HOW MUCH DO YOU KNOW ABOUT YOUR IDEAL CLIENT?
It may seem a pretty stupid question - of course you know about your ideal client! But do you? I mean do you really? Because if you want to create a marketing strategy so that new clients are beating a path to your door, you'd better know as much as you possibly can.
In this digital world we live in now, it can sometimes be pretty easy to forget your clients. You're so busy thinking about how to make your service awesome so everyone will want it, that you kind of lose sight of the fact that your clients aren't everyone.
Don't worry, I totally get it. My clients are Mums who want to scale to consistent and predictable 5k months with their service based business. But when I first started out, I was a copywriter and I was targeting people who want to breathe life back into their marketing through great content - whether that be on their website, their blog, their emails, social media or all of the above.
The thing is, I came VERY close to making my blog all about being a freelance writer - kinda makes sense right? I mean I WAS one after all... But, who is likely to come looking for a blog about freelance writing? Probably other writers. Who is likely to hire me to write copy for them? Probably not other writers...duh. I forgot who my customers are!
So, ready to get to know your ideal client? Yay! Grab yourself a cuppa and let's do this...
1) WHO IS YOUR IDEAL CLIENT?
Much as we'd all love the whole world at our virtual doorstep, the fact is that whatever it is you have to offer is really only going to appeal to certain groups of people.
Chances are, if you're a dog groomer, even if you're the best darn groomer in the world, I'm not going to sign up to your service because I don't have a dog (side note - man, I WISH I had a dog!) That's a pretty basic example of course, but you get my drift.
You've got a great service to sell and an important message to tell people but dangit, you need to work out who those people are and go find them! Otherwise, you may as well just grab a megaphone, stand on a high hill and howl at the moon! Whatever you want to do in your private life is none of my business but I don't recommend it as a marketing strategy...
IDEAL CLIENT - TIP:
Create a profile of your ideal client, using as much detail as you can. Building a clear picture of who they are will help you to focus your brand and your messaging.
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2) WHERE IS YOUR IDEAL CLIENT?
Now I'm not encouraging you to start hanging out around people's houses and following them to work. What I am saying is that you need to think about where your ideal clients are likely to hang out online (or offline for that matter) so that you know where to put all your great marketing - whether that be in the form of ads, blogging, or just a well placed business card.
Our groomer wants to do a bit of marketing. Her first idea is to put an advert in the local paper. Should get a few bites! (Sorry, I can't resist a good pun) Before handing over her £150 she decides to brain storm a few other ideas first using the customer profile that she created when she set up the business (clever lady!) She knows who her ideal client is. They're an animal lover, a homeowner, a parent and a dog owner (well, duh). So where are the best places to catch the eye of such a person? Let's think...
Locally: the local dog walkers clubs, the vet, pet shops, kennels...
Online: Any forums for pet owners? Facebook groups, blogs etc...
Suddenly dear reader, our groomer realises that her £150 may be better off spent with the local dog lovers' magazine. It only has half the readers of the local paper but ALL of them match her ideal client profile so they're much more likely to be interested in using her grooming service.
IDEAL CLIENT TIP:
Have a think about your own business and jot down all of the likely places your ideal client may hang out, whether it be online, offline or both. Now make sure you include those places in your marketing plan.
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3) WHAT DOES YOUR IDEAL CLIENT NEED?
Your clients may tell you what they want but is this actually what they need? To quote Henry Ford, 'If I had asked people what they wanted they would have said faster horses'.
Do you know the problems that your ideal clients are facing and what you can do to solve them? To use my dog grooming example again, a customer may have a dog that won't stop scratching. They may have concluded that the only solution is to have their dog's claws removed. Won't they be delighted when you offer them flea powder instead?
To find out what your clients need, it's all about asking the right questions. Instead of asking 'what do you want', why not ask 'what's your biggest <your niche> problem right now?'
IDEAL CLIENT TIP:
In step 2 you jotted down where your ideal clients tend to hang out online. Why not go hang out there yourself and see what they're saying? Read the blogs they're reading, go to Amazon and look at the reviews they're leaving. What problems do they talk about and what language do they use to describe them? Doesn't it make sense to use that language in your own messaging?
4) WHAT IS YOUR IDEAL CLIENT THINKING?
This may seem a tall order, but stay with me... I'll take you back to my dog grooming example to show you what I mean. You may have 3 potential clients who all need a dog groomer. They're all dog owners (good start!) but that doesn't mean you should be giving them all the same message. Here's what I mean...
has just bought his first dog and has no idea that he even needs to groom it - 'they groom themselves don't they?'
is actually looking for a groomer and is checking out your website trying to decide whether to add you to her shortlist - 'why should I pick these guys - what can they offer that no one else can?'
has actually had their dog groomed by you before and you did a pretty decent job (well done!). It's coming round to grooming time again and they're unsure whether to go back to you or try someone new... 'Why should I come back?'
This is where so many businesses let themselves down. They're all about the big sell - the flashy headline, the once in a lifetime offer. But once the customer is through the door, suddenly the facade seems to fall and the eagerness to impress disappears. DON'T MAKE THIS MISTAKE!! Your existing clients are the life blood of your business. They're the ones who will keep coming back (without the need for once in a lifetime offers or flashy headlines - just because you did a good job and they trust you). They're the ones who will tell their friends about you or give you a good rating - which is 100 times more valuable than ANY flashy headline OR once in a life time offer...
5) WHY SHOULD YOUR IDEAL CLIENT CHOOSE YOU?
You've done all your homework. You know who your ideal client is, you know where they hang out and what problems they need solving. So, why aren't they banging down your door? Now you have to show them that when it comes to a choice between you and your competitors, you're the one they should go for.
How? Well there are lots of ways - you could make sure your prices are the most competitive, you could fill your website with testimonials from happy clients proclaiming how great you are, you could even tempt people with a free gift or incentive. These are all great tactics - but they're also tactics that your competitors are using too.
So you need to find a way to stand out. Time for the dog groomer again? Yes! Our friendly local dog groomer isn't the only one in town and she's a little worried because all of her prospective customers are going to 'Groomin' Marvelous' (ps gotta say I'm pretty chuffed with that name - if you reckon you can do better than let me know your ideas in the comments!) down the road because of their handy proximity to the local park. Hmmm.... how to stand out?
Well, our groomer may not be near the park but she IS just above a little café. Perhaps she could do a deal with the café owner to offer her customers a free coffee with every grooming? BOOM! Yep, that's the sound of customers banging down her door because she's the only groomer in town where customers can relax with a free cuppa while they wait. What a bargain!
IDEAL CLIENT TIP:
Have a think about how you can stand out. Look at your competitors - is there anything that you can add to your service that they don't do? Can't hurt to re-visit their comments section to see if there are certain questions or complaints that keep cropping up...
Follow these 5 steps, complete your Ideal Customer Template & then review your marketing plan. You'll achieve greater focus and I'm absolutely sure, greater success!
Know anyone else who might find this post helpful? Please do share it with them and share your thoughts in the comments below!
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