If there’s one mistake that new—and sometimes even established—business owners make, it’s this: failing to develop a clear vision of a ideal client or customer.
Too often we think our service or product is “for everyone.”
Now that might be true that everyone could use your help, it’s simply not possible for you and your brand to appeal to everyone. Prices might not be in line with what some can afford. Your branding might not resonate with others. The story of your business may not touch everyone with the same sense of urgency.
Everyone is NOT your customer!
The problem is when you try to reach everyone, rather than narrowing your focus to your truly ideal client, you dilute your message. This creates a problem and even less likely that those perfect customers will find you.
Think of it like a “bullseye.”
When you want to hit the target bullseye, you don’ t close your eyes, shoot in the direction of the target and hope for the best. In order to hit the target, you set your sights on the enter, focus your aim, and pull the trigger when ready. You may not always hit the center of the target, but I guarantee you’ll be pretty darn close. It’s the same way with branding & marketing.
If you’re just starting out, it can seem an impossible task to know who your ideal client/customer is. It can be done with a little time, effort and focus.
Let’s look at 3 main areas to focus on:
Is your audience male or female? While men and women might both read and enjoy your content, buy your products, etc. — you will most likely find that your market is skewed heavily one way or the other.
Men and women are different, and they are affected by stories and branding in very different ways, so what appeals to a man will not always appeal to a woman. Look around at some of the brands you buy, and you’ll quickly see how they form their messages to appeal to one or the other, but very rarely both.
A great example of this is Duluth Trading Company. Their ads for women are very different for women then for men. However, their ideal target is a very specific type of man who lives in the Midwest,likes to hunt, etc.
How do your products and services help to realize those goals? Whether your ideal customers is trying to build a profitable DIY blog so she can stay home with your children, or she’s working to create an online store for modern farmhouse lovers, if you don’t know where they’re going, you can’t help them get there.
3. His or her point in the journey. Is she married? Is Is she a DIY beginner or well along on the path? How you speak, how you write, what marketing methods you use, and even what prices you charge will all be determined by your ideal client’s level of sophistication and need.
Whether you’re teaching beginning knitters how to cast on, or helping couch potatoes train for their first 5k, their level of commitment (and willingness to spend) is far different from a long-time knitter who is discovering intarsia, or a runner working up to a triathlon.
Simply put, you will not reach your market effectively if you don’t know exactly where they are and what they need at this point. You need to know them inside and out, what their likes and dislikes are.
What if you’re just starting out?
For most new businesses, you might not yet know who your ideal client is. That’s okay, too.
You will need to pay attention, because your customers will tell you. Look at the trends and the analytics of your site. They’ll tell you through the products and services they buy. Are they following you (or not) on social media? Are you engaging with them via comments on your blog/Facebook Page? Are you asking questions that are relevant to them via email or social ?
Take a look at your interactions and engagement as well as take a look at what your competition is doing. Pretty soon, you’ll have a clear understanding of who your ideal client/customer really is.