Identifying your ideal client 

Over the past day or two I’ve had several conversations around the ‘ideal client’ concept. This was not a term I was familiar with until I became self-employed. I knew I wanted to work with women, but I hadn’t thought much further than that. What I’ve come to learn over the years, is that, when you are your business i.e. a personal brand, the more specific you can be about who you are targeting with your content on social media, and in the copy on your website etc, the better it is. 
 
You’ve heard me talk about people buying people before. People buy from people they know, like and trust and curating your brand is THE way to do this. If you can totally tune into who your ideal clients is it’s going to be so much easier to get into their head and develop rapport through creating content that resonates with them. 
 
There are different ways to do it, but my preference is to think about them as an actual person and imagine them in detail, putting them in certain scenarios considering how they might behave etc. I ask myself questions about them. You can consider demographics and psychographics to help you flesh them out as a person. I even give them a name. If this way feel a bit restrictive think about current/past clients who you’ve enjoyed working with. What were the things they had in common? Was it their attitude, values, beliefs etc? 

Demographics & psychographics 

It helps me to write up their profile thinking about how they feel about their life in relation to the service I’m offering. Here’s an example of what I mean. I wrote this about 5 or 6 years ago when my business focus was purely around colour and style, but you’ll get the gist. 
 
Meet Amanda 
 
She’s in her 50’s, an intelligent, well-educated professional woman who is really good at what she does. She’s competent, self-assured and is comfortable complaining if the food is not up to scratch when she goes out for lunch with friends. She’s strong, resilient and has the wisdom that you get from reaching her age. Life is short, she gets that and wants to have a bit more fun. She wants to enjoy being who she is and rediscover her identity… 
 
Her kids are older now, at university; so, she has more time on her hands but still not masses of disposable income as they’re topping up student finance loans. She’s been with her husband a long time, they’re at the ‘comfy slippers’ stage. She knows he loves her, but she sometimes feels a bit invisible to him. He doesn’t pay that much attention to how she looks so isn’t too handy with the compliments…she could quite easily change her hair and it would be a few days before he’d notice. 
 
They’re happy in each other’s company but don’t have to be in each other’s pockets so have developed separate hobbies and interests over time. She likes book club (with wine) and enjoys reading the books on her kindle while on the bus to work – Martin takes the old Volvo. Rock choir and yoga are her weekly nights out, she’s made friends by going to them but doesn’t see them out of those environments. 

WTF does smart casual even mean? 

Her ‘real friends’ are women she’s known for a long time (since the kids were little) they don’t get chance to get together that often these days but when they do there’s usually gin, or wine involved and lots of chat and laughter. They’ll sometimes meet for coffee and cake in a nice independent bistro type place with mismatched china and waitress service…it could lead to a cocktail or two on occasion. 
 
She likes to look nice but isn’t always confident that she gets it right 100% of the time. She works in an environment where the dress code is fairly relaxed most of the time – herein lies the problem. She struggles with how to dial things up a notch when she has a presentation to deliver or represent the department externally – WTF does smart casual even mean?? 
 
While she’s been busy bringing up her family, she’s lost her way a bit and has got into a bit of rut – she never actually, feels really nice. Her clothes don’t really express how she feels inside; young at heart. She’s not that keen on clothes shopping these days anyway – it’s all a bit too much like hard work. And don’t even get her started on the changing rooms… 
 
She’s not too happy with how things are changing as she gets older, things are all a bit softer than they used to be, not as taut. She’s hot one minute, cold the next and is getting less tolerant to synthetic fabrics and tightfitting waistbands. Heels are for looking at or special occasion car to bar type nights out – which are few and far between. She’s not ready for the Velcro fastening shoes you see at the back of those inserts in the Sunday supplements, but she absolutely wants her feet to be comfy. 

Jeans and a nice top 

The make-up she’s always worn seems to be making her skin look worse rather than better, it’s sitting in the lines. She’s bought a few different products to try but feels apprehensive about approaching the counters as the sales staff are either too ‘cakey’ or too young. She has recently started to think about eye cream and neck cream and wondering if it’s too late. 
 
Her hair texture has changed too, and the greys are getting harder to disguise – she’s wondering if it’s time to embrace it – after all, Helen Mirren and Meryl Streep look bloody amazing!? She’s started getting it professionally coloured as the box dye she used to use started to look a bit flat, that’s probably her biggest ‘self-care’ expense. She feels a bit guilty about it though as she’s been so used to putting the kids first it feels a bit alien to her. 
 
Same with clothes, there’s a bit of guilt at paying full price and as such enjoyed a browse in the charity shops and sale rails. This means there are lots of items in her wardrobe that aren’t quite making her heart sing when she wears them but hey, they were a ‘bargain’. This makes here feel that it doesn’t matter too much if they end up at the back of the wardrobe unworn despite the numerous attempts to find something to go with them – which end up being also not quite right. The charity shop gets regular donations. 
 
There is a section of supermarket purchases in the wardrobe too – panic buys from Sainsbury’s for those nights out with the girls when it is someone’s birthday. The ‘jeans and a nice top’ nights where they go to a local bistro/bar and have tapas and a few cocktails. She knows that these clothes aren’t that green/eco-friendly/sustainable and ethical so that’s another guilt trip but needs must – besides, she’s being greener now she’s stopped buying plastic water bottles since she got her Chilly water bottle as a birthday present. She’s trying to drink more water these days too…some evenings, instead of her tipple of gin and Fever Tree while she’s cooking, she has elderflower presse and sparkling water. 
Build a connection 
So…in summary 
 
She’s generally happy with her life, confident, competent and well respected in her work life. She earns good money but doesn’t have masses of disposable income, appreciates quality brands but winces at the full price so resorts to shopping in sales. She likes to look nice but hasn’t got the time or inclination to be one of those high maintenance, perfectly coiffed and made up types. She is feeling in a bit of a rut and gets frustrated with her wardrobe at times just wishing it was all a bit EASIER. 
 
Bearing all this in mind meant that it helped me get clarity and focus on what I was offering and how I was promoting it so that it would appeal to ‘Amanda’. I could also share stories that would resonate with her and build a connection. I.e. talking about having a gin and tonic at the end of the working day while I’m cooking dinner etc. I hope this has given you a bit of food for thought. What would/do you call your ideal client? Are they a bit like you? 
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