Defining Your Ideal Client: An Essential Part of the Branding Process
Defining your target audience is a critical aspect of starting a business. Getting clear on exactly who your ideal customers are is key to creating content, engaging, and attracting that particular person to your service or product.
Many experts recommend that you create an AVATAR to define your ideal customer. This generally leads to something like Women from 18-40 who live in the suburbs, have a professional job, and earn more than $70,000 a year.
Now, this is all well and good, but how does it help you? What do you know about this person? What do they want out of life? What are their dreams? What are they struggling with? How does your product or service make a difference in their life? With an AVATAR, all you’ve done is create an undeveloped entity with an age range so extensive it covers teenagers who wear Forever 21 to women struggling with infertility. It’s not at all helpful in understanding your ideal customer through and through. And that’s what counts.
The critical word here is undeveloped. You must go deeper and understand your audience intimately. When your ideal client is a tangible thing, a person you already know and understand, you can more easily replicate their emotional state, define the problem they need you to solve, how they want to feel, and what you can do to get them there.
Knowing your customer is critical to your business. Otherwise, you’ll operate for years without understanding why you’re not attracting the right clients and why sales are not where you want them.
Aligning your ideal client persona with a tangible, living, breathing person you already know makes all your business activities easier and more effective, from dreaming up new products or services to producing new blog and video content.
If your friend, let’s call her Ally, for example, has all the elements of your ideal customer, it will be much more effective to think of her while building your business than of some nameless, faceless person whose true motivations you really don’t know. This is what I’ve done in my own business. I’ve defined my ideal customer as a businesswoman who is passionate about her work, has a collaborative attitude, and is looking for guidance. Her core values align with mine; she is personable, friendly, and easy to get along with and, most of all, understands the value of the investment in brand clarity, brand styling, and web development.
Let me guide you through the process of defining your ideal client. Answers to these questions will help your ideal client take shape.
Look at your business and ask yourself:
Why do you exist?
Who are the people that are going to buy your service or product?
Why might they want or need it?
How long will they need it for?
What problem are you solving?
If applicable, look at past clients
Go over your list and see which ones you loved working with, then write out
why. Was it because the client was open about communication, collaborative in nature, and in love with what you did? Or did you just bond over a football team and shopping at Nordstrom?
Look at your current and prospective clients’ habits
What do they do during the day? What information do they search for, and where and how are they doing it? Are they big social media buffs? Do they use Apple or Android? Are they always on their devices? Getting an idea of where your ideal client ‘hangs out’ online and what they are looking for helps you understand what they want and thus allows you to reach them more easily.
Consider who they truly are
Consider your clients’ goals, dreams, fears, struggles, interests, the things they’re passionate about. What is holding them back most in their lives? Identify what they want and give it to them. Or what problem they want to have fixed, and solve it for them.
What are their purchasing patterns
Are your clients impulsive shoppers, or do they do a lot of research before handing over their credit card? If they’re impulsive, make sure your website has a payment feature. If they like to take their time and look at all their options before buying, make sure your site allows comments and reviews.
Who do you have loved working with
If you could work with one particular section of consumers, what would it be? It’s important to love what you’re doing and who you work with because everything flows from that.
Thoughtful answers to these questions will help you create your ideal client persona. Now, who do you know that perfectly fits this profile? They can be anybody in your life, from mentor to relative.
Once you’ve got a name or two of people you know, you’ll find that you can easily direct your focus toward that person no matter what aspect of your business you’re working on. You may even find them to be a great source of free advice and feedback!
If you’re struggling with this exercise and defining your ideal client, reach out, I would be happy to guide you in the process.