Defining Your Ideal Client
My strong recommendation would be to listen to Laura Coleman's AMAZING audio meditations here before watching the video or doing any work on defining your Ideal Client as it will get you set up in the right head space and ensure you get the most out of this exercise.
LISTEN FIRST | Your pre-training Meditation
YOUR IDEAL CLIENT
Welcome to part four of this mini series where we’ll be looking at developing your ideal client profile. By the end of this short tutorial you’ll have an understanding of what an ideal client is, how to identify and profile them and the real reason why you need one.
WHAT IS AN IDEAL CLIENT PROFILE?
There’s lots of talk in the business world about understanding your ideal client profile and developing a profile but what the hell is it? Your ideal client is the one perfect human being who you would want to attract to your business; the person you would want to work with over and over again.
They are someone who shares your values and finds a great connection with you (and you with them), they are a pleasure to work with, they pay on time and don’t quibble on cost because they know you’re worth and they value you.
They often have a network of like minded people and they are the kind of person who champions others so when a friend asks for “insert your profession here” you are the person they recommend and they do it with such fervour and enthusiasm that their friend wouldn’t possibly want to use anyone else.
They buy from you frequently and they are a delight to work with. Your ideal client is NOT, for example, a group of women aged between 35 and 50. This is too vague. To really know your ideal client, to really understand them and what they need, you must collate a detailed and specific profile of their personality, lifestyle, hangouts and worldview.
To make things easier you can base your ideal client on your favourite client to work with if that helps as it will give you some guidance. But when it comes to defining the profile, they should have just one age, one personality and one set of values, one lifestyle and one set of problems.
This is not a general selection of people that you'd like to work with, this is your absolute IDEAL client so don’t be afraid to get specific. I know it’s scary to think so strictly about who you want to work with because you feel that in doing this you will alienate so many others. But you won’t.
Imagine it like a target where your ideal client is the bullseye but there are plenty of rings around the bullseye that represent those who match many of the traits of your ideal client but aren’t quite spot on.
There’s absolutely no reason why you would alienate these people. The only one you will truly disregard are the ones you really don’t want to work with anyway and that’s actually a really positive thing. So, when you start compiling your ideal client profile, get super specific on the details.
I’ll be covering the various factors that you need to consider when putting together your profile. These are broken down into demographics, interests and psychographics.
The demographics are the facts, the interests include hobbies, behaviours and hangouts and the psychographics are the more emotional and philosophical factors.
The demographics include: age, gender and or gender identification if specifically relevant to your offer, household income, location, profession and educational level. These are really useful when figuring out how to pitch your message, the language to use, the experiences to share and the type of content that might interest your ideal following.
Their interests are really useful in figuring out where to find them and how to open a dialogue with them. These include hobbies, interests, places they hang out online and in person as well as their behaviours and centres of influence. What the heck is a centre of influence I hear you cry.
Their centres of influence are the other businesses that also resonate with your ideal client. The ones who are targeting the same ideal client as you. There are competitive COIs and non-competitive COIs. Once identified, you can utilise each one differently.
The competitive COIs are your direct competition, others businesses like yours selling the same or a similar product or service. You can study their following, read comments on their posts and get a feel for what their followers are asking for and responding to.
The non-competitive COIs are an awesome resource that are so underused in business. These are other businesses who share the same ideal client as you but offer an entirely different product or service.
So for me as a brand strategist and photographer I might consider graphic designers, brand designers, web developers and style consultants. These are all likely to have a similar following to myself.
But how is this information useful?
You can follow them and monitor the comments on their posts. The people commenting are your people so if there is something they comment on that you feel you can help with then reply by being of service. Let them get to know you, link to your business pages if it doesn't feel too salesy but generally just be helpful and get on their radar.
Or you could actually build a relationship with the COIs directly, arrange collaborations, do a social take over, write blog posts for each other, do a live together or get on a podcast. These are all ways to get in front of your COIs audience where you are likely to find a number of your own ideal clients hanging out.
Tapping in to the power of your COIs is a really great way to grow your own following and connect with even more of your ideal client. So that’s the demographics and the interests but finally and perhaps the most powerful set of data.
Now these include; values and beliefs, worldview, where they are now and where they hope to be so their goals and dreams as well as their fears, their pain points and the barriers to making the purchase . This is the place where you can really help them with your product or service.
When you fully understand your ideal clients plight, what they need, what they struggle with and what they dream of, that's when you can start creating content that really resonates with them and help them to feel completely understood by you. Have you ever read an ad that you felt spoke directly to you, like they were inside your head reading your thoughts. That’s the mark of a great marketer, of someone who really understands their ideal client.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO HAVE A WELL DEFINED PROFILE?
It’s easy to fall into the trap of assuming that you need an ideal client profile to tell you how to show up online. That you should in some way tailor your visibility to what your audience wants.. But for me this is absolute BS.
The reason I do most of the brand development work with my 121 clients BEFORE the ideal client profile is because your brand should be born of you and not too heavily influenced by who your ideal client is and what you think they’ll best respond to. In doing this work, most women in business will realise that their ideal client is actually a reflection of themselves. So when you realise this then it suddenly makes perfect sense to just show up as your wonderful self!
The idea of this profile isn’t to determine how you should show up but more to get a detailed picture of what your ideal client needs and how to most effectively communicate to them that what you sell is exactly that.
Your ideal client profile shouldn’t work to pigeonhole you into showing up as a version of yourself that’s most appealing to your ideal client. In doing this work it should set you free from any pretences. It should allow you to give yourself permission to show up as your authentic self.
It also allows you to deeply understand the plight of your ideal paying customer, what they need to hear from you that will allow them to drop the barriers and make the purchase.
HOW DO YOU USE THE INFORMATION IN YOUR IDEAL CLIENT PROFILE?
This profile will provide a wealth of information about your ideal client. Once you have this understanding of them, in essence, it becomes very straight forward communicating your offer to them. Not only this but you’ll also know where they hang out online so you can stop wasting time on platforms where they’re not.
You can get right in front of them with a message and delivery that will instantly resonate. You can discuss topics that are of interest and value to them and you can connect over language and energy.
So grab your pen and paper and start fleshing out your ideal client profile using these factors;
Firstly the demographics;
- Gender (or gender identification)
- Educational level
- Household income
Next we have the interests, which are;
- Hobbies and interests
- Where they hang out online
- Where they hang out in person
- Centres of Influence
- Language they feel comfortable with
- How they consume their content; written, audio like podcasts, visual like video and photos etc.
And finally you’ll need to get really in depth with the psychographics, which are;
- Specific goals
- Pain points and problems
- Any an objections or barriers they may have to working with you or buying your product
So hopefully now you are armed with an understanding of what an ideal client profile is, how to detail your ideal client profile and why it’s so important to have one and you’re ready to set about the work of creating a profile of your own.
Now the last thing I want to add is that it’s alright to have more than one if you offer very different products or services but my recommendation would generally be to target just one on each social channel. This is because if your target sphere is too broad and you're trying to address too many different pain points then you’ll end up talking to no one. Nothing you say will resonate and your message will fall flat.
I hope you’ve found this super useful and if you’d like to know more, have any questions or would like to work with me then you’ll find a link to my website alongside the video.
The next film will take you on to understanding your brand message so come join me for the fifth and final part of this mini series.
“If you are looking for some empowerment to move your business to the place you wish for it to be...talk to Lauren. 40 minutes of GOLD is what I say!”
– Hanna, Hannacake –