Would you like your marketing to be more effective?Focus on who you are marketing to.
For example, when you buy Facebook ads, they encourage you to be specific about which age group, which gender, and what specific interests they have.
A man in his 30’s has very different life challenges and considerations than a woman in her 60's… and each needs to see a different marketing message.
Do you believe that your service can help many different types of people? If so, are you trying to market to all of them by casting a wide net? No wonder your marketing is ineffective…
The fact is: there are specific types of people who are a better fit for your service than others, right?
You don’t just “serve everyone” and “solve all kinds of problems” with equal effectiveness.
So, who are the ones you serve best?And what problems does your service solve best for them?As you get clearer on your responses to these questions, your marketing becomes more effective, you’ll get more referrals, and you’ll be making a deeper positive impact on your clients.Imagine a person representing your ideal client. It could be one actual client, or it could be an imagined combination of several clients.This is called an Ideal Client Persona. (Other ways of describing this includes Buyer Persona, Client Avatar, Customer Profile, the Perfect Customer.)If you haven’t worked with any clients yet, then look at your friends/colleagues. Who are the 5 people you think could serve best as a client, if they weren’t already a friend?
If you have already worked with clients, then list out their names, at least 20. Then circle the 5 that you most enjoyed working with, the ones that got the best results.
Then answer these questions…
- Demographic characteristics that distinguish the ideal clients from non-ideal-clients. What age range, gender, race, profession, educational level, relationship status, children, other important distinguishing factors that can be observed? NOTE: Don’t list things that don’t matter to your business, e.g. type of car they drive (unless you run a car dealership or frequently use cars in your ads), their favorite food (unless you run a restaurant, hotel, or retreat center). Don’t clutter your mind. The point is to see what are the clear differences between your ideal & non-ideal clients, so that you can easily spot them in the future.
- Psychographic characteristics that distinguish ideal from non-ideal clients, e.g. their fears/insecurities, hopes/dreams, their passions. Again, only note the things that matter to your business. And in thinking about your transformational framework, what stage are they at when they first come to you?
- Triggering questions: What questions/issues motivate your clients to seek out your services? We business owners are too often in our own heads. Our clients aren’t in our heads… they’re in theirs. This exercise helps us think from their perspective. Example: Clients often come to me because they tell me they want to “redesign my website” or “get more visibility” or “how do I use Facebook ads for business?” when I think they should be first asking “Are my offerings optimized, so that prospective clients can say an easy Yes with little marketing?” but they don’t know to ask that. Similarly, what do your clients actually ask you when they first start with you… that might not be the same questions you wish they would ask?
- Triggering symptoms: What are the symptoms they experience, that get them to seek out a provider like you? This is similar to the question above, but may trigger some other ideas for you.
- Clients don’t usually seek out root causes… they seek an end to a current pain or struggle, a resolution to symptoms they feel everyday.
- Yes, they may need to heal the root, but they do an internet search about the pains, the symptoms.
- People don’t think (even if they should) “10 years from now I might get cancer, so what do I do now?” Instead, they think “I have this lump in neck, is it dangerous?” All of us service providers wish our clients would’ve sought us out before the symptoms got so bad, but the reality of the market (and of human nature) is that often they don’t, until it’s gotten to a point of real pain. We need to know how to help them not just with the deeper roots, but also with the current pain.
- Alternatives: How do they see you and your services as different from other options they have heard of, and may be considering? (This could be competitors, or other types of solutions to their issues, or simply the option of doing nothing.)
- Content Habits: How do they consume content? Do they read email newsletters… if so, which ones? Which experts do they follow? Which social media platforms do they hang out on? With these questions you might need to ask them directly.
- Finding You: How would they find or research someone like you? How would they typically encounter a service like the one you provide?
- Buying Behavior: Related to the kind of service you provide, what do they tend to spend money on? This will give you ideas on what you could offer as well. And, it will help you to see what kinds of branding/marketing is appealing to them.
- Geographic (if relevant) — where are your ideal clients located, versus your less-ideal clients?
- Patterns: What other patterns are you noticing among your ideal clients, versus your non-ideal clients?
- Name: Give this representative ideal client a name. And a picture. This is just for your private records. You can find a picture of one of your clients by going to their Facebook profile. Or, find a picture to use on Google Images. For example search 45 year old white woman, or some other identifying characteristic.
You can find out the answers to the above by (1) observing their social media profile and posts for clues, (2) having an actual conversation with several of your ideal clients (if needed, ask your friends for introductions to supportive people who might be willing to have an informational interview with you), and (3) talking to friends of theirs.
After you answer the above questions about your ideal client, also answer it about your less-ideal clients.
What are the differences between your ideal and less-ideal clients?
If you’d like to, share what you’ve learned by commenting here. Don’t share any names, of course ;-)
Remember the Reticular Activation System: when you get clear whom you’re looking for, you’ll naturally come across more of them. The law of attraction really seems to work for human relationships, including finding ideal clients!
Now that you’ve created your ideal client persona, revisit it once a week, to really ingrain their being & personality in your mind and heart, so that you’ll naturally speak and write more resonantly for them.
Additional helpful videos:
Originally published at www.georgekao.com/blog/clientpersona.