The Blog

04/04/16

Why You Should Define Your Ideal Client

Everyone knows that you as a business should have a target market. Here’s why I believe that you should go farther than that and define one ideal client.

Why You Should Define Your Ideal Client

01 What is an ideal client?

Before we can talk about how important it is to define an ideal client, we have to establish what an ideal client actually is! I define it as the person that you would consider the most enjoyable client to work with, someone who not only loves what you sell, but loves and identifies with your process, values, style, mission, and communication style. This person is someone who has been defined down to the tiniest details of who they are, what they believe, what they like, and where they live; someone who you would consider it a dream to work with and/or sell to! They are the one person you’ll focus on as you think about marketing, products, and client interaction.

Now that we’ve defined who an ideal client is, why is it so important to define them?

02 Defining your ideal client gives you focus in what you sell

The fundamental question any person should ask themselves when they decide to start a business is “What problem does my ideal client have that I can solve with what I’m selling?”

Everything you do in your business should be for the client – even when you’re making a profit off of that person. When you are client-oriented you’ll appeal to your client base by being there solely to serve them. Once they know that you’re there for them, they’ll actually WANT to give you money! So with that said, you should consider your client’s need when thinking about what to sell.

When you are client-oriented you’ll appeal to your client base by being there solely to serve them.
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For example, I’m a graphic designer and developer. I create things from websites to logos to print products. But instead of just listing off all of things I can offer to potential clients, I offer them specific services (mainly branding in one form or another) that are aimed to help them define their business and give them the tools to succeed within it. All of a sudden the focus is not on me and what I will offer them – the focus is their need and how I can help them. Even though in both cases I’m offering the same base product, the way in which I present my services and what I include in all of it is deeply impacted by my ideal client’s problem that needs to be solved – that they have a small business that needs a solid brand and a beautiful and honest visual representation of that brand. I’m not selling them a website, logo, and brand strategy – I’m giving them the solution to their problem.

03 Defining your ideal client shows you who to market to

Your business can’t be all things to all people.
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Since you want to work with your ideal client, you need to market to them! Many times people will try to market to a wide demographic, thinking that by trying to appeal to everyone they will pull in more business. The fact of the matter is that the more people you try to appeal to, the less people will be drawn to you. Your business can’t be all things to all people. We as humans like things that we can identify with on a very personal level, and a business that creates a marketing campaign based on creating direct, personal appeal is going to do far better than a business that creates a broad marketing campaign based on general appeal. (Of course that’s not to say that all broad-based marketing is bad – but especially for small businesses and niche markets personal and direct marketing is going to be a lot more effective)

You have to accept that some people will love your business, while some people won’t. And that’s okay! A small, community-oriented, hipster coffee shop doesn’t want to appeal to people who prefer chain restaurants and standardized service. They have a very specific target market, and that target market is who they’re going to focus on.

You have to accept that some people will love your business, while some people won’t. And that’s okay!
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When you accept that not all people will love your business, and being to market to your specific ideal client, you will find that the people who love your business will TRULY love it, since they identify so strongly with everything about it.

04 Defining your ideal client shows you where you should be marketing

What social media platforms does your ideal client use? How do they like to communicate with their friends? Where do they spend most of their time when they’re online? Do they prefer the printed word to the internet? When you know these things, you’ll be able to create a very specific marketing campaign, where you focus your efforts in the places where you know your ideal clients are.

Focusing your marketing efforts in places where you know your ideal clients are makes it easier for them to find you (and therefore your solution to their problem!), and means that you can spend your time and money in a very focused, and more productive, way. Casting your marketing net in all places hoping to catch a certain person is not a smart business choice. Go to where the client is, and then cast that net!

05 How you can define your ideal client

So it’s important to define your ideal client. But how should you do it? Think of it as truly creating a person, like a writer would create a character for their book. Answer questions like “Where do they live?” “What do they believe?” “What do they do in their spare time?” “What matters most to them in life?” “What stores do they always go to?” “What do they spend their money on?”. Something that is very helpful in this process is to pick someone you know or know of in real life, someone who you know would be an ideal client, and think about the details of who they are. Many of those details should apply to your defined ideal client.