Know Who Your Ideal Client Is
How often have you said that “everyone is my target market”? Be honest! This is a particular bugbear of mine as I hear business colleagues say this all the time. They believe - mistakenly - that if you cast a very wide net, then you’re more likely to catch more fish. In fact, the opposite happens when it comes to marketing.
Focusing your marketing from ‘everyone and anyone’ to the ‘ideal person who is likely to be interested in your product or service’ saves so much time, money and energy because you’re not trying to sell to the wrong people. This is because to market to everyone, your message needs to be fairly generic. That means your marketing is not talking to your ideal client about solving a specific problem that s/he is experiencing. Your ideal client can’t able say “Yes, that’s me! That’s exactly the problem I’m trying to solve!” Narrowing down your focus allows you to have a message that truly resonates with those people who you love to work with, which in turn leads to more sales.
So being clear on your ideal client is essential to your branding. All of your marketing activities should be addressed to and ‘speak to’ this person. Prospects will often self-select themselves as ready to buy your products and services, even before you have a sales conversation, simply because they recognise themselves in your messaging. Your message communicates your benefits and value, which in turn makes your product/ service less about price and much more about how it helps them.
There’s a big benefit to you too! As part of the brand building process, I help my clients to figure out who they really want to be working with. After all, you should be enjoying your business and the quality of your clients has a direct impact on your lifestyle. Defining your ideal client may seem like a difficult task, but remembering these points will make this much easier:
- It is an on-going process, so it does not have to be perfect. Your ideal client will evolve as you and your business mature.
- You can always update your ideal client profile as you learn more about your prospects.
- You’ve got to start somewhere, and even a basic profile will help your marketing.
Here are 6 tips for helping you to find your ideal clients:
1. Get Crystal Clear About Who Your Ideal Client Is
If you want great clients - clients you love and who love you - you have to get crystal clear on exactly who those clients are. You need to know everything you can about them so you can clearly communicate who you best serve not only to your audience, but also to your referral partners and strategic partners. It’s easier for someone to identify themselves as a good fit for your products, programs, and services if they know who is a good fit to work with you. Likewise, it’s easier for others to refer business to you if they know who would be a great fit for your service, product, or program.
2. Describe Your Ideal Client In Detail
Write out a detailed description of your ideal client, describing where they live, their lifestyle, their family, where they shop, their aspirations for the future… so that you have a clear image in your mind’s eye of what s/he is like. What are their biggest problems, challenges, and needs? Your ideal client may be somebody or a business you already know. You could find pictures of your ideal client and stick these on your vision board, inside your diary, on your noticeboard…
3. They’re Probably Quite A Lot Like You!
If you’re having trouble profiling your ideal client, look at yourself. In many cases, the ideal client for a service professional or consultant is very much like you. I know mine is. Your expertise is based on your own experiences and journey, and the people you can help or serve the best and easiest are most likely to be those who are at the start of the same journey you went through and want to achieve the same results as you have.
4. Know Who You Don’t Want To Work With
Look at your least favourite clients and customers from the past year and identify the common traits between them — did they all say the same thing, think the same way, have the same skill level, work in the same industry, etc. Put together a ‘red flag’ profile, the opposite of an ideal client profile, to help you identify those less-than-ideal clients. If one of your red flags show up in the sales conversation, dig a little deeper to uncover their story in that area before graciously ending the conversation and referring them elsewhere.
5. Your Ideal Client Is The Perfect Subset Of Who You Serve
Don’t be afraid to define an ideal client. Doing so doesn’t mean you’re immediately going to cut off everyone who doesn’t fit the profile exactly and turn down new business if you need it. Creating an ideal client profile just means that you know who is an absolute perfect fit for what you offer and you tailor your marketing and new business acquisition efforts to that specific profile. You may still work with clients and invite new customers to buy who fit just a portion of the profile. For example, you may be a coach who works with women entrepreneurs in the start up phase, and while women are you main target, you do also work with men starting new businesses who resonate with your approach and message.
6. Now Go Out and Find Them!
No one can hire you, buy from you, or pay you in any way if they don’t know you exist. So it’s your job, as a business owner, to find your market, customers, and clients, and let them know that you exist and that you can help. This means getting out to networking events and talking to the people you meet about your ideal client. And following your ideal client on Twitter and Facebook, and starting a conversation with them. What’s so great about social media is that it makes finding and engaging with your ideal clients so easy.
Who is your ideal client? How has this changed since you first started your business? What are your 'red flags?' I love hearing from my readers so do post your thoughts in the comments box below.
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