Admit it. Your first instinct is to say that everyone who has a need for your services is your ideal client. You don’t want to exclude anyone for fear of missing out on his or her business.
However, this kind of thinking could be doing just the opposite. Instead of helping you attract more business, you could end up losing potential business to competitors who are better at tailoring their marketing to specific niches.
Ideal clients are those individuals and organizations with whom you can establish strong business relationships. They are also the people most likely to become your advocates, leading to referral opportunities. You want to focus on these types of clients.
That doesn’t mean that you have to turn down new business opportunities from other people. But your time and energy is best spent on your best prospects.
How Do You Define and Identify Ideal Clients?
Take a look at your best clients. What traits do they share? For instance, if you’re a real estate agent, do they come from a specific neighborhood? Are they families? Empty nesters? First time home buyers?
Don’t stop at demographics. Dig deeper to identify what drives their behaviors. What keeps them up at night? What challenges do they face? Where do they turn for information about topics in your industry? Do they search online, seek advice from trusted friends or family, or use a combination of both strategies? If you don’t know, send out a brief survey to collect some data.
After you have all of this information, create a client persona that can help you focus your marketing to appeal to these types of clients. Personas are semi-fictional representations of your customers based on your data and research.
Give your persona a name and an image. Be specific. For example, if you create a persona for Seller Sam, give him a precise age (such as 42) rather than a range (30-45 years old).
Refer to your personas when creating your inbound marketing. If what you’re creating doesn’t fit with the needs of your persona, you will have to rethink your strategy.
Tips for Marketing to Your Niche
There are several things you can do to appeal to your ideal clients and prospects. Most importantly, make sure that you are able to meet their unique needs and concerns. You could write blog posts that answer common questions, create PDF guides on specific topics (like buying your first home), or join online discussions—just to name a few. If you can show that you know about their specific situations, you’ll establish yourself as the expert they need.
Be sure to speak their language. If they don’t use your industry jargon or buzzwords, you shouldn’t either. In fact, your choice of phrasing should go beyond the industry. Choose appropriate wording for the culture, age, and experiences of the people with whom you’re communicating.
When paying for advertising, narrow your focus and target the audience as much as possible. Well, maybe not as much as this guy, but at least enough to resonate with your niche.
Don’t stop after these people become your clients! In fact, that’s precisely when you’ll want to get even more personalized. Use what you know about them to build and strengthen your relationships at every encounter.