How to Use Your Ideal Client Profile to Strengthen Your Business
Posted August 9, 2010 in How-To, Marketing
Just the other day, I was advising a new freelancer about how to jumpstart his freelancing career.
One of the first suggestions I made was for him to get crystal clear on who his Ideal Client was.
Your Ideal Client is the embodiment of the one person you would be happiest working with.
Why You Should Have an Ideal Client
Having an Ideal Client in mind doesn’t mean working only with those who fit the profile to a T.
It does mean being focused on a specific type of person in:
- The way you communicate about your services
- Choosing which networks to participate in
- Which types of marketing strategies you use
- How you structure your entire freelancing business, from your services to your rates and work processes
One of my favorite business mentors says that having your Ideal Client in mind is like being able to call him or her by name in a crowded room. Your Ideal Client will be compelled to turn around, look your way, and listen to you.
For me, the best part of knowing my Ideal Client is that I can recognize her IMMEDIATELY when she sends me an inquiry via email, or a reply on Twitter.
That’s how powerful it is to know who your Ideal Client is.
To demonstrate the process of conjuring an Ideal Client, let me share with you the profile of my ideal client.
Ideal Client Profile Part 1: Demographics
The most basic component of an Ideal Client profile is, of course, the demographics.
This includes gender, age, geographical location, educational background, family background, ethnicity and others.
Demographics also includes annual income and type of business or industry.
In terms of my demographics, my Ideal Client is:
- 30-45 years old
- Lives in North America
- Has a college or university degree
- Has additional training to become certified in her field, such as life coaching, business consultancy, etc.
- Married with children
- Owns a business with a gross income of at least $100,000 a year
- In coaching, writing or consultancy
- In the business of helping others improve their lives
- Has an Internet-based business
Marketing experts advise getting such a clear and concrete image of your Ideal Client that you can give him or her a name.
It’s even better if you can find a picture of your Ideal Client. If you find a picture, put it up beside your desk or computer–any place you will see constantly while you work.
It’s also possible that your Ideal Client is someone you know in real life. It could be a friend, an acquaintance, or a client you’ve already worked with. There’s nothing wrong with this at all. One of my clients interviewed me as part of her market research, because she said that I fit her profile of her Ideal Client.
If your Ideal Client is a specific person you know In Real Life, then all the better for you. You’ll have an easy time visualizing the person and imagining you’re talking to him or her as you write content for your site, or prepare your project proposal, or brainstorm services you can provide.
Ideal Client Profile Part 2: Psychographics
Most people stop at demographics when thinking of their ideal customer or target market.
However, your Ideal Client is made up of much more than demographic information. More importantly, he or she has attitudes, worldviews, goals, and beliefs.
These are the psychographic elements you also need to be aware of.
In my case, my Ideal Client has a sense of mission. She believes that she is in business, not only to create wealth for herself and her family, but also to help improve the lives of her own customers. The money she receives in business reflects the value she is able to impart to her customers.
My Ideal Client believes that each one of us has a special gift to share with the rest of the world. Her business is all about sharing that gift and enabling others to enhance and share their gifts.
My Ideal Client believes in the inherent goodness of every person. She values hard work, authenticity, and relationships.
And then there are characteristics that are specific to the way they work with me: my Ideal Client values my work and contribution to her business. That is, she’s not out to get the cheapest copywriter she can find. She always pays on time, responds to emails on time, and is easy-going.
As you can see, my Ideal Client is not the type who would use black hat strategies, coercion tactics, or deception to make a quick buck.
What an Ideal Client Isn’t
Having an Ideal Client doesn’t mean I only work with women, or only with those who are earning six figure-incomes a year.
Certainly, I do have male clients. I can’t look inside my clients’ hearts, so maybe I’ve had a few who don’t have completely pure intentions with their own customers.
Neither do I ask for their income tax returns, so maybe I have a handful who’ve hired me even though they can’t really afford me yet.
The profile of an Ideal Client isn’t like a checklist with which you measure each prospect. Rather, it’s like a compass that shows you the way to find the right client for you.
One way you know you’re communicating effectively with your Ideal Client is when you’re turning off those who don’t quite fit the profile, and attracting those who do. If you attract everybody, then your communication is too ambiguous and generic. You’re still trying to address the masses instead of being laser focused.
What’s the profile of your Ideal Client? Is this profile evident in the way you communicate about your services? In the language and look of your website, for example?
Or have you been neglecting to call your Ideal Client by name all this time?
I look forward to reading about it in the comments below.
Image by exfordy
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