April 16, 2020
Can we talk about your “ideal client” for a minute? I want to challenge some common misconceptions and ask you a few questions here.
An ideal client is not necessarily a customer who falls in line with an imaginary avatar. A visualization of your dream client CAN be extremely helpful… but only if it’s rooted in deeper strategy.
1) They can invest in your services and contribute to your income.
2) They bring you projects that excite you.
That’s it. Those are the only two criteria needed for a dream client.
You need clients who can invest in you because this is a business: you shouldn’t be spinning your wheels talking to an audience of people who simply aren’t able to work with you at the level of income you desire.
And you need clients who keep your job exciting and inspiring… otherwise, you’d still be sitting in a cubicle somewhere. Do you feel motivated by challenging creative projects? Or maybe you feel most inspired by a particular aesthetic. Perhaps you feel most rewarded when you work with kind, down-to-earth people. That’s the first question to ask yourself: what makes a project exciting and enjoyable for you?
When you start to look at it, I think you’ll realize that your dream clients don’t all have to fit a perfect avatar. They can meet your needs without all shopping at the same store or wearing the same brands.
Almost all of my clients initially report that their ideal client shops at Anthropologie. It’s nice to think that your ideal clients enjoy shopping at Anthropologie… but guess what? So do everyone else’s ideal clients. What makes yours unique?
Shopping at Anthropologie is not enough to define your audience, when everyone else is thinking the same thing about their audience. How do you differentiate?
Client strategy is rooted in psychology. It doesn’t matter so much where your clients shop or what they buy… it matters why and how.
– It’s their go-to shop; their entire closet looks like an Anthro catalog!
– They know they can find something they like—it’s easy to make decisions.
– They want to feel unique, and Anthropologie offers distinctive style.
– They have a special event coming up and are splurging on an outfit for the occasion.
– They enjoy the ambiance of the store, even if they don’t buy much.
– They received a gift card and can finally shop at a store they admire.
– They’ve been waiting for a good sale, and can finally score some great purchases.
– They carefully select one piece for their home or closet.
– They buy plenty of options with the intention to return some later.
– They shop here often and usually leave with a big bag filled to the brim!
– They dash in for a quick purchase—they know they’ll find something.
– They spend hours browsing… it’s tough to make a decision!
– They usually shop here for special gifts, but not for themselves.
– They love browsing the store with a gift card, but otherwise it’s a bit out of their budget.
ANY of those options tell us so much more about a client’s mindset than simply the fact that they shop at a popular store.
If they enjoy the ambiance of the store, you know that it’s important to create a warm and welcoming experience for them. If they appreciate the ease of decision-making, you can offer to act as their guide. If they carefully select one piece, you can appeal to their desire for quality and thoughtfulness.
Poll your audience. Send a questionnaire to past clients, or offer a gift card to incentivize participation in a public survey. Reach out to potential clients who decided against booking with you: why didn’t they feel like it was a good fit? Create a poll, ask a question, or play a “this or that” game on Instagram stories. People LOVE to give feedback… all you have to do is ask!
So now that we know a little bit more about our ideal clients… how can we attract them?
This is at the root of all brand strategy. Get inside your client’s mind and try to understand what they are really afraid of.
They are afraid of something.
An engaged couple might be afraid of hosting a wedding that doesn’t properly honor their family’s legacy. Maybe they’re afraid of hosting an event that doesn’t reflect their unique personality. Maybe they’re afraid of all the decisions in the planning process, and need someone who can guide them.
An art director could be afraid of work that is not commercially appealing—they’ll have trouble selling it. Or perhaps they’re afraid of work that is too similar to other designs on the market… they desire something memorable. Maybe they’re afraid of a difficult relationship; they don’t want to run into any communication issues with their artists.
Do you see what I’m getting at?
If you can uncover the WHY and HOW behind a customer’s mindset, you can start to uncover the things they’re really afraid of. And when you can SOLVE those fears, you make it a no-brainer.
That is so much more important than simply sharing a favorite store or wearing similar brands.
Whew, that was a long post! I’m glad you read all the way through to the end, because this is the good stuff. I implement these strategies for my own clients, and it’s so rewarding to see how their businesses change because of it!
If you’re feeling stuck and need help on the strategy… I hope you’ll reach out. These deeper questions about your audience are at the root of our design strategy, guaranteeing a brand that your ideal clients will love. I’d be so honored to partner with you in this season of your business!
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