What is an Ideal Client?
Your ideal client (also known as your ideal customer) is someone who you really want to work with and when you work with them they inspire you to do your very best work.
They are the most suitable person for you to work with because not only are their needs an exact match for the product or service you provide – but they also understand and respect the value of your business.
When you work with people whom you truly like to be around they make every work day a great day because no matter what trouble comes your way, you are working with the best partners you could ever meet.
I wouldn’t be surprised if you thought I was talking about colleagues or employees but I am talking about the very best clients or ideal customers for your business.
Why Do You Need to Identify Who Your Ideal Clients Are?
I believe there are people you are meant to have as clients and there are people that you keep far away from your business.
The people you are meant to work with will push you to innovate and motivate you to pursue a certain level of excellence that will help propel you to the top of your industry.
These are not dream clients and they are not perfect clients however because they will inspire you to do your best work, they will be naturally compelled to sing your praises to anyone who will listen.
We know how important word-of-mouth referrals are to business growth well this type of client will make your marketing so much easier and make it easier to attract future clients just like them.
So, when it comes to finding and attracting more ideal clients, word-of-mouth referrals from your current clients are invaluable.
What is an Ideal Client Profile?
An ideal client profile aka an ICP is a detailed profile…a detailed description of the type of person you want to work with.
Finding the perfect client for your business can be time-consuming and daunting, but it pays off in the long run. Creating an Ideal Client Profile (ICP) is a great way to focus your resources on finding customers that share common aspects, like challenges location, industry, budget and needs.
So, an ICP should be viewed as a detailed description of who you want to work with based on previous sales and results.
Ideal Client Profiles will lead to more consistent sales and better results for your business, this is why creating them requires time and effort.
We will get into the detail of how to create an ideal client profile but first let’s take a look at the benefits of creating an ICP.
Benefits of Creating an Ideal Client Profile (ICP)
Creating an ideal client profile is a great way to improve the efficiency of your sales and marketing efforts. By defining an ideal client profile, you can focus on the prospects that you are most likely to convert and retain.
In the long run, this will result in you saving time, money, and effort when it comes to marketing and advertising your service and products.
This strategy helps you identify the best prospects for your business by analysing your past customers, your existing customers and your current leads. and your overall sales process.
Therefore, the main benefit of creating an ideal client profile is discovering the target audience that will be most receptive to your product or service.
An ICP will help you document your understanding of their needs and wants so that you can create marketing materials that will attract the very best types of clients to your business.
This will seriously improve your sales prospecting, lead generation and conversions because your ICP helps you be laser-focused about who should be targeted with specific marketing messages.
Ultimately, creating an ideal client profile will maximise your marketing ROI while ensuring that your marketing messages reach the right people, with the right problem, at the right time.
Let’s go a bit deeper into some benefits…
Content creation is an essential part of any successful business. In fact, Small businesses with blogs get 126% more lead growth than those without.
The most effective content is aligned with the buyer’s journey.
The 3 Stages of The Buyers Journey
The buyer’s journey is a journey through three distinct stages: the Awareness stage, the Consideration stage and the Decision stage:
The Awareness stage: The buyer realises they have a problem or need that needs to be addressed. For example, imagine a person who has just moved into a new home and realises they need to purchase a lawn mower.
The Consideration stage: The buyer does research on different options to solve their problem or meet their need. Continuing with the example, the person looks into different types of lawn mowers, such as gas-powered, electric, or manual reel mowers, and compares their features and prices.
The Decision stage: The buyer makes a choice and takes action to purchase a solution. In our example, the person decides on an electric lawn mower, compares prices on different websites, and makes a purchase.
In brief, the buyer’s journey is a process of recognising a problem, researching solutions, and making a purchase decision.
Having a clear idea of who you are targeting and most importantly a strong understanding of the problem they want to solve helps you create content for different stages of their buyer’s journey.
Focusing on their needs and problems (rather than how great your business is) makes content creation (e.g. articles in your business blog) a lot easier because you will naturally be using keywords and phrases used by your ideal client.
