One common mistake made by both new and experienced entrepreneurs is the failure to establish a clear understanding of their ideal client.
All too often we mistakenly believe that our products or services are suitable“for everyone.” And while it might be true that everyone could use your help, it’s simply not possible for you and your brand to appeal to everyone.
Your prices might not be in line with what some can afford. Your branding and messaging might not resonate with others. Your story may not touch everyone with the same sense of urgency.
When you attempt to target a broad audience instead of focusing on your specific ideal client, you risk diluting your message and making it more difficult for those who truly align with your business values and offerings to find you.
Identifying your ideal client may initially seem like an overwhelming task, especially if you are just starting out. To simplify this process, here are three straightforward guidelines that can assist you in identifying the right audience for your business:
1. Define Your Target Market
Is your audience male or female? While men and women might both read and enjoy your content—and even buy your products—you will most likely find that your market is skewed heavily one way or the other. Men and women are different, and they are affected by stories and branding in very different ways, so what appeals to a man will not always appeal to a woman. Start by clearly defining the characteristics of individuals who would benefit the most from what you have to offer. Consider their demographics such as age group, gender, location, occupation etc.
Ask Yourself This: Look around at some of the brands you buy. How do they form their messages to appeal to one or the other?
2. Understand Their Goals.
Gain insight into what challenges or pain points these potential clients face in relation to your industry or niche.
Ask Yourself This: What does your client hope to achieve, and how do your products and services help to realize those goals?
Whether she’s trying to build a profitable crafting blog so she can stay home with her children, or he’s working to create an online resource for muscle car fans, if you don’t know where they’re going, you can’t help them get there
3. Tailor Your Message
Craft compelling marketing materials that directly address the needs and demonstrate how you can provide valuable solutions.
Ask Yourself This: Is she a beginner or well along on the path?
How you speak, how you write, what marketing methods you use, and even what prices you charge will all be determined by your ideal client’s level of sophistication.
Whether you’re teaching beginning knitters how to cast on or helping a non-active person train for their first 5k, their level of commitment (and willingness to spend) is far different from a long-time knitter who is discovering intarsia, or a runner working up to a triathlon.
And you will not reach your market effectively if you don’t know exactly where they are and what they need at this point.
Of course, if you’re just starting out, you might not yet know who your ideal client is. Hey, listen, that’s okay, too. But…just the same, you need to pay attention because they will tell you.
They’ll tell you through the products and services they buy.
They’ll tell you by following you (or not) on social media.
They’ll tell you by commenting on your blog and asking questions that are relevant to them.
By following these steps diligently and continuously evaluating feedback from existing clients/customers along the way -you will gain clarity on who exactly is seeking out businesses like yours as well as formulating effective strategies targeted towards them specifically! Remember success comes when we understand our customers deeply!