Defining who your ideal customer is can feel counterintuitive because limiting potential audiences sounds bad, right? Actually the opposite holds true. If you run a business – small or large – you can’t be the ‘the perfect solution’ to every single problem. So focusing in on the right audiences for your brand brings clarity to your marketing and social media efforts which ultimately leads to:
- More time on your hands
- A marketing budget that stretches further
- A more profitable business
- An easier way for potential clients to find you and trust you
It’s a win-win! Remember that businesses are run and staffed by humans*, so even if your ideal client is another business; decisions on suppliers will be made by real people and it’s these people that we need to connect with, not the ‘company’. *My Ltd. business is run by myself and my three cats, but I make most of the decisions.
So how do you go about defining these ideal clients?
Regardless of whether you have a service or product based brand, think about the fundamentals, for example:
- Are you online only
- Do you serve a specific geographical area only
- Where is your price point compared to the cheapest and most expensive options available to your potential customers
- What problem(s) do you solve
- What makes your brand unique
- Are your products or services more or less relevant at certain times of the year
Has this ruled out (or ruled in) anyone?
Now think about your existing clients:
Have you had a ‘dream client’ or two already? – what was it about them, or the work you did for them, that was soooo good?
If you’re brand new, can you think about the kind of person you set the business up for? Who has the problems that your brand will solve? Do you know anyone socially who could be a potential dream client?
The likelihood is that you’ll have more than one ‘dream client’ but try (for now), to stick to just two or three. Don’t panic if you’re not 100% sure yet – You can always go through this process again in the future, especially if your business evolves.
Developing your ideal clients’ personas
Two or three different people have probably started to emerge (and one of them might be yourself)! Based on the descriptions of your existing or dream ideal client above, its time to start asking more questions about these people, such as:
- Are they male or female?
- Where do they live?
- What brings them joy?
- How much do they earn?
- Where do they currently buy the thing you sell from?
- What are they worried about?
- Where do they go on holiday?
- What challenges do they face?
- Are they single or in a relationship?
- Do they have children?
- What do they hope to gain from buying from you?
- What experience thrills them?
- Where do they get their information?
- Which type of media do they trust most?
- How old are they?
- Where do they buy their clothes from?
- What impresses them?
- How old are they?
- Where do they do their food shopping?
- What issues do they have?
- Do they have pets?
I bet you can think of at least 5 more questions to add to the list!
If you do actually know one of your ‘dream clients’ in real life? – go ahead and ask them some of these questions – even better, get them to write the answers down or record them speaking, because their phraseology and tone of voice are going to be mega helpful later on!
Hopefully you’re making lots of notes as you go through this process, because now we’re going to visualise these people!
How do I turn my notes into people?
We’re going to create a mood board for each of the personas you have shortlisted.
You can do this on your computer in PowerPoint, Word or Canva. Start by looking for images on google and also from free stock image websites such as unsplash.com or pixabay.com. Add in relevant images that describe the answers to the questions above, not just what they look like, but where they spend their time, where they shop, holiday and eat. Who they spend their time with etc etc.
You can also create mood boards on paper by cutting out images from relevant magazines or books.
Don’t panic about how these mood boards are designed or laid out – you don’t need to show them to anyone other than yourself and your marketing people, and the busier the layout is, the more information they impart.
Give these personas names and ages – get to ‘know’ them.
Super important …
Print out the mood boards and stick them somewhere visible where you work. It is surprising how much clarity this gives to your decision making – If it is hidden away on your laptop … it’s out of sight, out of mind!
I’ve created a mood board or two, now what?
Now we need to find these perfect clients and mirror their tonal styles
First, lets look online:
Are your ideal clients on social media? If so, which platforms? Using the images on your mood board as inspo, what # might they use (think cooking, sports, hobbies, brands, places)?
If they run a business or sell a particular product or service, connect to their page! Become a familiar name, give good advice and participate on their posts!
Remember, your business solves a problem that they have now, or may have in the future, so keep reiterating the benefits of choosing to shop with you.
Can you see what other businesses or pages they follow? If so, follow these businesses and people on the same platforms too. Comment and be of use on these pages – you never know how many other ideal clients are watching and you can connect with.
Second, lets analyse what your ideal clients like:
Can you see what type of imagery these businesses use, are they atmospheric and mysterious or light and joyful?
What tone-of-voice do they use, are they formal, polite, casual, jokey, direct?
Have you spotted a visual or vocal theme that seems to appeal to one of your ideal clients?
Are there specific phrases they like to use? Could you use their words, their expressions, their slang and their jokes in your marketing?
This is a great starting point for design and copywriting and photography. It is really going to help you click with your perfect clients!
Appealing to your target audience is key, and showing them something they already feel familiar with gives you a head start. Speaking exactly as your ideal client speaks, makes them feel like
you’re saying “I get you!”
How to use your mood boards
When you’re about to create any form of marketing, look at the mood boards and ask yourself would this headline or image catch my ideal client’s attention more than something generic?
The inspiration you get from the imagery on the mood boards will help you make the right decision time and time again!
A final note:
Be open to your ideal customer evolving. Keep up-to-date with the products and services they are interested in. But also be open to your business evolving. Are there any new ideal client profiles that need to be up on the wall, for example seasonal clients?
What were doing right now is helping you to be efficient and focused, but we’re not etching your decisions in stone or tattooing them across your forehead – you can come back and review at any time, so don’t worry – just go with your instinct on who needs to find your product and service right now.
This is a guest blog from:
Jade Thomas | Branding, Graphic & Squarespace Web Designer | Eau Rouge Ltd.