Have you ever said…. “Oh no, it’s the ‘Identify Your Ideal Client’ exercise!” This can be a real struggle for many of us because we’re told and taught we have to know who we’re marketing to and if we don’t…we feel like failures, since “Everybody else knows their ideal client and I’m struggling to know mine”. So we have a tendency to just cringe when we see that exercise.
Am I saying we don’t have to know who our ideal client is? No, because we DO need to know exactly who we’re marketing to for our marketing to be effective and reach our target audience.
We absolutely need to know what issues and challenges they face, because these are the solutions you are going to let them know you can provide for them. But I don’t think you need to know everything about them….right on down to the type of bathroom tissue they currently use. 🙂
But there may be some other “underlying” reasons why we have trouble determining just who our ideal client is.
Do you see yourself in any of these?
1. We haven’t identified who we are: When we first go into business we want to market to everybody and offer every option associated with what our business is. We love the thought of being in business for ourselves, but we are all over the board. We’re offering this…to this market, and offering that… to another market, and offering both… to even another market, etc. There isn’t a focus and truth be known, our audience is confused because they aren’t exactly sure what we’re offering. Is it what they are looking for or not? Will this solve that specific problem they are having? Will this give them the result they are looking for? We haven’t really identified who WE are or set ourselves to be the solution to their problems. We are blending in and not setting ourselves apart. It’s hard to identify your ideal client, if you haven’t identified who you are TO the client.
2. Our Mindset: This is a big one because our mindset is what directs our thoughts and our actions. We can have all the positive intentions a person could possibly have, mapped out all the steps, and be sitting on go!!! But… if our mindset, our sub-conscious, has a negative view of the situation, it will win out over the positive every time because your actions are guided by your sub-conscious. Example: You want to raise your fees. But you have the fear of raising your fees because “no one will pay it” and I won’t get any new clients. You will most likely stay right where you are. The good news is our mindset views CAN be changed!
3. We make it more complicated than it really is: Identifying your ideal client will take some time. It is a process that does require thought, research, and action. It’s not something you want to whiz though or just do a “surface” client process. Schedule out some time and really look at who it is you are trying to reach. Don’t worry about missing out on others who are in your market, but focus on your ideal client market you want to reach. Let me offer an example: If you’re at an event and the presenter says… “Would all the blonde headed ladies in the room stand up.” You narrowed the market with the blondes from the rest of the hair colors in the room. But what if the presenter said, “Would all the blondes in the room named Oliva please stand up”. See how much more targeted that is and you found who you were looking for! But you can believe every blonde in that room is going to be listening to what you have to say to Oliva….and so will the other hair colors! So they are not eliminated at all, but you are just zeroing in on who you really want to target.
4. Your ideal client may have changed: Identifying your ideal client will be ongoing during your business journey. As time passes and you work with specific clients and specific issues and struggles, you may find you are beginning to be more focused within your market. This is where you are going deeper not wider with your market and your clients. As you go deeper, your market and your client may change. Make sure your website and your marketing messages always speak directly to your current market and current ideal clients. Working though this now, will help you when you have to change it in the future.
What this comes down to is knowing yourself and then being focused on who you are marketing to. Always being aware of what your ideal client is going through…their issues and struggles. You want them to see you as their solutions provider and to do that you must speak directly to what they are struggling with.
How have you struggled with identifying your ideal client? I’d love to hear your response in the reply area.
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