Would you love to find your ideal client? Here are 3 steps that will increase your chances, no matter the size of your business.
1. Who are they? Identify your ideal client
This first step was suggested to me by a fellow copywriter and friend a few years back. We were sitting having dinner one evening. I was bemoaning my lack of work, and so she suggested that I write a profile of my ideal client. She told me to think about exactly what he or she might look like. What kind of work does he do? What are his likes and dislikes? What does he want, expect, and hope for in life and work?
I was skeptical about how writing a list might help. But it couldn’t hurt to try, I reasoned, so I sat down and made a list, giving as much detail as I could. From the kind of work he did to the radio station he listened to, the number of children he had and his keep-fit habits – I listed everything. I then gave it no more thought.
Now, it could be pure coincidence, or it could be some magnetic vibe I sent out into the universe, but the very next evening I received an out-of-the-blue invitation to connect on LinkedIn, which I accepted graciously adding a message asking if and how I could help. To cut a long story short, that LinkedIn member is now one of my favourite customers. He gives me plenty of work, pays on time, and is generally a pleasure to do business with.
Obviously, this strategy doesn’t come with a guarantee. And it’s foolish to think that by doing this exercise your ideal client will magically materialise but it’s worth a try, isn’t it? The idea of writing a client profile is not new. Salesmen have been using this strategy for decades to find their clients.
The idea is that it’s difficult to go looking for something if you don’t know what you’re looking for. But if you know exactly the kind of person your ideal client is then it makes the job of finding him a whole lot easier. If you have no idea where to start, think about your past successes. What kind of client did you get the best results from? Write a list of his attributes.
2. Where are they? Find out where your ideal client hangs out
Let’s say you’re looking for a manufacturer to sell your metal press machines to.
Once you’ve created a list of characteristics of the manufacturing executive, you’ll have a little more to work with. You’ll be able to surmise, based on his job, his demographic, his hobbies and his motivations, what social media platforms he uses, if he uses them, or the events he might attend. Your manufacturer might use Twitter to keep himself up-to-date on product trends. He may attend manufacturing trade shows or conferences.
Does he frequent Facebook or Twitter? Seek out companies who could become your ideal client. Follow them and start conversations. It might come to nothing, it could lead to something. You never know. Chat over coffee at a networking event or a conference.
Be generous with the people you meet in these communities because you never know who might turn out to be your ideal customer. Whether online or in person, introduce people, offer advice and support, and recommend resources and tools. If you’re a service provider, then you could offer short consultations – Rather Inventive, for example, offers free 1-hour consultation of their marketing service – it might not lead to work, but it will all help to pull people towards your business, establish you as the expert in your field and help you to get more referrals.
3. What do they want? Focus on them when marketing
When you have a clear picture of the type of customers your business should be targeting, then you can create a strategy with these ideal customers in mind, rather than wasting time and resources on unsuccessful marketing efforts. You’ll know exactly what message, product, services, sales and support you need to put across to meet his needs, wants or desires.
Once you have your ideal customer in your grasp, figure out what they value most in a relationship with a business like yours. What do you need to do so that your new client doesn’t get the wondering eye, and start looking for another supplier? Optimise whatever it is that gives you the competitive advantage.
Your ideal customer is out there, somewhere. But he’s going to be tricky to find unless you know who he is, where he hangs out and what he wants. Take a few moments to consider these and you’ll stand a much better chance of finding him.
Photo: Image Catalog, Writing in Notebook at Desk