This is why creating an ICP is an important first step for creating effective content that attracts, engages and converts website visitors into potential customers.
Free Ideal Client Workbook
I’ve created a free workbook to help you find and attract more ideal clients. This worksheet will guide you through the process of identifying your ideal client and understanding their needs so that you can create conversion-focused content that will engage them.
SEO and Keyword Research
Keyword research is an essential part of any successful content marketing strategy. It helps to identify the language used by ideal clients so that targeted articles can be created, indexed by search engines and consistently rise up the search engine results page (SERP).
Creating an ideal client profile helps you research your potential clients so that you can create keyword-focused content that will be aligned with their internet searches.
This is On-Page SEO which is 50% of optimising your website for search engines. The other 50% is Off-Site SEO which includes link building, social media and other activities to increase your website’s visibility.
Therefore, knowing as much as you can about your target audience will help you create integrated content marketing strategies that include the correct social media channels, identifying a list of publications for guest posts and a list of potential partners to advertise with.
The Advantages of Using an Ideal Client Profile
An Ideal Client Profile will help you:
- create target marketing campaigns
- qualify prospective clients
- create useful and valuable blog posts
- compelling social media posts
- increase the brand awareness of your online business
- choose the right social media channels
An Example Ideal Client Profile
This is a great example of how your ideal client profiles will look after they are completed.
A detailed one-pager that can be sent to copywriters, salespeople, designers etc.
You will eventually have a library of these profiles. Yes! You will and it is totally normal to have more than one.
First, you need to gather the content that will be used to fill out the profile.
How Do You Identify and Define Your Ideal Client
Figuring out who your ideal client is can be a daunting task, but it’s an important step in creating successful marketing campaigns.
Defining Basic Demographics
When you are looking to attract more ideal clients, it is important to define basic demographic information: age range, marital status, gender, and location to help you target your marketing efforts and create a more personalised approach that speaks directly to your prospect’s needs.
Digging Deeper With Market Research
Once you have defined the basic demographics of your target audience, it’s time to dig deeper into their:
- sources of information and inspiration
- wants and needs
- fears and frustrations
- core problem
- desired result
- sales objections
Market research and competitor research is key.
Market research is the systematic process used for collecting and analysing data about your target market.
This process involves gathering data through surveys, interviews, focus groups, customer feedback, and sales figures.
Where market research is focused on what your target market needs.
Competitor research is the process of gathering data and insights about how well your competitors are already meeting your target market’s needs.
I like to look at this as “Not Inventing The Wheel” and discover which products, services, pricing strategies, customer service strategies, online presence, brand identity, messaging tactics and content are working or missing.
If they are working – how can you do them even better?
If they are missing – create them.
Ideal Clients Inspire You to Do Your Very Best Work
By developing an ideal client profile, you can identify the most likely candidates to become your customers and better target your marketing and advertising campaigns.
Doing so allows you to maximise your return on investment (ROI) and ensure that your message is reaching the right people.
The goal of this module is to help you identify the best-fit, high-value clients that are going to help you grow your business.
These ideal clients will help you build your business – not just because they will add revenue to your business – but because they will inspire you to do your very best work.
They will inspire you to do your very best work because you really enjoy working with them.
I want you to get to a point in your business growth story where you cannot actually believe that you get paid to work with such amazing people.
Not only that, identifying your ideal client means that;
- Marketing will get easier because you will be doing your best work which means your clients will be sublimed and will naturally want to talk about you to like-minded people – this will lead to the most valuable referrals you will ever get
- You will know where to find your ideal clients
- Your ideal clients will know that you are dedicated to helping them
Before we get into how to build your Ideal Client Profile, let’s talk a bit about the three main struggles businesses face when they try to market without using an ideal client.
- They target everyone (and end up attracting no one)
- They don’t know their ideal clients on a personal level
- They attract time-wasters, tyre-kickers and bad-fit clients
Targeting Everyone and Attracting No One
In Michael Port’s book, “Book Yourself Solid”, he tells the story of “The Man, The Boy and The Donkey”.
