

How the heck did you guys get peoples age? It's not showing up on my FB!?

Chris Peters
July 5, 2014 at 10:53 pm

SOMETIMES it will show you the person's birthdate. If that doesn't work, you can SOMETIMES see their age if you plug their email address into Google+.

Otherwise, look at their education history. If they graduated from college, see if there's a year that they graduated. You usually graduate from college in your mid-20s, right? Do the math.

Lastly, look at their photo (if they have one publicly-displayed). Guesstimate how old they are. If you got an age from the college graduation, do they basically look about that age?

Leo Tabibzadegan
July 6, 2014 at 2:03 pm

Thanks, you are genius! (and should work with the CIA lol)

Chris Peters
July 6, 2014 at 3:03 pm

Ha, you're welcome. I am stubborn but not necessarily a genius. 🙂

Sandra Vargas
July 7, 2014 at 12:55 pm

This is a useless comment but I just needed to tell you that I loved that you used the word "Guesstimate." XD

Chris Peters
July 7, 2014 at 1:06 pm

No comment about word usage is useless. 😉

Samantha Alvarez
July 4, 2014 at 10:40 pm

WHO: mid-career to late-career Nurse Practitioners who are stressed and/or experiencing career/life burnout.
Demographics: Female, live/work in the USA, 25-65 years old, employed full-time, often 60+ hours per week, and juggling family, social and work commitments, personality characteristics: people-pleaser, anxious, perfectionist.
Note: I was part of this demographic until a 3 months ago when I quit my job to start a lifestyle business, so I know my hyper-specific demographic well.

WHAT problem do they need solved: Help! How do I stop feeling stressed and burned out when I don't have any time to add anything new to my schedule? Is there something I can do in 5 minutes or less and feel better immediately?

WHERE do they spend their time on the web: http://www.aanp.org (American Academy of Nurse Practitioners).

My 12 week goal is to get 500 signups to my "Burnout Recovery Bulletin." I am starting essentially from scratch, as I have less than 50 now.


July 4, 2014 at 7:47 pm

a) WHAT problem you are solving for them
my product helps them save their ass - quite literally. It helps alleviate discomfort or pain from prolonged sitting.

b) WHO your customer is
health and fitness conscious women

c) The #1 niche website WHERE your customers spend time on
was not able to discover this info from online research - my plan is to call a solid number of customers (shooting for 30) and ask them directly.

July 4, 2014 at 4:46 pm

What problem are we solving: How to keep employees engaged and motivated
Who: HR, training, organizational development leaders
Where do they spend their time: SHRM.org & ASTD.org

Chris Peters
July 4, 2014 at 11:48 am

a) WHAT problem you are solving for them

Allow web designers to set up a website that is easy for his clients/coworkers to maintain on their own, with safeguards in case they mess something up.

b) WHO your customer is

Worldwide, but particularly USA and UK
Works in either a web design consultancy or as an IT manager

c) The #1 niche website WHERE your customers spend time o

Using this research method, I could not find many niche sites, which was very disappointing. From plugging the email addresses into Facebook and Google+ (Google+ proved to be pretty valuable too, so don't count it out), I could only see links to the main social networks: Facebook, Google+, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn. All Facebook Group memberships were very niche and unrelated to my product.

If I had to guess niche websites, I would consider the ones that show up in search results when these folks are researching products and solutions to their problems:
CSS Tricks, StackOverflow, Smashing Magazine, Quora


I have been collecting contacts via a lead form at http://www.liveeditorcms.com for over a year now. I have a few hundred email addresses, and I was not using this information for anything other than feeling good when the contacts have been flooding in and feeling bad during a "down week." (What an emotional rollercoaster.)

After reading this post, I took a sample of 100 contacts from my database and used the process described in this wonderful post. I think it probably took 4 or 5 hours to do a thorough job and get through all the names.

I have really been able to feel more connected to these contacts as ACTUAL PEOPLE and think I want to do it for the rest of the names that I have in my database (as well as new ones that come in)!

In many cases, I got to see my contacts' current websites and see the who was doing well vs. struggling. (For example, many had WordPress installed and a site set up, but were providing a pretty awkward user experience.) I really wanted to help the ones who had crappy websites or were providing an amateurish experience. It motivates me to keep building my product just to think about it.

I cannot stress what a treasure trove of information you get if you start collecting email addresses even before you launch your product or service. In all honesty, I kind of expect my initial announcement of "we're ready!" to flop a little (it'll only be the 1.0 release of my software, which I will not be 100% happy with, I'm sure), but using Noah's method here has helped me to at least use this information to learn about the PEOPLE who are interested in my product. If they don't sign up as paying customers, at least I learned something from them. Isn't that what marketing is all about?

I already have ideas on how I can change my website to talk to these people differently. I can't wait to see what week 3 of this course holds, and I can't wait to start reaching out more. Thanks for offering this for free to get me off my ass and do something with my data!

July 4, 2014 at 7:50 am

1. People want to learn how to attract women properly.
2. ~30yr old single male
3. Dating blogs

Sandra Vargas
July 4, 2014 at 5:59 am

a) WHAT problem you are solving for them
A website for the businesses of people that want one but are facing some of the following problems:
* They have no idea where and how to start.
* Only have a vague idea of what they want to accomplish with their website.
* Don't have the time to try to learn to do it themselves.
* Don't have the money to hire an agency but don't want to risk going to another cheaper site and have that decision blow up in their face later.

b) WHO your customer is
Marketers, Managers, Founders
CA, United States

Books they read:
The Art of Non-Conformity, $100 Dollar Startup, The 4-Hour Workweek, books by Guy Kawasaki, The Tipping Point, 48 Laws of Power

Interested in topics like:
Startups, productivity, marketing, copywriting, social media, blogging.

c) The #1 niche website WHERE your customers spend time on
The Art of Non-Conformity

Other websites where they spend their time:
Startup vitamins
Ramit Sethi's IWT

James A
July 3, 2014 at 9:57 pm

What problem am I solving:

Despite an outward appearance that they have their act together, some people can be a mess internally, and wonder whether this is normal or not. Looking for validation that this is ok.

Who is my customer:

Male or female, 35-45, married, couple of kids. Successful professional career or business owner. Willingness to reflect on their lives privately. Finds it intriguing to read about other people’s lives and how their thought processes work.

#1 Niche website where they spend time: