My perfect customer is someone with a pulse!! Anyone with a pulse. Well, actually, I don’t even check for a pulse.
My headline was me being partially sarcastic. Shall we talk about problems? Oh go on then I hear you say.
The biggest problem I see in business — and I mean everywhere, not just online businesses — is that so many business owners want to sell what they’ve got to everybody. I say so tell me who is your ideal customer? They respond…everybody.
Really? Everybody? Everybody??
Like that dead person waiting to be embalmed at the funeral home is your ideal client? What? No? What about that homeless guy? No? Okay, what about those students over there? No? Those kids playing in the park, what about them? Men over the age of 73?
These businesses want to sell as many of what they have as possible, so they don’t niche down and sell to a targeted audience, they go broad instead. Now, I like you, you’re reading this post and you’re smart, (what’s not to like about that) and unlike these crazy businesses who don’t see the value in narrowing the scope of their marketing efforts, you do. They see a targeted audience as reducing their potential sales, you see it as a way to grow them.
You must have been to one of those networking meetings of small business owners, recruiters, multi-level marketers, and salespeople, where each person gets 30 seconds to tell the group who they are and what they sell, in an effort to generate referrals?
Nine out of 10 will say something like, “I sell these widgets, and they’re really great widgets. Everyone needs to use my widgets, so I sell them to anybody and everybody.” I really should use a non-widget example but widget works… everyone knows what a widget is, right?
You might as well be honest and come right out and say “My perfect customer is someone with a pulse. Anyone in the room with a pulse?”.
But every now and then, there’s a person with a specific message. He says something like, “I sell widgets to garages. A good referral for me is the mechanic who fixes your car.” And guess what? He gets referrals. The rest don’t.
The same is true in the online world as well as business networking. The more specific you can be with your marketing message, the more success you will have. So speak to your target customer as directly as possible in each piece of marketing material you put out. Speak directly to them in their language, not jargon or pseudo-corporation-speak that you never understood even when you worked in a corporate position. The words and language they use make a real connection.
Let’s explore a scenario. Let’s say I might be a prospective buyer of your widgets. I might really need your widgets, but I just don’t know about them. All you have to do is get my attention, and maybe I’ll buy from you.
You get me by tweaking your marketing message.
I’m a unique individual, with my own specific circumstances and my own specific problems. I don’t think of myself as one of “anybody and everybody.” I’m special. Stop sniggering, I am. When I’m busy not being special I do think of myself as a member of a group. In fact, I’m a member of many groups.
I’m a business owner. I’m a dad, brother, nephew husband, and a son, as well as an employee and a business owner. You get the idea. This isn’t just ME I’m talking about, I’m talking about who YOUR buyer is likely to be.
Maybe I like to watch Marvel films or eat doughnuts, so “film” and “doughnut lovers” are groups I identify with. If I have bad eyesight or tennis elbow, that puts me in one of those groups, people with a particular ailment. So if you say your widgets work for dads who own their own business, who watch Marvel films poorly due to dodgy eyesight, guess what? You’ve got my attention!
You’ve described me, my pain, and now I feel connected. The fact you have a box of dougnuts in your hand is no way irrelevant, I know you totally get me. Not only do you totally get me, you know my inner pains and you can cure them with your widgets. You say your widgets come with doughnuts? That sounds right up my street! I’m totally listening, tell me more as I wipe away my drool.
The way to build a following — a tribe, as Seth Godin puts it — is by targeting a specific group of people; a niche of people with a common problem that your product solves.
You’ll never build a following by trying to sell to “everybody,” because the truth is there’s nothing out there that appeals to everybody. Take food. We all have to eat. Do we all like the same foods? Some of you worry about the doughnuts, others can imagine the jam and the sugar… You know what I mean when I say there’s nothing that appeals to everybody, so why try and appeal to them?
The fact is, the more precisely you describe me, the more I’m going to like you and trust you.
People buy from people they know, like and trust, they buy from people who totally get them and they don’t just buy once, they buy over and over and over.
Remember it’s not difficult to find your ideal client but you do need to put a little bit of leg work in. If you need help with this then feel free to let me help you some more by clicking here
Every business should be able to shout out about who their ideal clients or customer avatars are…yes you do have more than one.
We’ve all done the exercise. Writing down who will buy our products and how our products and services will help this one special person. What do you mean you haven’t? How do you know who to market your business too? You think everyone is your potential client? Move along nicely… for you, there’s nothing more to read here.
You determine who will buy your products and services. what specific products and services they need, and then create a client avatar. By creating an ideal client avatar or buyer persona, you start to understand your prospective customer better, and then when you start blogging, you write to this person, much in the same way as you talk to them offline, and in all of your other marketing materials.
This vision of your ideal client impacts upon everything you do, including pricing (you can’t charge a single mum as much as you can the CEO of a FTSE 100 company), pain points differ (mum probably has fewer shareholders, with different priorities like “what time is our dinner, and no we don’t want fish fingers again“), and it even impacts upon the colour of your logo.
When putting together your ideal client avatar you’ll spend a few hours considering things such as their:
Your answers to these questions form the basis of your client avatar. You can even write up a nice little story about your ideal client. You give her a name, a couple of kids, a husband who just doesn’t get it, and maybe some debt, maybe the pressures of raising a family, oh, and a mortgage. You know quite a bit about her and her feelings, or at least, you should do, after all, you created her!
But you would be wrong, and if you stop there, you may be missing a huge piece of the puzzle—and losing out on the best clients because of it. Here are 4 things that impact upon the client avatar and stop you attracting the right customers.
I’m told that being authentically yourself means you’ll attract people just like you. I don’t think so. Are you really your own ideal client? When you are yourself, you may attract people similar to you, but you also have to remember a flame attracts moths as well as those seeking warmth.
What would a client base compiled of people just like you feel like? Is it a harmonious blend or do you prefer to work with people resonating on a different frequency? What if they’re a blue sky thinker and visual (most people are) and you’re tactile and respond kinesthetically…
There’s only one of you and one of them, and to say you are the same (but 5 years ago) with the same feelings, thoughts and experiences won’t help either or you. Times change, technology changes and circumstances change.
You 5 years ago isn’t your ideal customer and you’re losing business in huge amounts if you think it is!
Here’s something that’s rarely considered in the ideal customer conversation and it’s the most intriguing part: personality.
If you’re snarky, sarcastic, fun-loving and loud, then a quiet, middle-aged mother who spends her time volunteering at the church is probably not a good fit for you. Sure, she might need your help, and she might love your products and buy all your books, but for one-on-one coaching, this match is a hurricane-style disaster just waiting to happen. Either she will be uncomfortable with your methods, or you’ll be miserable trying to reign in your natural enthusiasm.
Better to pass this lovely person on to a coach who is a better fit for her personality-wise. Don’t want to do this? Ideal clients are human beings, they can sense when something isn’t quite right and it’s usually a personality issue. They may think you don’t “get” them, or the time isn’t right for them, and you shouldn’t force this issue. Telling them they’re not investing in themselves isn’t ethical or decent, it’s a cheap tactic designed to make you richer and the prospect poorer – let them explore their feelings and understand them.
If the person ticks all your ideal client boxes and you decide to work with them because you need their money, well you’re not really serving your business or them. An ideal client avatar is there to help you grow your business and help it thrive, not hoover up cash from the people it can’t help.
I decline more customers than I accept, some I’d love to work with, but I can’t determine their motive, while others I understand their motives but I don’t help people in that specific industry, for various reasons. I pass on a lot of potential clients to coaches more suited to them and their needs. I have discovery calls where the person talking just needs to be heard, and I just listen. There’s no push, and often being heard is the most powerful gift you can give to someone. You might not wish to behave in this way, you may wish to push-push-push because the sky is the limit but this will burn you out, and burn out your audience.
Drive can be difficult to calculate from the start, but once you recognise it (or the lack of drive) it’s worth paying attention to. The client without the drive to succeed will—more often than not—only end up frustrating you both. You’ll go all medieval by tearing your hair out. I know, because when first starting out, I attracted a lot of people who admired my drive and determination. They believed by working with me, they’d increase their drive, that I’d magically rub off on them somehow.
Better to end your relationship as soon as you see the signs of this than to waste your time going over the same material and exercises again and again with someone who simply won’t do the work, or heaven forbid, think they don’t need to do the work because another person (insert the name of any big name guru here) doesn’t do this! Or say they can’t do the work as they’re too busy. You’re not a therapist, pass them along, you’ll have to fire them at some point in the future if you don’t.
Listening matters. It’s all about what’s said and what’s not said.
People tell me they want to be happy, they want more freedom, they want to help more people, when you listen to whats behind these statements there is alot more going on than just these very bold declarations of desires. Often (not always) this translates into ‘I’m frustrated with my work’ or ‘I feel trapped doing something that isn’t inspiring ‘ or even ‘I need to earn more money’.
I frequently hear people say a certain group of people are their ideal customer, because the group is for women because they’re in a certain geographic boundary and it’s simply not the case. There’s more too it than the broad strokes.
Listening deeply truly does mean going into it with open ears and closing off pre determined judgements, your ideal clients are telling you whats going on but are you hearing it?
It’s never been enough, and unless you’re a generic business owner, digging deep and uncovering your dream clients is exactly what you need to do so that you can create customer avatars that grow your business.
P.S want to know how I can help you create the perfect client avatars? Take a look here
When it comes to finding your ideal clients there’s a lot of noise about the right way to do it. I’m frequently told it’s me, but 5 years ago. Sadly, that’s a short term fix for finding your ideal clients. Technology changes, marketplaces change and attitudes change, so you 5 years ago will never help you continually find a steady stream of clients because everything has changed. If you’ve used this in the past, it’s time to upgrade and create your client avatars the IDEAL way.
Look to the client base you have right now. What commonalities do they have with each other? That’s right – don’t look for what they have in common with you, look for the threads that connect them all. To find these elusive threads use the I.D.E.A.L acronym.