Aesop wrote this story, a Greek storyteller credited with a number of fables now collectively known as Aesop’s Fables.
The moral of the story is: Try to please everyone, and you will please no one.
I was taught to apply this thinking to marketing my own business and when helping my clients market their businesses: Target everyone, and attract no one.
This is true because no one knows you are talking to them and thinks you are talking to someone else.
Also, when you adopt a generalised marketing message e.g. “We Build Websites” you are not highlighting a specific type of person or articulating their unique problems.
“We Build Websites For Marketing Agency Owners Who Want to Scale Their Business to 100K Per Month”.
This a very rough example but you get the point right.
The general marketing message either gets no response or worse, it receives a “and…so what?”
However, the second more specific marketing message not only sounds like it comes from some sort of specialist, but it is also less an elevator pitch and more a conversation starter.
Connecting With Your Ideal Client On a Deeper Level
Manager, CEO, Founder, Director, Entrepreneur, Business Owner, B2C, B2B…
Your potential clients are a lot more than titles and acronyms.
Whether you work B2C or B2B…you are doing H2H (human to human).
The person you are trying to get as a client is a professional with a responsibility to attain their business goals but they also have their personal goals.
Goals (motivations) are the fundamental building block of marketing because people are intentional – we are goal-focused; we do stuff to get stuff done – and choose the brand that most helps us get it done (subjective brand value is based on expected goal achievement). Even our attention is goal-focused – we notice things that will help us get what we want to do, done. So understanding goals is mission-critical for marketing
When you use a general marketing message and treat your prospects simply as a collection of demographics, you completely misread or fail to understand their personal goals.
Your prospects are tuned into HDTHM (How Does This Help Me) radio when they are searching for a solution to their important problems.
Your failure to articulate and show a deep understanding of those problems is a perfect way to ensure that they ignore your marketing message.
Repelling Time-Waster, Tyre-Kickers and Bad-Fit Clients
At the beginning of a business’s lifecycle, it kinda makes sense to work with crappy people and/or do crappy projects just to pay the bills.
Beggars can’t be choosers and all that.
However, the bad energy and overall bad mood that comes from working with unsuitable clients can be detrimental to your business’ growth and even your business’s survival.
Making it known that you will work with any Tom, Dick or Harriet will not eventually get you to better clients.
You will simply trap your business in a death spiral.
When you really hone in on exactly who you want to work with and identify who you are destined to work with.
When a brand becomes super specific about the people you work with – time-wasters, tyre-kickers and bad-fit clients disqualify themselves.
Your business will be like a top-end luxury store.
Not only will unsuitable clients not dare step into a store that is clearly out of their league – they won’t even get past the front-of-house staff.
Now let’s take a look at how your business looks when you have a clear idea of your ideal client:
- More Inbound Leads from referrals, social shares, in-depth case studies, and conversion-focused content
- Better ROI From Marketing and Advertising due to the use of dedicated landing pages that articulate your ideal client’s problems and desired results (their goals)
- Consistent Business Growth because your business is filled with the only best fit, high-quality clients
- Target Market – The collective term for the people you work with – Nope, I don’t mean your employees
- Niche – The problem you specialise in solving – yeah, not the industry – The Problem
- Ideal Client – The people who inspire you to do your best work
How to Create an Ideal Client Profile That Will Lead to More Sales
These are the steps will take to create your ideal client profile:
- List out your Top 5 Clients
- List out their Common Characteristics
- Choose one client to use as the basis for your Ideal Client Profile
Then, use my Free Ideal Client Workbook to detail the following:
- Their basic demographics
- Their sources of information and inspiration
- Their fears and frustrations
- Their wants and aspirations
- Their Buying Objections
Download The Ultimate Ideal Client Checklist
Discover the key to unlocking your business’s full marketing potential with The Ultimate Ideal Client Checklist.
This comprehensive and actionable guide will walk you through the essential steps to identify, define, and attract your ideal clients.
By following this checklist, you’ll gain valuable insights that will not only help you target the right audience but also improve your overall marketing strategy.