Do This First, or You'll Never Reach Your Ideal Clients
So you’ve been trying to organize everything in your business, figuring out what to do about all the things, and so on. Right? That’s how it feels. ALL. THE. THINGS. And, too often, I think we get caught up in being overwhelmed by taking on everything at once. Well, this is one of those instances where you’ll need to start with the first thing and take one step at a time. But what’s the first thing to getting on the map with whom we serve? Is it joining all the social media channels? Creating a logo? Building a website? Ordering business cards? Nope. It’s none of that my friend.
Before any of that can happen you’ll need to take a deep breath and consider this VERY important first step. Have you overlooked this? (psst I did for a long time.)
NO creative copywriting, catchy logo, or feature rich website will attract anyone until you …. What??
KNOW WHO YOU WANT TO ATTRACT. And really get to know them.
Don’t worry though! I have some guidelines to help get you started on identifying them, learning more about them, and some practical ways to actually find this information out. I got your back.
So, what do you really need to know to attract your ideal clients?
Let’s consider for a moment you feel like you do know them. But, have you gotten down to the nitty gritty of what makes them….well…. do anything they do? If you skip this step in your branding process, you risk not ever truly connecting with your target market. They’ll never find you, identify with you, and ultimately KNOW that you have the goods to solve their problem.
We all want to first jump directly into design and create mode to entice our customers to choose us. I mean….I know I do. But once you really get to know who your customers are, you’ll know a whole lot more about what to design, what fonts or colors to use, and so on.
By the way….even if you have already done all of your branding, website, logo, and are thinking….dang…do I need to start over with everything now?? NO. It’s never too late to recalibrate what you are doing to identify and help those you serve. This could even be a game changer in your momentum right now!
So let’s get started on what you’ll need to do already!
IDENTIFY YOUR IDEAL CLIENT
Let’s start simple with a quick outline.
Where are they stuck? (roadblocks, fears, pain)
How do those roadblocks look and feel to them?
What do they want? Goals? Solutions?
Why do they want that? What’s their “why”?
When do they what this by? Timeline?
And also, what would make them not purchase from you?
Simple or not, that’s already a lot to find out, no? And you are asking, Jessica, how in the world do I even find out this information from my ideal client, that so far I have never met? And then we have to break that down….Right? Well, I have a set of questions that will help you dig down a bit deeper.
Now look, I don’t want you just making assumptions about what they might want to do or think. We need to work from real information gathered from real people. There are a lot of client avatar worksheets out there that would have you create this fantasy client and just guess about what you would ultimately have them do when they cross paths with you.
People have written books, even built their entire career around helping people find their ideal client and market to them. So this is just a brief and simple way to begin nailing down who you are going to serve. You’ll need to “step into their shoes”, so to speak, to really understand their motivations, habits, and how this all fits into their daily life.
Below are the questions you’ll want to answer, and there are several ways you can accomplish finding out the answers with real people. We’ll address ways to do this later.
What kinds of roadblocks or pain do I solve for my customers?
How do they experience these problems in their day to day lives?
What makes these problems real roadblocks for them? How important or painful are they really? What happens if they don’t solve their problem?
What is the pain point that makes them go looking for a solution?
If they could have a perfect solution…what would that look like?
If they jump in and purchase from you, how will this change their life?
What types of clients are my favorite to work with?
Who am I in the position to help the most?
And then, who is it that is willing or able to pay me for the product or service I provide?
And now here are some more demographic details to address.
Find out age, gender, family situation, urban or rural, income, type of business they are in, educational background, etc. If you serve businesses, you’ll need to know who they serve as well.
What are their hobbies? How do they spend their free time?
What do they spend money on where price is irrelevant?
What brands do they love? What is their style? High maintenance or low?
Where do they hang out online? What social platforms do they use most often?
Where do they hang out in the real world? At home? Coffee shops? At work a lot?
What do they love to read? Blogs? Books? Magazines? News? Which types of each?
Are they Political? Religious? Neither? What do they fight for?
What are the most important topics, causes, or priorities in their day to day life?
