When you’re just starting out as a small business owner, often one of the scariest things is finding paying customers. During those beginning stages, you’re probably thankful for ANY customer that comes your way. There are potentially thousands, even millions of potential customers out there who could buy your product or service. But that doesn’t mean you should blindly market to anybody that can hear you. “Don’t try and change people’s opinion about something. Market to those who already agree with what you’re selling.” In other words, you need to spend some time identifying your Ideal Customer. That person who is already interested in your industry and will gladly buy what you have to sell.
For some small business owners, hashing out their ideal customer isn’t that easy. Maybe you don’t know who your ideal customer is or even why you need to define your ideal customer. So today I wanted to walk you through some quick, actionable steps to understand WHY you need to outline your ideal customer and then how to do it.
WHY YOU NEED TO DEFINE YOUR IDEAL CLIENT:
1. It will save you time with branding and marketing. Whenever you’re designing a package, a worksheet, gift tags, basically anything for your company, you should be referencing your ideal client. If you’re stuck & not sure what design or wording would be best - you can easily think “what would she like?” and base your decision off of that. This eliminates the confusion of designing for many people and helps so that you don’t let your personal taste get in the way.
2. When you know the “who” it’s easier to define the other pieces of your brand. You can more easily connect to your brand’s niche and stay in touch with the “why” of your company.
3. You’ll have fewer “troublesome” customers. If you’re successfully attracting your ideal customer, you won’t have to deal with as many people that think your prices are too high, your style isn’t perfect or your values don’t align with theirs. Your ideal customers will be a joy to work with and sell to, respectful and loyal to your company. Which is a much better experience for the both of you.
So. How exactly do you define your ideal client? Most people will tell you to start with basics like:
Likes + Dislikes
THAT'S A GOOD START. BUT I THINK YOU SHOULD TAKE IT A STEP FURTHER.
1. Talk about your ideal client as if it’s one person. Not a “group” of people. You can (& should) give her a name, age, job, etc. Think about more than her style or taste.
2. Brainstorm what her daily life looks like. What does she do in the morning, what’s her personality, what does she eat, where does she hang out? All of these questions will help you dive deeper into understanding “her.”
HERE'S MY IDEAL CLIENT:
“Olive is a 20-something creative mama who loves to work just as much as she loves her young family. She’s got an eye for authentic, nature-inspired designs and cares deeply about connecting with others through her business. Sometimes she struggles with designing for herself as her business is so personal to her.
Her strengths include compassion, staying grounded and being able to balance lots of different hats. Her weaknesses are networking and having so many ideas she doesn’t know which to pursue. She wants every interaction to be deeper than surface level and dislikes the feeling of being salesy. She connects with words like “organic” and “personal” and dislikes words like “static” and “corporate.”
Olive loves to give back to others. In fact, quality time and acts of service are her love languages. She created her business because she had a problem in her life that she couldn’t find an solution for. Once she did, she knew she had to share it and help other mamas out there. She’s never blindly accepted the “way things are” but rather always strives to find her own authentic truth, both in business and life.
On a perfect day, she wakes up in the morning to some snuggles with her little ones. Once they finally crawl out of bed, she heads to the kitchen, turns on some acoustic music and brews coffee on her stovetop. Eventually, she heads to her studio, a bright place filled with treasures she’s gathered in nature, and gets to work creating for the day. She loves grabbing a plant-based lunch or going on a walk with her closest friends: anything that allows them time to chat about their struggles and successes in life. She always ends the night with some meditation and sets her intentions for the next day, keeping an open mind and a grateful heart.”
You’ll be amazed at how much you can learn when you take the time to do this process. Once you’ve figured out your ideal client & written everything down, keep going back to that description to check in and make sure you’re making every business decision with “her” in mind. Within no time, you should be attracting more and more dreamy customers just click with you.