When I work 1-1 with clients the FIRST thing we do is get to know their Ideal Client/Imaginary Customer and map out their story. Business owners often feel uncomfortable creating an Ideal Client profile because they worry they’re excluding potential paying customers.
In this video, I talk about why we need this IC profile, what we do with it, and why it’s definitely not hurting your sales figures.
Video summarised in text below for those that prefer to read.
This post is for you if you have ever struggled to create an ideal client profile or you haven’t created one yet or you have some kind of resistance around whether that’s the right thing to do or not.
One of the first things I do when people join my Copywriting Coaching packages is we have a call and it’s all about that Ideal Client and the journey that person takes from the moment that they realize that they’ve got a problem right through to working with the business.
The very first step is for us to give that customer and identity to create a character around them - this is what people often call an ‘ideal client exercise’.
I also call them an ‘imaginary customer’ because that feels a little less pressured than an ‘ideal client’.
We talk a bit about the demographics, we give them a name, and we create a bit of background about what their life is like, their work, their family life and what a typical day would look like for them.
And this is something that people really feel quite a bit of resistance towards. They don’t like the idea of creating this ideal client or imaginary customer profile because it feels like we are excluding huge numbers of people that might be prepared to work with us. It feels like turning money away and nobody likes to do that.
So in this post I wanted to talk about why it’s important to have this imaginary customer or ideal client profile and then hopefully that will make it feel a little bit more comfortable for you to do it.
For Your Eyes Only
The first thing I want to say is this is private information for you. So if you create an ideal customer profile that says that this person is a woman and she’s aged between 40 and 60 and um, you know, she’s a vegan, you don’t have to advertise that information. You don’t put it on your website and say ‘I help vegan women age 40 to 60 only’.
Would you rather address a crowd of strangers or chat to one friend?
One of the reasons we create this ideal client avatar is so we can hold one person in mind when creating marketing content. It’s so much easier to communicate on a one-to-one basis, having a conversation with this one imaginary person, than it would be to stand on stage and broadcast to a room full of strangers. And that one person’s easier to imagine if you put the effort into creating a character profile around them. And you hold that person in mind and you think about what it is that they want to hear.
How can you get in front of all the right people?
The other reason that you need the profile is you need to know how to connect with these people. So as you create their character profile, you’ll start to get a feel for where do they hang out online, what kind of TV programs they watch, what Facebook pages they follow, what online content do they consume? How do they read their emails? Do they like to sit down at a desk once a week and clear out their inbox? Or are they on their phone all the time looking for something to pop up to get their attention? And when you can really dive into the character, the personality of your ideal client, it’s going to help you to connect with them.
So at the moment they’re a complete stranger to you. They don’t know that you even exist. So how are you going to create that connection? You’re going to need to use maybe Facebook adverts, maybe search adverts, you can collaborate with other business owners who already have an audience that’s similar to the one that you want to get in front of. You can guest post for other online publications. So creating that ideal client profile is going to help you figure out what activities you need to do to get in front of that person.
And if you have to create two or three profiles to make yourself feel more comfortable that you’re not excluding like vast numbers of people, then do that. But those character profiles are going to help you know what action you need to take to get in front of those people.
Which of your clients have been less-than-ideal?
This came up over and over again on a copywriting coaching call last week. We were working on her imaginary customer profile and she kept saying, ‘I could work with these people’ or ‘I have this type of client and they show up all the time’. And I would just keep asking: ‘Are they the people that you really want to be working with?’ And often, the answer was ‘no’. Use your experience to decide who you don’t want to be working with, and figure out how you can spot them coming from a mile away.
Your ideal people are those you want to target because you want to work with more and more and more of those people. That’s very different to the list of anyone in the universe that you could possibly get money from because they are prepared to work with you.
And in the beginning, especially when we first start our business, we will take money from anyone who wants to work with us. If it helps you make the transition from working with anyone to being a little more discerning, create two lists: all people who would pay to work with me (that list might come in handy for you if you really need to hustle and you need to make money fast); and a different list/profile of your ideal clients, the gold standard that you’re aiming for.
And then over time, aim to increase the proportion of your work that’s coming from those ideal clients.
This is foundational work. It’s something that you need to get right from the beginning because it will become the basis of your website content, your blog posts, your social media marketing. All of those things are easier once you’ve got really solid foundations, which is why when people work with me on my program, we spend a whole hour talking through this customer journey and really understanding who this customer is and what it is that they need to hear and how are the ways that we can connect with them.
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