Q for you:
Do you know who your ideal clients are? If any of the following is true for you, then my guess is that you don’t know your ideal clients as well as you think:
- You have trouble knowing where to connect with the people you’d most like to spend money with you
- You aren’t sure where your marketing dollars will be best spent (or feel a little nervous every time you start, say, a Facebook ad campaign)
- You attend networking events, join Facebook groups, and forge connections that never turn into sales or clients
- You write and rewrite your copy, never sure if it’s quite right
- You constantly pull in clientele that makes your heart sink (or just isn’t a perfect fit)
- You have a higher return or refund rate than you think seems reasonable, and/or
- You have no idea where to concentrate your social media efforts
Sound like you? Download this fun sheet, and let’s get clear on your who your ideal client is, so you can get your business humming again.
Why is having an ideal client even important?
One, if you can manage to attract people you’re going to enjoy working with, your quality of life goes up. Think about this: We spend one-third of our lives sleeping, and nearly one half of our waking hours working. How many hours of the non-sleeping, non-working hours do you spend thinking about work? It doesn’t leave a lot of room for living. So if you could ensure that 80% or more of the people you work with are the kinds of people who make work easy, who maybe even add joy to your life, and who love and rave about your product, wouldn’t you want to do that?
Two, when you know exactly whom you want to work with, you can concentrate all your efforts on wooing that “person,” rather than trying to sell your product. This makes marketing easier, cheaper, faster, and more fun. How? Well, when you want to woo someone in the dating sphere, you make yourself look better; you find out what he or she is interested in and what you have in common; you leave a trail of breadcrumbs for that person to find you, or you discover you have the courage to make a move yourself because you’re sure it will be worth it. All is the same for marketing your business when you know whom you want to work with. You go in knowing what’s likely to yield a return, and 9 times out of 10, you’re right.
Who do you want to work with?
This is the question you need to ask yourself. Ever heard of vision casting? This is the exercise I want you to do right now. I want you to close your eyes, and imagine reading your perfect, 5-start review. What does it say? More importantly, who wrote it?
We all have those “dream” clients we’d like to land. Maybe we think that their approval will validate us; maybe we just know they’d be a joy to work with, or that they have the money to spend on a premium product. At this point, the most important thing is to get clear on the “who” we’re imagining.
Write the answer (or answers) down on the simple ideal customer fun sheet I’ve created for you.
What does that person care about?
If you’re B2B, this is going to be a slightly different question, which I’ll get to in a minute. But if your dream customer is a specific toddler mom, or specific first-time homebuyer, or a specific solopreneur or pet owner or millennial or hiker, you need to ask yourself, “What does this person care about?”
This question goes beyond business. Does your perfect client care about sustainability, for instance? Eating organically? Looking good? Community over competition? Giving back to a particular social cause? Adventure? Do they care about fame, money, popularity, going viral? Are they more likely to use Apple or Windows products? Wear TOMS or Nike? Hang out at the Crossfit gym or the local farmers’ market?
The answers to these questions inform so, so, so much when it comes to where you put your marketing efforts, from where you stage your photos to what you wear to conferences. More on that later. For now, brainstorm everything that comes to mind for this question on your ideal customer fun sheet. Try to come up with at least 10 ideas.
If you’re B2B, you’ll want to know what the company you want to work with cares about. What’s their mission? What practices do they maintain inside, from the size and length of their team meetings to their recycling programs? What initiatives have they participated in recently? And who headed those up? Was it the CEO, the branch manager, the employees? Who is the exact audience you need to get in front of to sell your product, and what does that audience care about?
Where does that person hang out?
When you know what your ideal client cares about, it becomes a lot easier to figure out where he or she will congregate with like-minded people. For instance, my ideal client is very likely to attend Creative Mornings networking events, but unlikely to attend a BNI group. Why? Because Creative Mornings is creative; it’s about community; everyone benefits greatly from every event; and breakfast and coffee are served. Since my ideal client loves community, is eager to learn and make friends, and loves food (especially if it’s local and delicious), it’s the perfect spot to hang out.
Based on what your ideal client cares about, what activities will he or she be drawn to? Where will he or she shop? What kind of car will he drive? How will she stay healthy? What magazines will she choose to read while she’s waiting at the dentist’s office? Which authors’ books is he likely to buy without even having to read the synopsis on the back cover?
All of this information is useful not only for deciding where you can advertise or “show up,” but also for choosing what language to use, which features to highlight, and what benefits you can paint a picture of your ideal client receiving when they work with you. Write your ideas on your ideal customer fun sheet.
How do you get your ideal clients to notice you?
By pooling all the information you’ve gathered so far, identifying the areas where you have the most opportunity to improve your current strategy, and setting up a measurable plan with specific goals. Sound like a lot? It is. That’s why we’re going to reverse engineer it:
- What is the outcome you want?
- What’s the last thing that needs to happen before that outcome can be a reality?
- What’s the step that needs to happen before that?
- What information have you gathered so far that will make this step a success?
Keep asking yourself, “What needs to happen before that?” and “What information do I have that will make that step effective?” until you are at the very first step you need to take. Then follow the map you’ve created with exact steps that lead to the outcome that you want. Write out the steps in first-to-last order on in your fun sheet notes.
When do you know you’re rock solid on who your ideal client is?
You’re never going to know your ideal client completely, just like you’re never going to know your best friend or significant other completely, even if you know those people really, really well. People, technology, and politics change so fast that there’s always going to be something new for you to learn. However, there are a couple of yardsticks I like to use for measuring success:
- When you have too many ideas for what to post on social media, or on your blog or in your newsletter, then you probably know your idea client pretty well. Businesses that know the questions their clients ask, what they’re worried about, what excites them, and what makes them want to hit “like” or “share” because it makes them feel like part of a community… Those businesses are in-tune with their ideal clients, and usually have an abundance of material to work with for social posts.
- When you’re excited about 80% of the inquiries that come in, and only periodically think, “This person/business might not be the best fit,” then you probably know your ideal client pretty well. Like attracts like, right? If you can position your business as the perfect fit for a particular group of people, and really speak to those people in their language, with colors and images and music and ideas that spark their interest, those people will be drawn to you. The people who don’t resonate with your positioning will be less likely to inquire, resulting in more work from the people you actually want to work with.
Where is the area where you’re “grayest” on your ideal client? What market research could you conduct (even if it’s just people watching) that could help you glean more information in this area? Also, what eye-opening moments did you have as you read through this post and fill out your fun sheet? Let me know! Take a snapshot of your fun sheet and share it with me over on Instagram (tag @alexisthegreek), and tell me in the caption what your ah-ha! moments were. Can’t wait to see!