If I know anything about chatting with small business owners, it’s that finding and attracting that ideal client can be one of your toughest battles. Well, I’m here to help you!
I’m sharing why nailing down that ideal client is right for you (NO, your ideal client cannot be everyone and their mother!), how to build a client profile so you know exactly who you’re talking to and selling to, and how you can increase your sales by serving that ideal client well.
NARROW YOUR MARKET
Over my last three years as a brand designer, one of the statements I’ve repeated the most to my clients is that they cannot, in fact, appeal to everyone. Do you know the sweet southern saying “you could be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world and there will still be someone who doesn’t like peaches”? If you’re trying to appeal to everyone, you’ll go crazy. First, because it’s truly impossible, and second because by attempting to appeal to everyone, you end up alienating the people that would love you most. Think about the brands you love. You love them for a lot of reasons I’m sure, the products they create, the way they speak, how you feel when you purchase their products or visit their store or website, the way they give back or support causes; it all creates a vibe or atmosphere that feels like it’s speaking only to you.
Think about the brand Anthropologie for a moment (well actually, we’ll come back to them later too). Their brand is feminine, boho, chic, expensive. Their signature scent, Volcano, envelops their store. Furniture placed strategically around their home section makes you settle in and imagine your space looking as delicate and rustic as theirs. In fact, my best friend and I have visited an Anthropologie store numerous times, each time leaving with a sense of “one day”. “One day, I’ll wear an embroidered apron when I bake,” One day, I’ll send out custom notes from a Rifle Paper Co. stationery set,” “One day, I’ll wear a chic yellow sundress when grabbing my groceries on Sunday morning.” That’s because Anthropologie has nailed their customer. They thrive on the luxury, somewhat unattainable beauty in everyday life.
Where beauty meets function in the most stylish way.
Anthropologie has consulted with this ideal customer, and they let her lead the way through every
decision they make. They don’t focus any time on the women (or men) that aren’t their ideal customer – because they know they will never make those people happy. The last thing they’d want to do is make their ideal customer drift away when they create things to only please outsiders.
They are unapologetically Anthropologie and I’m challenging you to be unapologetically yourself.
I know what you’re thinking – you’re scared. You’re scared that by being so selective of that ideal client, you’re pushing too many people away, and therefore leaving a lot of money on the table, but you’re wrong.
Great branding is about finding that group of people that can be the reason and direction for everything your company does moving forward – in fact, it makes marketing, product development, and copywriting on your website, a whole lot easier when you choose to speak to only one person. With a target client base that you can speak to, bounce things off of, and create things for, you’ll find you’ll develop a loyal group dedicated to everything you do.
The more a brand realizes who that shopper is and centers their mission, products, and atmosphere around them, the more that crowd feels bonded to them. “9/10 startups fail, which is a harsh reality in the world of entrepreneurship. However, I believe that such a high number of startups fail because they do not take the right steps necessary when building their business. The biggest challenge people have is building something that their target audience or niche really wants.” – Jeet Banerjee
DEFINE THAT PERSON
Taking actionable steps within your business can be a lot easier when you only need to answer to one person. Think of buying your absolute best friend something for their birthday – do things automatically come to mind? Can you walk into a store and find something that makes you think of them? That is how you want to treat that ideal client. Learn about them inside and out. Give them a name and a backstory, develop their personality, likes, and dislikes.
The closer you hone in on that ideal client as an individual person, the easier decisions can be made within your business. You’ll be able to choose a brand color palette and logo, write a company mission statement, design company offerings or products, and even better select marketing designs or strategies, once that ideal client is defined. Well-known brands that clearly know their audience aren’t afraid to be bold in appealing to them.
Here are some good questions to ask when trying to build that ideal client profile.
1. Why did I start my business in the first place? (what need were you reaching)
2. Who was I trying to help? (who were you reaching)
3. What do most of my ideal customers have in common? (you might be surprised! but pay attention to this, because these are the people BUYING now)
4. What do most of my unideal customers have in common? (that way you’ll know who to avoid)
5. Is my product or service designed for people like me? A friend? (you’re lucky, it’s easier to
build a client profile around you or someone you know well)
I like to start off general, making basic bullet points as answers to the questions above. Then I go back and expand on these points to the point where I’m being really specific with my answers. For example, have you ever thought about what your ideal customer has for breakfast on a Sunday morning? It may seem silly to ask a question like that, but trust me, the more specific you are, the better. If you don’t know something about your ideal customer or client, get out there and talk to them! Find professional development groups (Facebook can be great for this) and create a poll. If you know someone that carries that profile, take them out for coffee and get to know them better.
Here’s what Anthropologie has to say about their ideal customer:
“We have one customer, and we know exactly who she is. And we don’t sit around a table and say to each other, What do you think she’d like? We’re out there. We’re in the stores, we’re in the marketplace. We live where the customer lives. Ask anyone at Anthropologie who that customer is, and they can rattle off a demographic profile: 30 to 45 years old, college or post-graduate education, married with kids or in a committed relationship, professional or ex-professional, [an] annual household income of $150,000 to $200,000. But those dry matters of fact don’t suffice to flesh out the living, breathing woman most Anthropologists call “our friend.” Senk, 46, says, “I like to describe her in psychographic terms. She’s well-read and well-traveled. She is very aware — she gets our references, whether it’s to a town in Europe or to a book or a movie. She’s urban minded. She’s into cooking, gardening, and wine. She has a natural curiosity about the world. She’s relatively fit.” – from the article ‘Sophisticated Sell’ by Polly LaBarre.
Many of you may know that I’ve built my branding business on strategy before beauty, so my clients are used to going through an in-depth process like this one to get to the heart of their ideal client so we can learn to serve them best. As a reader of mine though, you’re getting a treat – and that’s access to my Ideal Client Profile Workbook.
This workbook will walk you through the steps I’ve outlined above so you can learn to get really specific about that ideal client – and learn to attract them with ease. CLICK HERE!