In marketing language, an ‘ideal client’ is the person or business who is most likely to buy from you and who will most benefit from your product or service.
I find this definition narrow. I want to share a process that can help you to identify an ideal client as someone you most want to work with.
Begin with existing or past clients
- Take a minute and think about an existing or past client who seemed “ideal” to you. Write down your client’s name and what makes/made him/her ideal.
- Now take a minute to think about a client that was not your ideal. Write down his/her name and identify what was not ideal about that client.
When you look at the reasons that those clients were or were not ideal for you, you might find that your criteria for determining your ideal client comes from
- Your motivation in business
- How you like to work
- Your values
- Your life/work priorities
Your ideal client is not just about money or profit
When you look at the reasons that you chose one client over another as your ideal client, it’s not all about the money, is it? At the same time, if you’re running a business, you have to pay attention to profit or money.
Tips for creating an ideal client profile
1. Begin by reviewing existing or past client relationships
Make a list of clients and add whether the relationships were positive or negative. In another column, write out the factors that made the relationship/contract successful or not. Your list will look something like this:
Client Name Positive/Negative Success factors
You will have a variety of reasons for feeling the business experience was successful or challenging:
- Good profit margins or lack of profit
- Your working relationship
- The type of project
- Your clients project goals
- Your business and personal goals
- Project outcomes (most rewarding or not rewarding for you)
2. Identify patterns among the most successful and the not-so successful relationships
What do these relationships have in common?
- Is there an outstanding demographic feature (age, gender, income, business type, location?
- Did your success have something to do with your client’s attitude, approach to life or behaviour?
- What was the sense of business success?
Now you have a good idea of what impacts success and challenge for you with clients. You are closer to identifying your ideal client.
3. Make another list of clients who regularly refer your services
Review your client list and find those who regularly refer your services or products to others. John Jantsch of the Duct Tape Marketing blog says that when a client regularly refers your products or services to others, there is a near-perfect match between what you do and what they need.
4. Write a description of these clients and look for the traits they have in common
- Think about age, gender, salary/income or business worth, location or business type.
- Think about his/her lifestyle (psychographics – lifestyle)
- Is she married, does she have children, what does she do in her free time?
- How does she consume media?
- Where would you find her on social media?
5. Now create a “client profile”
Give your ideal client a name. Write about a day in his/her life or a day in his/her business. Use demographics and psychographics. Both demographics and psychographics are predictors of behaviours. Try to articulate the problems they have that you can solve. Address these problems or pain points in your marketing material. Educate them about how you can help them with their problems.
Why create an ideal client profile?
I believe that these are just some of the benefits to creating an ideal client profile.
- Your work/business experience will be enhanced – you will work with people you want to work with
- Because you know your ideal client, you will be able to communicate with them better. Your web copy and content marketing (aka blogging) will be more focused and powerful because you will be speaking directly to your ideal customer
- Because of more focused communication, you will attract more ideal clients
Over to you
- Entrepreneurs use many tactics to create an ideal client profile. Share one of your own.
- When you completed some of these exercises, did you learn anything that surprised you ?