Before you invest big bucks in your marketing, it’s important to know how to spot an ideal client when you see one.
Knowing your ideal client’s profile and how you can help them is an important first step for creating a successful and profitable business. Not only will an ‘ideal’ client help you grow your business, they’ll also bring professionally rewarding work, appreciate your efforts and very likely pay you what you’re truly worth.
For business owners and professionals, winning a new client is usually cause for celebration. However, that joy can quickly turn to anguish if you’re attracting the wrong type of clients through the door.
We’ve all been there. It usually starts with a gut feeling, which is soon followed by unproductive follow ups or less than polite communication. By the time you start chasing missed invoice payments, the writing is on the wall: you’re in a not-so-ideal client relationship.
Even if you like them personally, if they’re undermining your hard work and making you doubt what you know to be good advice, they’re most likely the wrong fit.
Ideal clients, on the other hand are motivated, need your services, value your advice and implement what you recommend. They bring you the type of work you can really sink your teeth into, and they are happy to pay your bills (and usually on time).
How to spot an ideal client
At the most rudimentary level, ideal clients have three characteristics. Firstly, they are the clients you enjoy working with. The second characteristic is they must like you. Successful relationships can’t be one-sided; you both need to have a professionally friendly and respectful approach. And the third characteristic is they simply must be profitable. It just doesn’t make commercial sense if the work is not efficient and productive, and the client can’t or won’t pay.
For a client to be ideal, they need to meet all three criteria.
Defining your ideal client
You’re probably already working with (or perhaps have in the past) at least one or several clients you could identify as ideal. Using these stellar clients as your examples, creating your benchmark descriptors may include the answers to these questions:
- Is your ideal client a business owner?
- Are the decision makers predominantly male or female?
- What’s their age or age range?
- What sort of business structure do they have: sole trader, partnership or family-owned?
- What is the stage of their business development: incubator, intermediate or mature?
- How many employees do they have?
- What’s their turnover? Under $500K, $500K to $1 million, or over $1 million?
- Does the business have a specialisation – a niche product or service?
If you work with individuals rather than business owners, your ideal client defining questions will be different. They would likely include:
- Are they single, a couple or a family group?
- In what age range?
- Work status – wage and salary, executive or professional?
- How much do they earn?
- What is their level of debt?
- What are their key concerns and aspirations?
The point is, it’s important to develop a set of questions that will help you to quickly and accurately identify your type of ‘ideal’ client.
Step 1: Create a clear picture of your ideal client. In fact, find a picture that represents your ideal client so you can visualise them when you are preparing everything from business proposals to your marketing resources and social media posts.
Step 2: Through your marketing, ‘speak’ directly to your ideal client, because when you do, you will demonstrate that you ‘know’ them, as well as the issues that matter most. Then they’ll be more likely to hear what you have to say above the noise of your competitors.
Step 3: Be consistent. Apply what you know about your ideal client profile to all your key marketing resources, including your brand, website, professional profile, business brochure, case studies and your marketing communication tools – email marketing and social media.
For help identifying your ideal clients and implementing targeted marketing communication for your business, please contact us on 07 5477 0197 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
At Bold! we specialise in helping professionals and business owners to use marketing to grow and be successful. Over the past 25 years we have fine-tuned what we call our ‘Do-able Marketing’ model. It is underpinned by a 7-Step Do-It-For-Me (DIFM) Marketing framework that overcomes the THREE key issues that professionals and business owners have told us prevent them from marketing their businesses: Time, Affordability and Accountability.