3 Steps to Identify Your Ideal Client
As a business owner it is important to identify your ideal client because when you recognize who you want to work with, you can tailor your messaging to attract this person, ultimately gaining a new customer.
Now that you know what your business is (here’s the blog post if you missed it), we can focus on identifying your ideal client. So often as entrepreneurs, we work with any and everyone because we either:
- Need the money.
- Need to build our portfolio.
- Have no real idea of our value.
You know what you are providing, so now we can talk about who your ideal client is.
Have you ever thought one of the following:
- People only work with me once and never return
- I wish I could find customers that “get” the value I am trying to provide
- What can I do to attract more people to what I am offering
- My customers and I are on two different pages and I wish this was not the case
- I am not sure I want to work with _____ type of people
If you have ever had these thoughts, then it is time to take a good look at who your current customers are and how you can attract new ones. Take some time to write down 3 goals for your business or think of the goals you have for your business.. Are your current customers helping you reach your goals or are you totally off the mark. Most likely, it’s the later if you’re reading this post so read on!
1. Shift your thinking to start small. Niche down.
Your ideal client is not “everyone” if you have ever found yourself saying this, stop. I know everyone says this, but you want to find a niche. Being really specific will only help you market better because you are clear on who your target is. Now is the time to shift your thinking from wanting your product or service to be for everyone to having a product or service that is for a select group of people that truly value what you have to offer.
If you’re a web designer, who do you want to make designs for? Do you want to do design for photographers or bakers? Small businesses or large corporations? Women or men?
The more specific you are with your niche, the better you can tailor your messaging to what they need and ultimately gain a paying customer.
2. Take inventory of your past customers.
While your past customers may not be your ideal client, they can definitely give you context for who your ideal client is. Use your current and past customers as market research. Identify customers you really like working with and creating products for and write down what you liked about that experience. Then do the same with clients that weren’t your favorite. This will give you a great starting point for identifying your ideal client.
3. Create a word bank for your ideal client.
The following questions will help you create and discover who your ideal client is:
1. What is their gender?
Obviously you can work with both but remember we want to start small and as niche as possible for the purpose of creating messaging that converts. My ideal client is female. For weddings I am speaking to brides. While I photograph men, my ideal client and the person that I am talking to in all my messaging is female.
2. What is their age?
A 20 year old has a different mentality and pain points than a 40 year old. Age plays a major role in brand messaging and being clear on whether you are working with millennials or baby-boomers is a big deal. Ideally you want to keep the age gap around 10 years if possible. (ie. 24-34 years old)
3. Where do they live?
If your business is local then this question is important for you. Another way to think about this question is, does your ideal client live in an apartment or own a home. This question really opens up an important aspect of your ideal client because you can get a idea of their income and what is important to them.
4. What do they look like?
Literally, what does your ideal client look like. What is their religion and race? What type of clothes do they wear? For me my ideal client wears yoga pant and leggings. She’s also really laid back, and a christian. What are the physical attributes of your ideal client. The more clear you are on this, the better. Your brand depends on you knowing exactly who your ideal client is. When you see your ideal client, you should KNOW them.
5. What are their passions?
What is your ideal client passionate about? Is it family or education? Knitting or traveling? What are they searching for on the internet to fuel their passion and desires. What do they spend most of their time thinking about?
6. What is their personality like?
What are the adjectives that describe your ideal client? Are they funny and witty or shy and reserved.
7. What is their occupation?
This one is a little hard but you can discover two things from this question. This question will speak to income (and education) level. It will also help you tailor your product or service to something that they can use in their personal life. Let me explain, if you do screen printing and your ideal client is a nurse, you can create shirts with nurse sayings on them or you can start creating graphics for scrubs that will appeal to nurses.
8. Relationship status?
Are they married, single, divorced, engaged? As a wedding photographer, relationship status is a really important aspect of my ideal client.
9. Family status?
Does your ideal client have a family? Knowing this will allow you to connect with your ideal client on a deeper level.
10. What is their name?
This is the fun part! Just create a name so that your ideal client feels a little more real! The whole purpose of doing this is to help you identify who you want to work with and who they are as a person so your brand messaging truly resonates with them and converts them into a paying customer.
Now that you have the answers to these questions, highlight keywords that describe your ideal client. These are the words and topics that you will use as targeted messaging to ATTRACT your ideal client.
Later we will examine pain points and how the product or service we offer is going to solve a pain point our ideal client has.
Remember, your ideal client can certainly evolve but it’s important to know who your perfect customer is in order to attract exactly who you want to work with.