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  • Writer's pictureJamie Slough

7. Your Ideal Client

The Brand Therapist Now In Session Discussing:

Your Ideal Client

One of the most important parts of marketing and, in my opinion one of the most difficult, is determining who your ideal client is. When I start working with a new client, they are usually either just getting ready to launch a new business, so I'm jumping in and helping them build from the brand foundation up. Or they've already got an established business and they are really struggling somehow within their brand. And they're not sure what they're doing wrong and how to fix it.

So for both of these clients, one of the first things we address, and one of the first questions I ask them is who is your ideal client? Rarely when I ask this question, does the client come back and respond with a really clear understanding of who their ideal client is. This right here is the source of so many brand equation breakdowns, and has a major financial implication in two different ways.

The first you're wasting marketing dollars on something that's not working. And the second it directly impacts your income and your revenue, because you're not reaching your ideal client. And therefore it's not converting to the business that you're looking for. Depending on who you're working with your marketing, potentially a business coach or consultant, they might call this different things. I usually use ideal clients. You'll also hear client avatar, which just kind of helps allow you to visualize that specific person a little bit better. But both names are kind of interchangeable for this purpose. It's, whatever's more relatable to you to help you get the better understanding of this.

Research Your Client

So the first thing that I like to point out and have clients take a second to think about is that a lot of times with small business and startup, which is usually what I'm working with, the clients are creating the business that I'm helping them with based on their own personal needs or past struggles in an effort to help others with what they've already gone through or overcome. So, because of this, a lot of times, your ideal client is you. This is exactly why I created the Brand Therapist. And it took me years of trying to identify my ideal client and really understand who is that person I'm helping. And that I'm really wanting to work with before I had this somewhat obvious epiphany, I am my own client in my business. So that's not always the case, but it's definitely something to keep in mind as we go through this process. If you are really trying to determine who the ideal client is for you and your business.

So we know that I love my analogy. So we're going to start with one of those and help understand the importance of the ideal client. And so for this one, we are going to use fishing. So please forgive me for any of the fishing enthusiasts out there, listening to this, if I butcher the analogy, but I think it's going to get the point across. So you're going to think about the fish as your ideal client. For me, I love mahi. It is my favorite fish. So that is going to be my ideal client in this scenario. I decide I want to actually go fishing for mahi. I have a really good friend who owns a super successful fishing operation up in Alaska. And so without doing any research, I book a trip to Alaska. I get up there after spending all the money to get there, taking the time, you know, everything, to plan this trip, super excited to catch my first mahi, because again, my friend is super successful there. So I will be too, right. Obviously I'm going to be super disappointed when I'm not catching any mahi on this trip. I've gone and I've spent the money and I've booked the trip. So this would be like my marketing campaign. I've put the time and energy and the marketing dollars into getting to Alaska, and then I'm not catching anything. I'm not getting any business out of it. Now, if I had gone back and done my research before I booked my trip to Alaska, I would know that mahi usually is in warmer waters and probably should have been looking at a trip to Hawaii or Mexico and not Alaska.

What works for my friend or this analogy, another business, isn't necessarily going to work for me, even though we're both looking at fishing, because we're looking for different fish. So our clients are different. That ideal client is not the same. Even though we're in similar businesses, the ideal client can be completely different.

And this analogy is really something that I deal with on a regular basis with a lot of my clients, where they are dumping marketing dollars and time into a marketing strategy that has proven very successful for another business that they know of and that business is just crushing it by using this marketing strategy. But they're not recognizing the difference in that ideal client. Every business is different, every brand is different. And so your ideal client is really going to differ between your business and another similar one because of that. So without recognizing this, you're literally throwing money away and fishing in the wrong ocean.

Ask Quality Questions

So now you're asking, okay, that's great. I understand the importance of it, but how do you get super clear on your ideal client and understand what they need and want? Great question. This is something that I spend a lot of time focusing on with my clients, because it is such an important piece of the overall brand puzzle to have a successful business. And I break it down and we can go, you know, with my clients, we go into much, much more detail in their one-on-ones. But for the purpose of this episode, I break it down into three major questions that I ask my clients. And so I'm gonna ask these to you. And hopefully you can take these and really think about these a little bit and this alone can turn your business around.

So question number one, who is your ideal client? This is something that we dive in much, much deeper into when I do one-on-ones with my clients. But think through that question and ask yourself additional questions. Are they male or female? For me, my ideal client is female. And even more specific than that, a lot of them are moms or as I like to refer to us, as mom bosses. What age group do you like to work with? What income level is your ideal client at? Is there anything that's location specific? Think through what they like to do, who they surround themselves with.

Again, when you think about this in terms of a client avatar, start picturing who this person is and what they're doing Question number two, what problem do you solve for them? Pain and pleasure are a big part of the marketing strategy that I talked to with my clients. And it's really the two things that get people to do something you're either moving towards pleasure or away from pain.

Solve a Problem for Your Client

So if you're thinking about your ideal client and whether they're purchasing a product, whether they're looking for a specific service, it's really solving a problem for them. So you've got to think about what that problem is and make sure that you understand what you're trying to solve for them. An ideal client is going to have multiple problems, but you as an individual business cannot solve all of those problems. So you need to be very clear on what problem they have, that you are solving for them because if you’re not clear on it, then they can't be clear on the messaging of what you're going to do for them.

And then the third question, where are they? Now this one seems fairly basic after answering the first two, but this question is huge. You can have these first two questions pretty nailed down and still not be marketing in the right places and spending your marketing dollars correctly because you're off on this one. On the location of where your client is. In this question, when we're asking where they are, this doesn't necessarily mean physically where they are, but where are they receiving content, where are they getting their messages from.

With the example of social, which is so huge with most businesses these days, we all have different preferences. So if you're targeting millennials as your ideal client, Facebook may not be the right place for you. That's not really where they are. They might be on Instagram or Tik Tok is a new one for that generation and that might be a much better way to reach that group of people. If your ideal client is business executive and you're advertising on Facebook, you may be hitting them a little bit, but maybe really where you need to be spending your focus is on LinkedIn.

So just on social media alone, there are so many different platforms and everybody has their preference of where they spend their time and which ones they're really interacting with. So it's really important to understand your ideal clients, not just be able to determine who they are, but really understand their behaviors, what they're doing and where they are so that you can be there and interacting with them in that space.

If you can get really clear on the answers to these three questions for your business, and again, that is who is your ideal client, what problem do you solve for them, and where are they. Then you're going to be able to create a marketing strategy that is going to have the best ROI for you. You're going to be spending less money to do it. And you're going to see much higher returns and start seeing that income and the profit that you've been looking for.

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