Your Ideal Client is a Client You've Already Had
When I speak to my clients or students about who their ideal client is, sometimes there is some pushback. Or a lot of pushback. First things first, what is an ideal client. According to the internet: "An Ideal Client is someone who finds the perfect solution to their problems or needs in the services or products that your company provides. The Ideal Client will be loyal to your company, frequently uses or buys your products or services, and is likely to recommend you to their friends and colleagues.” Source
Ok, back to the pushback. It comes from business owners feeling like they are excluding people by creating an ideal client profile. The spoiler alert is that it doesn't. It actually helps out your business by knowing exactly what your messaging will be and what content to create that will attract the right people. “I want everyone to buy my product!”. Of course, we want everyone to buy our product. We want to make the most money possible but if we are trying to reach a specific group of people, we need to figure out who they are. We want them to be our brand ambassadors who will, like the definition above says, recommend you to their friends and colleagues. Think of it this way, their friends and family may have completely different personalities from your ideal client but they trust their recommendations. You're now in front of more eyes while still staying true to your ideal client profile.
If you want to learn more about creating your ideal client, read this post Patsy wrote for The Branding Edit: 5 Prompts For Getting Clear On Your Ideal Client. What I want to talk about in this post is recognizing that your ideal client is someone you've already worked with. When Patsy and I taught a social media workshop for the New Bedford Farmers Market, one attendee told me about her favorite customer who is loyal to her brand and is always a pleasure to be around. I told her that sounds like her ideal client. Sometimes we spend more time creating a whole new person to be our ideal client when we should look back at our existing clients and base it off of them.
My ideal client is Billie, she's 35 and recently moved to Chicago with her boyfriend. She got out of sports marketing and is currently building her personal brand. She is an activist and cares deeply about her community.
Billie's story has been evolving because my business has been evolving. But then I thought of Heather. I first worked with Heather in the fall of 2017. She is a UX designer and was in need of brand photography. She enjoyed that experience so much that she hired me for family photos that winter. She also has recommended to me her friends and colleagues. This past July I went to NYC to photograph another female-run business from Heather's recommendation. I loved that she wrote a blog post about pronouns and how we should challenge what we have learned about gender. I wish more small business owners or entrepreneurs talked more about social issues like that. She has even given me advice and told me to raise my rates. Working with Heather has always been a great experience and I would definitely work with her again. Sounds like Heather is my ideal client.
Knowing your ideal client profile helps you really hone in on who you were meant to help with your business. Take a look at your ideal client now. Maybe it needs a rework or maybe you need to start from scratch. Either way, look at your clientele because your ideal client profile might have been there in front of you this entire time.
I first worked with Heather in the fall of 2017. She is a UX designer and was in need of brand photography.
She enjoyed that experience so much that she hired me for family photos that winter.
She also has recommended to me her friends and colleagues. This past July I went to NYC to photograph another female-run business from Heather's recommendation.