When I first started my business over 8 years ago I was sure that just about every business owner could use some business cards or flyers. Hell, my ideal client was any adult with a heartbeat. I was seriously slangin’ business cards and flyers to anyone who would listen! I had no clue that finding my niche and audience was of any importance but, over time you learn new things and when you know better you do better.
Finding your ideal client is everything and once you do you’ll enter a sweet spot. Why? Because you will know who you are talking to in your brand messaging. You will know what to say, but most importantly you will know what your audience wants, need and desire. Finding out who your ideal client is can be challenging, frustrating and intimidating but if you skipped this you will be running in circles going nowhere fast.
Let me define what an ideal client is for those of us who overthink things, (I’m guilty)! Your ideal client is someone who gets their exact needs met by what you’re offering. It’s that simple. BUT, most companies break this down even further in order to develop a true, comprehensive understanding of their customer.
Let me use my example, I was targeting an adult with a heartbeat (don’t laugh) but I had to get really clear on the type of individuals I want to work with. I want to work with small business owners, entrepreneurs, and non-profits who have a need for the services I offer. Who need marketing collateral regularly and possibly a graphic designer on retainer. AND furthermore, I want to work with clients that have the budget for marketing who can afford me.
So, yes, my ideal client is someone who benefits from my products and/or services but it is also someone I want to target with my marketing and promotion offers based on my current business situation/need. And it’s possible that the clients you are working with now are not your ideal clients and you’re ready to shift and start targeting a new niche. In a perfect world, your ideal clients will match both of these aspects. They’re someone who sees a ton of value in your or service, but will also help push your business in the direction you want to go.
So, do you know who your ideal client is?
Who do you enjoy doing business with? What niche?
What qualities do they have?
What is their current need?
What type of financial investment do you require?
What type of educational background do they need to have?
You may be asking yourself why does any of this even matter, I’m in business, everybody is my client (Some people think like this). If you think like this, you have a lot of work to do and you will end up wasting tons of money.
Knowing and understanding who your client is will allow you to get clear with who you are targeting, your messaging, fill your pipeline with qualified leads and most importantly helps your potential clients self-identify themselves and want to approach and connect with you. Knowing who you serve gives you confidence and allows you to show up and show out as the expert. You’ll be able to screen prospective clients with ease so you don’t end up working with people who are not a good fit.
Check out these 5 tips to finding your ideal client:
1. Know and understand your product and/or service
You need to have a solid understanding of your business. Not just knowing and understanding your financials or how to put a website together… you need to have deep knowledge of your business from your customers perspective. Get clear on what you offer, the problems you solve, the challenges you address, why your better than the competition and what is the one thing that sets you apart.
Know who really benefits the most from what you offer and be honest. Just determining who you want to benefit and those who are finding the most value and benfitting are two different things.
2. What are your goals?
Once you’ve sat back and looked at your offerings through the eyes of your customer and you have identified who is actually buying from you it’s time to set some goals. Look at what you are currently doing, how you are doing it and ask yourself are you happy with the type of clients you’ve been attracting? Say you’ve been a hairstylist and your current customers can only afford certain type of services but you want to partner with movie executives to start working on movies sets… think of a way you would go about finding those individuals to build those relationships to get an opportunity to start working on movie sets.
Like I mentioned above, the clients you currently serve may not be your ideal clients and that is ok. Maybe you are in a space where you want to shift your focus and offer new services that your current clientele cannot afford. It’s never too late to shift or outline new goals. Determining what you want to achieve and who you want to work with you in business will help you alter your strategies on how you target and work with your clients.
3. How have you worked in the past?
You know what they say, the past has the potential to predict the future. Your past interactions with customers can reveal a lot – the good, the bad, and the ugly! You can see how you excelled at something and see what mistakes you’ve made. First take stock the mistakes so that you don’t make them again, then take stock of all your successes and how you use them to help you prepare and scale to take your business to the next level.
4. Create a customer profile
Now you’re ready to hit the ground running. You’ve done all of your research, you know who you want to work with, you know how you want to work with them, now it’s time to outline everything and create a plan for those clients to take action. This is where you customer profile comes into play. This profile will detail all of the pertinent information about who you are targeting. This profile will cover important questions that speak to your client demographics and what influences their buying decisions. The more you know, the more powerful you’ll be.
There is always more than one way to skin a cat. One of the most effective ways to get answers to your questions is to ask your clients, interview them, get in their heads. Powerful people ask powerful questions. In doing so you will be able to learn what they love about you, what they don’t like as well as what inspired them to choose you over the competition. This information is invaluable and can be a game-changer.
5. Don’t let the momentum die
Too often as business owners we are excited about something, put in all this work to then not use the information we’ve collected and have resorted back to our old ways. Don’t do that! If your goal is to shift your focus, change your service offerings, change your ideal clients you need to keep all the information you collected at the top of mind. It should guide you and influence every move and decision you make..
Knowing who your audience is, not engaging or attracting them just isn’t going to cut it. Defining who your ideal is and doing nothing with the information won’t get you the results you are seeking. You need to take that information, know it inside and out, take action, get to work!
In business, there will be a lot of things we don’t enjoy doing but they are necessary to our growth and success. It is important to keep growing, improving services and letting other services go that no longer serve you, your clients and your goals. Use the steps above to understand who your ideal client is, how to find and understand them, know their wants and needs and ultimately how to attract and serve them.
Teanna LaNise is a Branding and Marketing Strategist, the BrandSlayer behind Kreative Eye Design and the Author of The Branding Experience. Teanna helps Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners who can’t figure out how to brand and market their business.
Through her bad ass branding expertise, marketing genius and get it done strategies she's here to teach, inspire and shake up your approach to creating and marketing a brand you love.
When she's not using her creative super-powers, you can find her curled up reading a book, at Starbucks enjoying a Carmel Macchiato or spending time with her children.
Meet Teanna, and get ready to take your brand to the next level @www.TeannaLanise.com