Most people loosely know who their ideal client is…. But knowing loosely isn’t going to help your marketing efforts in the least. Let’s start off on giving a little definition on to what an ideal client is. When you know EXACTLY who your ideal client is, you can streamline your marketing efforts and create a brand that speaks directly to those you are targeting (and repels the rest, awesome, right?)
Yes, we all dream of the easiest/kindest/most gracious human being who is obsessed with us and worships the ground that we walk on, but that definition isn’t getting us any closer to actually defining who this dream client actually is. So what is an ideal client when it comes to running a business, it is a person who’s exact needs are met through your offer. That’s right, you are fulfilling their exact needs through your offer.
When you think of it, it’s someone who obviously benefits or gets value from your product or service but it’s also someone you most WANT to target with your marketing based on your current business goals. The perfect ideal client would be someone who values what you have to offer and helps move your business forward in the direction you want to go.
It starts with you. I know that might feel funny because we’re trying to figure out who your perfect client is but you have to first be able to KNOW what you do best and who it is your business is serving. What actually benefits the most from your business? You can’t just define who you want to find the most benefit, you have to specific who is currently benefiting the most from your offer.
It’s not enough to just say, “I’m a wedding photographer.” You want to specify a little clearer so that you can already start attracting and repelling. “I’m a Wisconsin wedding photographer focused on couples who are planning marriages more beautiful than their weddings.” Right here I am listing: my geographic area, I am letting people know that I work with more laidback couples who believe in the commitment of marriage.
Study your industry. Yes, this means checking out the competition. No, competition isn’t always a bad thing. You want to make sure you know what you’re up against and where there are potential gaps in the industry. When I first was starting out I wanted to simply blend in. I did everything to appear like everyone else in the industry and thus, I was constantly price shop.
Why? Because at the time price was the only differentiator! When you can see where you fit into the puzzle and carve out a niche market for yourself, you’ll be able to decipher WHO you are speaking to and be able to speak a little clearer. The riches are in the niches, my friend.
Next: look at your business and set goals. Are you serving people you LOVE right now? Awesome. If you’re not it’s time to start strategizing on how you can target people who value your business. Your current clients? They might not be your ideal clients. When you can set clear goals for your business it helps people become more black and white in terms of if moving forward with them is the best fit for you and where you want to ideally head.
Let’s look at what you’ve already done! Looking at your past clients can help us see a lot about who you should be working with. Go through mistakes, look at clients that turned into hard clients, analyze your FAVORITE clients. It’s easy to chalk up any poor client experiences with it being a challenging client but chances are you failed to see the red flags or missed out on setting expectations with them. Think back to your most FAVORITE client ever. What did you love about them? What made them the perfect fit for you? What traits did they have that you valued? Make an outline of the good, bad, and ugly so that you can sort through your past interactions and see more clearly who it is you should be targeting.
Now that you know what you do, who you serve, and you’ve outlined your past interactions, it’s time to build your customer avatar or an ideal client profile. The more you know, the more powerful you will be and the more targeted your marketing messaging can be. You want to think about things like: where do they live, what influences their buying decisions, where do they hang out online, what do they value, what age are they, etc. Find out as much as you possibly can about your particular customer.
It’s time to determine the BEST approach for communicating how your product/service/offer can help your audience and how you can incorporate that messaging into your marketing so it doesn’t sound salesy but it reaches them in a way that inspires them to take action.