When people think about marketing their businesses online, the focus is often on the tools. How do I use Twitter? How can I set up a blog? How can I get more fans on Facebook?
While it’s important to know how to use the tools, these are really secondary considerations. The primary consideration needs to be: Who is the client that I’m trying to serve? Everything else – how the tools are used, how the website is optimized, the content that is shared on Facebook, Twitter, and the blog – all will flow out of the answer to this question.
Why It’s Important to Identify Your Ideal Client
Being clear about your ideal client is important because you actually can’t be successful if you try to please everyone.
You’ve heard the saying: “You can please all of the people some of the time, and you can please some of the people all of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.” If you’re trying to build your business, your best bet is to please some of the people all of the time – these are the clients who will be happy with your service and refer you to others.
This is part of the traditional marketing process of segmenting your market. It’s much easier to get your message across to prospective clients if you can group them so that you can more easily identify the needs of that particular group. While a large business may have multiple segments that it is marketing to (such as Apple, which sells its computers to businesses, schools, and consumers), most service professionals don’t have the bandwidth to market to multiple segments. That’s why it’s important to settle on the ideal client that you can best serve and focus your energies there.
A related concept is finding your business niche. This is especially important when you’re marketing your business online. The Long Tail of the Internet has taught us that there is an almost infinite number of niche markets that are available – your challenge is to find the one that is going to fit you.
How To Identify Your Ideal Client
Now it’s one thing to know that you should have a clear ideal client, but it’s another thing to know how to identify that individual.
To do so involves really understanding their needs and being able to answer some important questions. You can do this by looking at your current client base or, if you’re just getting started, looking at your prospects. In either case, you should be asking your current and prospective clients what they need and listening closely to what they say.
Examples of questions that you should be able to answer about your ideal client include:
- Are they male or female?
- Young or old?
- Single or married?
- What is their education level?
- What is their biggest problem?
- What keeps them up at night?
- What do they need that you can help them with?
- What is their motivation for working with you?
- Are they willing and able to pay your fees?
Answering these questions will help you to gain clarity about your marketing efforts. In fact, the more that you can answer these questions in detail, the better that you’ll be able to market your business. Once you know who your ideal client is, you can make sure that your content marketing is relevant to him or her. Your website copy, Facebook updates, and blog posts can all be aligned so that you are speaking directly to that person.
If you have questions about identifying your ideal client, please leave them in the comments.