When you have the answers to the I.D.E.A.L Acronym you’ll find it easier to create ideal client avatars. To help you work it out there’s bonus content in the form of a worksheet if you share from the box below.
Thank you for sharing. Here’s your Ideal Client Worksheet <—— Right Click, “Save-As” to your desktop. Then print and complete!
One thing among more than any other thing will (with my clients) set off a huge discussion – is talking about SEO. About 12 years ago, before WordPress was invented, it was tougher to do SEO with very little technical ability. Today, it’s not so tough to use keywords. In fact, when you use keywords in your content you’ll find your visibility increases, you’ll gain more leads and your business will grow.
Using keywords really isn’t that hard unless you are in a room of SEO companies, and they’re making you feel the pain to buy their services… This is because the very best SEO is content marketing, which is what you’re doing right now!
There are two types of SEO you need to be concerned about – On Page SEO and Off Page SEO. But before anything can be done you need to get inside the mind of your ideal client and work out what Keywords they will use to find you.
Remember keywords have a use beyond content marketing – they are how you get found on Twitter, on YouTube and on every other social channel that has a search function. Using keywords across all your channels is a part of good branding.
You can do this two ways, you ask your clients what terms they would search (always a good indicator of what you should optimise for) and Keyword research.
So let’s start at the beginning and work our way through keywords, it’s a long post so grab a cup of coffee now and we’ll get to it.
When it comes to marketing online, one bit of advice is repeated again and again – do your keyword research. Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur or just starting out, keyword use can be an adventure that often ends in confusion, frustration and wandering around in circles, or smacking your head against a desk! Luckily learning how to use keywords is quite easy once you know how.
Understand that keywords and keyphrases determine which pieces of your content will be found. Simply put, a keyword (keyphrase is actually a more accurate description as you’ll need two or three words rather than just one) is the term your ideal customer types into their search engine of choice, when they’re looking for the answer to a question.
If your reader wants to know how to potty train their toddler, they might type in “potty training” or “how to train a toddler to use the potty” or “potty training for toddlers.” These are all key phrases made up of keywords.
You will need to find out which is the best keyword or keyphrase for your purpose. This can depend on a lot of factors, but most commonly you’ll want to know how many people, on average, search for that exact term. Optimising your page for the term “toilet training a young child” won’t earn you a bit of traffic if no one ever searches for that term.
There are a variety of tools available for conducting keyword research in prices ranging from free to several hundred dollars per month. While the paid tools are able to do many fancy calculations like analysing your potential competition and discovering the number of backlinks your page has, free tools are more than enough when you’re getting familiar with keyword research.
One of the most popular is Google’s own keyword research tool, the Keyword Planner Tool which you can find here: Keywords Planner Tool
Some people are having trouble accessing the Google tool, so I recommend you take a free trial of Longtail Pro and hook Google Keyword Planner to it. Don’t panic, Longtail Pro will show you how to do this.
To begin your keyword research, simply type your basic keyword into the box marked word or phrase, enter the captcha code, and click search. Google will present you with a list of words and phrases related to your chosen keyword. Clicking on the various headings will sort your list accordingly. If you want to find the keywords with the highest number of searches locally (local in this case is your country), click “Local Monthly Searches” and the list will sort itself.
For basic keyword research, you can ignore the column labeled “competition” as that is relevant only when choosing keywords for an Adwords campaign. It has nothing to do with keyword competition. You should, however, change your search preference from “broad” to “exact” in the left column. Be aware that exact match means what it says while broad match can be quite misleading and drive you nuts.
When you have a list of ten keywords, add them to a spreadsheet or Google docs. You’ll need them (to know where to put them) in the next section.
Discovering your ideal keywords is just the start. It’s only when you’re proficient and consistent with using keywords will you really begin to understand their power.
So what do you do with keywords? Here are four critical places to use keywords:
Some SEO experts say you shouldn’t use dashes, odd spellings, or numbers instead of words. All of these methods can potentially cause your customers to visit the competition’s site rather than yours when they forget to type .org at the end of your URL or neglect to add the dash. If you can’t get the name with keywords that you want, consider another URL.
If you’re set on using your keyword in your URL but it’s not available, you could try adding a short word to the beginning or end of your keyphrase. Some popular choices are my, blog, and online. So instead of LoseWeight.com you’ll have LoseWeightBlog.com or LoseWeightOnline.com.
Site titles generally take the H1 tag, which means search engines understand that this is the most important text on the page, so using your keywords here is likely to be seen as more important than using them in your URL.
Remember, not everyone has a domain name with their keyword in. Don’t wrongly assume their domain name is their keywords or keyphrases.
You most likely won’t be able to use your keywords in each place for every post or article, and that’s not a bad thing – we all write for people. Keeping the above locations in mind will help you use keywords consistently throughout your site, and will improve your search engine rankings over time. The key here is time, search changes take place over time.
Don’t rush thinking that by optimising all your posts you will see a difference overnight. You won’t. It takes a little time and some additional actions.
Keywords, when used respectfully in your content will get you found by your ideal clients.
PS Bonus Content. If you share this post using the buttons in the box, you’ll unlock a keyword checklist to help you stay focused on your blogging.