I find it difficult to talk to my ideal customer. There, I said it.
After running my own business for five years, I have to admit that I still find it difficult to describe my ideal customer. This is difficult as it makes it hard to brief others when I’m outsourcing work and also potentially makes it hard for new clients to find me. It definitely makes the elevator pitch a struggle when I try to talk about my business in networking events, whether they are online or in person.
Could you describe your perfect client if prompted?
The truth is that I cringe when I read some descriptions written with a cookie-cutter approach and yet when I say I like to help any business owner that is passionate about what they sell, it is still quite woolly and vague.
I read a great post on LinkedIn recently that talked about the anti-persona, i.e. who do you not want to work with, this list could be quite long! But in principle, I don’t tend to work with consumer focused, product-based businesses.
Two non-fluffy exercises I recommend to identify your own ideal customer
- Describe your recent clients.
One way to identify your ideal client, (assuming you have been in business some time) is to look at the last 6 customers that came to you and describe their similarities. This is one of the exercises I go through in my Brilliant Blogging Masterclass. You probably do it unconsciously already, have you ever read a great piece of advice in your field and sent it to a client because you know that they would find it useful?
Some areas to consider:
- How they found you
- Which service they booked you for
- Why they decided to work with you
- What was the result of working with you for them
Reflect on your experience working with them
Did you enjoy the work or was it profitable? Chances are, these are some of your ideal clients. You can use this information to help you in the future with the copy you use on your website, social media content and even blog posts.
Always one to resist a typical “niche”, it would help to create a positive circle of leads and referrals. You can then fine-tune your messaging as you get to know this base better. It’s not to say that you won’t work with other types of clients but helps focus your marketing and content.
- Use the Storybrand® method to describe your ideal customer
The Storybrand® method from Donald Miller positions the customer as the hero of your business story. In this situation, you could still describe a recent customer or a prospect perhaps. Try to answer these questions to build your story.
I’ll share a fictional example for a boutique nail technician.
- Describe the person or business that you help – Sally works full time but still wants to look her best when out with work or socially. She is in her mid-40s and her children are becoming more independent so she is able to have more free time and wants to be up to date..
- What are their challenges – Sally wants to get her nails done but struggles to make appointments in the day (limited availability) and doesn’t want to waste her spare time in a drop-in salon in case it is poor quality(risk averse).
- How are you qualified to solve these challenges – The boutique nail technician can fit her in at her home studio (flexible) and only uses well-known brand products (low risk). She is always sharing examples of other client work (social proof).
- What is the outcome – the outcome is that Sally opts to work with the boutique technician, booking via IG, has an opportunity to be pampered and feels confident when out and about.
In this way, you are describing your ideal audience persona and already thinking about the type of marketing content that would appeal to them and even their ideal journey.