Clients Articles

Why You Need Ideal Client Personas

Why You Need Ideal Client Personas

Your ideal clients should be those who are an excellent fit for what your firm offers. They are clients worth identifying because they value you as well as your brand. They connect with the message of your brand as well as your firm’s values and purpose. Because of those connections, you can provide them with great results and you will enjoy working with them. They will become some of the most effective advocates for your brand. 

What is an ideal client persona?

An ideal client persona is a document that outlines the characteristics of the perfect clients for your firm. It’s what you can look to when creating your marketing plan and asking for referrals. It assures you are focused on the right prospective clients for your firm. Think back on the clients with whom you most enjoyed working. They are probably your ideal clients!

“I can’t afford to be selective!”

You may be thinking that you don’t have the luxury of being selective about whom you want to work with. Can you really afford to turn down potential clients just because they don’t fit your criteria? Well don’t worry. You can, and probably will, have several ideal client profiles. It is rare to truly have only one type of person that will buy from you.

The clearer the identity of your ideal clients, the easier it is to create a short and strong unique value proposition aimed at this group. In other words, you are able to state the unique value or advantage you bring to your ideal clients. By being selective, your marketing can be targeted to their specific needs. You can specifically offer what you have identified that they need. You may also be able to remove services or steps that they don’t value or actively dislike.

Being more focused saves money in your marketing as the clients you are looking for are clearly defined. Consequently, you know where best to spend your marketing budget and who you are trying to reach. If you do not clearly define who are your ideal clients, how will you stand out in the industry? Marketing to everyone often means you’re marketing to no one, because you’re not truly speaking directly to any one group. It is much easier and less expensive to market to specific audiences who will identify with your messaging.

How to create an ideal client profile

The value and purpose of identifying an ideal client is to target your marketing specifically to their needs. This focus will lead to stronger client relationships and happier clients. These profiles need to be written because what gets written down gets done!

Define your brand

Your brand is the image you want clients to have of your company. It involves your unique value proposition. You don’t want to be all things to all people, so what sets you apart? Focus on what you do best and the value you offer your clients. That is what should drive the messaging of your brand. Outside of your unique value proposition, your brand includes your company’s values, the specific styles or services you are centered around, and the voice your company uses to communicate.

Start with your current ideal clients

Use your current favorite clients as a starting point to clarify the details for your ideal client profile. A detailed ideal client profile will identify exactly who you need to target and why. It helps you collect information that your ideal clients share. Make a list of those current and past clients who were the most financially positive and the most pleasant to work with. In addition, they should also be those who align with your brand – the image you want clients to have of your company. By doing this you can more easily put a “face” on your ideal clients. Thoroughly define the wants and needs of those ideal clients and why you were so capable of meeting them.

It can also be a great opportunity to reconnect with past ideal clients – take them for lunch or coffee and ask for their help and input. Ask them why they chose your firm and what things would they say are unique about your firm. Sometimes an outside perspective is exactly what you need! You may find that what attracted clients to you is something completely different than what you though, or what you wanted.

Create clear descriptions for each ideal client profile

Be thorough in listing the demographics and psychographics for each profile. They may differ for each of your ideal client profiles. Here is some of the information you will want to include in each profile to clarify each type of ideal client. It’s okay if some of these are unknown or not directly relevant – just do the best you can to keep these in mind and see what sorts of trends you can identify.

  • Demographics – General statistics that can help you understand a person or a group of people, especially to get averages for your overall audience.
    • Age and stage of life
    • Income range
    • Education level
    • Profession
    • Geographic location (this could be in the world, in the country, or neighborhood within a city, depending on your area of operation)
    • Gender
  • Psychographics – The psychological traits of your audience, which include their interests and personality traits.
    • Personality traits
    • Opinions/attitudes
      • Political affiliation
      • Religious affiliation
    • Lifestyle
      • What type of area they live in
      • Where they spend their leisure time
      • What is considered normal and what is considered a luxury
    • Values – their sense of right and wrong
    • Interests
      • Hobbies
      • Habits
      • Media consumption – what do they read, watch, or listen to?
      • Charities they support
      • Sports they follow or are involved in.

A thorough ideal client profile helps you and those in your firm clearly identify who you are looking to serve in your business. That knowledge makes it much easier to filter prospective clients and see if they are the right fit for your firm. It also allows you, when asking for referrals, to clearly share who you are looking for. It increases the possibility that people will refer ideal clients to you.

When to Break the Rules

Should you disqualify someone because your ideal client’s age range is 35-50, but they are 32? Not necessarily. It’s important to use ideal client profiles only as a guideline, and not turn down a good opportunity by following them to the letter.

Also don’t forget to include the non-negotiables. What are the attributes that are dealbreakers? That might include financial issues such as being a slow payer, shopping behind you back, or always asking for discounts.

Now take action and direct your marketing toward your ideal clients!

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