TAKE AWAY: At this point, at the VERY least, you should really start to nail down what you do best to help people, and how confidently you can now go forward in speaking that with confidence and authenticity.
FILL THIS IN: “I help (blank) to accomplish (blank) by helping them (blank).”
Powerful right? Say it with confidence to everyone you meet, who asks about you, who inquires about your business, and you will absolutely start to see a shift in how you present your products and services.
GO FIND OUT ABOUT REAL PEOPLE
So how do you go about finding all this valuable information out right? Well there are probably more than just what I am going to share here, so get creative. But here are a few ideas to get you started on demystifying the whereabouts of that illusive ideal client of yours!
Method 1: The Actual Real Person Interview (I know, crazyyy.)
So while this seems like the most obvious one, (or maybe not?) it’s also the one that scares the crap out of everyone. So they run straight for the hills of assumption. Let’s not do that. Asking your actual customers and clients what they want is easier than you think. In fact, given the opportunity to help you improve your services and told that their opinion matters, they won’t feel bugged at all. They will usually be honored you asked and more than willing to lend a hand.
Don’t make the all too common mistake of launching your business or website on straight guesses as to what people want without actually asking them. You’ll be so confused later as to why “no one wants” what you have to offer.
Things to ask: What are your problems? What have you tried before? What did I do that you hated? What did I do that you loved? Why did you hire me? Did I solve your problem? How? Was there any process, product, or service you feel I missed or could have improved upon? Did you feel heard? And so on.
If you are looking for more insight for how to really conduct a client interview well, check out the book Buyer Personas, by Adele Revella.
Method 2: Send Out a Survey (to clients and non-clients alike)
This is less personal obviously, but can be just as effective in finding out critical details about what makes your clients, as well as potential buyers tick. While you can create from scratch and send your questions via email or Facebook messenger, you can easily accomplish your goal here by using a tool like Survey Monkey. It's SO easy.
I won’t go into how to use Survey Monkey here, but it’s a fairly simple tool to use. You can get trending answers, demographics and other common threads across your survey responses as well. That is automatic and can prove very helpful.
Who to survey:
Clients: You will want to ask your current and past clients if they would mind participating.
Non-Clients: One of the ways you can find people that fit the basic profile of your ideal client is to put out on social media that you are doing some market research to improve your services. You just post what demographics are required (ie. Age, gender, line of work, etc.), only the most important 4-5 ones, and that you’d love their feedback. Maybe even offer a $5 coffee gift card for their trouble. It’s well worth the money. Then just ask for their email and send the survey. WA LAH. Feedback.
Email Subscribers: These would fall into both the client and non-client category. But these are the people that said they WANT to hear from you! So I suggest every few months, or once a year, sending them out a survey to ask about where they are and what they want. You never know who will finally be ready to jump on board with what you offer simply because you were in front of them at the right time!
**Pro-tip: Keep it to 10 questions and make sure they are all open ended questions to get the most info.
Method 3: Interwebs Research (AKA Stalking)
I mean seriously, we all already do this for many useful reasons. Yeah. Why not do it for productive business purposes right? So you can use this method in a variety of ways. All of your ideal clients are already out there in a ton of places all over the internet just waiting to give you free information about what they want and need.
Places to research: Reddit forums, Facebook groups, Twitter hashtags, Instagram hashtags, Amazon reviews for products or books about what you sell, and so on.
And then what?
Now that you are have gathered all of this information you will want to go through it and write down anything you see as a trend. This can be key phrases or keywords, hesitations around buying, pain or similar problems that need solved, goals or desires, etc., and start to see what common threads all of these clients and potential clients have. Later, when you are crafting your marketing materials or designing that logo, this will be invaluable information to have!
So there you are! You are now armed with seriously valuable information about your target market. Was it different than you expected? Or were you right on the money? When you are all about helping people solve problems and genuinely thrive on finding ways to do so, marketing becomes less excruciating and confusing, and begins to be more fun and fulfilling.
I'd love to hear your about your journey in finding your ideal clients! Drop a comment below and let me know what your experience was!! And don't be shy! I am here if you need help or have any questions. Cheers!