The Top 3 Things You Need to Understand About Your Ideal Client
Let’s take a moment and think about your ideal client aka the client you absolutely love working with. They’re fun to be around, embody your style, love your services, and sing your praises. When you see them on your schedule, you let out a sigh of relief and are excitedly anticipating your appointment with them.
You think to yourself, “If I could fill my books with 20 more people just like them, I would be set.”
Well, that wish doesn’t have to be an “if,” it can be a reality when you know what factors of your ideal client to dig into when marketing your business.
Now if you’ve done any work related to defining your brand, you may have already completed some ideal client exercises designed to help you figured out what matters to your ideal client.
While these exercises are helpful, many of them get carried away with dreaming up information that’s not rooted in factual findings, or they don’t reveal information that is going to help you genuinely appeal to your ideal client. (For example, knowing your ideal client’s favorite ice cream flavor is a fun tidbit, and would be helpful if you owned an ice cream shop, but likely isn’t pertinent as a beauty professional.)
Through my experience crafting brand strategies and messaging for a variety of businesses in the beauty and wellness industries, I’ve found that there are three main factors about your ideal client that you should zero in on first.
When you understand these three things first and foremost and incorporate them into your marketing strategy, you’ll find your books increasingly filled with the people you label as your dream clients.
Their Fears, Desires, and Aspirations
I like to lump these things into one category because they all tie into each other.
First, what does your ideal client fear? What are they afraid of if they don't get what you offer? What's the antithesis of what you're trying to help them achieve? Second, what do they desire from the kind of service you offer? Finally, what are they envisioning in their head concerning the outcome?
As a quick example, let’s consider a make-up artist whose ideal clients are brides.
A bride’s biggest fear might be looking sloppy on her wedding day. She is worried about being two hours into the celebration and having her make-up melt off and ruin her photos. Similarly, she might desire a timeless look, one that doesn’t make her look too "done" and will still be beautiful in 10 years. Her aspiration is her dream aesthetic. What does she aspire to look like on her big day? Is she ethereal, very light and fresh? Or is she dramatic and vixenish?
See how by narrowing in on the ideal client’s fears, desires and aspirations you can get extremely specific on who your unique ideal client is?
Before moving on, I want to address something I hear from many of my clients, which is that they don’t have a singular ideal client, they have multiple ideal clients depending on the service.
While you will have a faceted audience that doesn’t fit perfectly into a single neat and structured box, if you do this work getting to know your ideal clients, you will find that your personal style and approach will attract clients that yes, have a slight variation that exists between them, but also hold the same core beliefs and goals for what they desire from being a patron of your business.
All that to say, you can perform a couple to a few profiles of your ideal client, but overall they will be extremely similar in their fears, desires and aspirations, and their differences will lie in their stage of the customer journey or in their values...
Values Behind Purchasing Decisions
While values such as honesty, integrity, and vulnerability are certainly important things to examine, the values I’m referring to here tie into the positioning of your brand based on purchasing decisions according to quality, convenience, and price.
For example, I'm someone who values quality.
When I purchase clothes or jewelry, I would rather buy a more expensive piece knowing it will stand the test of time and flatters me in just the right way, that buy bargain pieces multiple times a year, which makes me a quality-motivated shopper rather than a price-motivated shopper.
In the beauty, wellness, and self-care industries, you are likely marketing a what's considered discretionary or “luxury” expense (even though we can argue the necessary merits of taking care of our skin, soul, and self). But for the sake of being objective, we can also argue that if someone is going to spend that additional segment of their income, they are adamant about receiving a quality product. And when you can deliver on your promise of offering a quality product and delivering results, clients are going to come back to you over and over again.
You’ll also want to consider what your ideal client values concerning convenience.
For example, a wellness studio might realize their ideal client is busy and needs to fit in workouts quickly during the week. As a result, they offer a more condensed class at noon so that clients can attend over their lunch hour and still have time to shower and get back to work.
When you take factors such as price, quality and convenience into account within your ideal client’s psyche and purchasing decisions, this helps to better inform your marketing by emphasizing the benefits that speak most clearly to those factors that matter most to them.
The Fun Stuff
It’s likely that you still don’t need to know your ideal client’s favorite ice cream flavor, but for this section, we want to focus on the more personality-driven cultural references your ideal client relates to.
Questions such as:
What music do they listen to?
What movies and TV shows do they watch?
What are they doing for recreation?
Where are they going out to eat?
These are all good questions to answer because they can inform references you make in your copy and the visuals.
For example, if your ideal client’s favorite TV show is Friends, and they have watched every single episode 50 times, including references to the show in your social media captions adds a fun and authentic layer of personality that allows you to connect with your client on a topic that isn’t solely about your business and what you offer.
Or let’s say your ideal client loves shopping and going out to luxury restaurants. The visuals and copy you use to market to that person are very different than if your ideal client is outdoorsy and prefers hiking and camp-side cooking to fine dining.
Understanding what your client likes, enjoys, and what they spend their time doing helps you to align your visuals and language to be compelling on a personal level.
Once you’re clear on these three things, not only will you understand the psychological drivers behind your ideal clients’ purchasing decisions (making all of your marketing efforts that much easier), but you’ll also be equipped to cater your entire communications and brand strategy in a way that only attracts ideal clients so you're not wasting your time on the client who won’t be loyal, spread the word about your services, or give you the experience of doing the work you love with people you enjoy being around.