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How to easily define and research your ideal clients

Your ideal clients … who are they? And how much do you know about them? Many businesses have merely a vague idea about who they want to serve and just kind of stumble across their clients.  

But here’s the thing: Knowing your ideal clients intimately has a ton of advantages. You could tailor your marketing messages perfectly and place them exactly where your target audience spends the most time. That’ll bring in more high-quality leads and can result in more revenue for you. 

In the marketing world, your ideal clients might be called your target audience, buyer personas, or customer avatars. All of these terms basically mean one and the same thing. They are representations of real people that you want to attract to your business. But how do you know who your ideal clients are? 

In this blog post, we’ll explain why you should clearly define your ideal clients (and who they are not). Plus, we’ll show you exactly what you should know about your target audience, how you can find out more about them, and what to do with your new insights. 

Why you need to define your ideal clients 

Why is it so important to be specific about who you want to serve? Couldn’t everyone be your customer? After all, when you limit your target audience, you might even turn some people away who could become your clients.

Unfortunately, trying to appeal to everybody is a bad idea for any business. Think of something that wants to be everybody’s best friend, like vanilla-flavoured ice-cream. It’s there, but nobody is really excited about it. It blends in rather than stands out. The same would happen to your business. 

The truth is, when you try to please everyone, your message will be watered down to the point where it becomes meaningless. As a result, no one will be able to really identify with what you’re saying. And you’ll lose out on sales.  

On the other hand, if you’re super specific about who you want to attract as your ideal client and this resonates throughout all of your messaging, your target audience can’t help but notice you. Because you speak their language and address their particular pain points. The better you understand your ideal clients, the better you’ll be able to tailor your content to their needs.  

Who you don’t want to serve 

While it’s crucial to be clear on who you want to serve, it’s equally important to define who you don’t want to have as your client. Why? Because customers who are not a great fit for you and your business can drain your energy, leave you frustrated, and take valuable time away from the very people who want and need your help. 

So, as you’re developing your buyer persona, keep in mind who your “negative” or “exclusionary” persona would be. Maybe you’ve already had a client who turned out to be an absolute nightmare. Think about why that was the case and what characteristics and traits you don’t want your ideal customers to have.  

What you should know about your ideal clients

In theory, you could go into endless details about your ideal clients. However, let’s focus on the things that will actually help you in your marketing efforts. Most marketers start with defining the demographics – like age, marital status, gender, education level. And those are great to get a first idea about your target audience.  

However, there’s something that matters even more. Let us explain. Suppose you’re selling a product for new moms. Today, mothers can be 25 or 45, married or unmarried. They might not even be necessarily female. So, what you really want to determine are the so-called psychographics. Those are the values, beliefs, and behaviours that your target audience has in common. 

We’ve compiled a handy list of questions that you can aim to answer. To make this easier, picture a real customer of yours who more or less resembles your ideal client in your head. Your answers to these questions don’t have to be perfect, and you might even make some assumptions. We’ll show you in the next step how to validate your data with some real research. 

How to research your ideal clients

You don’t want the information about your target audience to be based on a gut feeling, right? Now, it’s time to put the research pants on and validate your assumptions. Once you get started, you’ll see that this is an ongoing process. You’ll continue to learn more and more about your ideal clients once you know where to look for answers. 

Your existing customers are a great place to start your research. As you already have a relationship with them, they are more likely to meet in person, hop on a call with you, or a take a quick survey to answer your questions. It can also be helpful to speak with people who have yet to buy from you. For example, you could send a survey to only the prospects on your email list. 

Here are the tools at your disposal to find out more about your ideal clients:

Surveys

When done right, surveys are a great way to collect valuable insights and input from your ideal clients. The most common way is to send a survey link via email to your target audience. Popular tools for surveys are Typeform, SurveyMonkey, and Google Forms.

Follow our best practices to make your surveys a success:

Interviews 

Having an actual conversation with your ideal clients can provide you with insights that just aren’t possible to capture in surveys. The easiest is to reach out to those people who have previously shown interest in talking to you. For example, someone who has already approached you with questions once. You’d be surprised how flattered customers can be when you ask them for their opinion. 

Here are our best practices for successful client interviews:

Past email conversations 

You might be already sitting on a gold mine of insights into how your ideal clients think. It’s your own email inbox. Comb through the email conversation you’ve had with potential and actual clients and look for the following: 

  • What questions keep coming up again and again? 
  • What are your clients confused about?
  • How exactly do they phrase their problems and goals?

Social Media & Forums 

Ask yourself: If I were trying to solve this problem, where would I look online to find answers? This can help you determine where your ideal clients hang out online. You might find certain Facebook groups, Reddit forums, or Quora threads that discuss exactly what you’re looking for. When you’ve identified those, you just have to observe and learn. Maybe you can even offer your advice and attract a few new prospects in the process.

Amazon & Review sites 

Amazon, Yelp, and other review sites can provide a wealth of information. Check these sites for the reviews of your own and your direct competitor’s products. Often, they contain the most honest insights of customers describing what they liked and didn’t like about a product. That way, you’ll know what’s really important to them.  

How to use your research 

Now that you’ve got a lot of input from different sources like surveys and interviews, it’s time to do something with it. The goal is to create a guide for you or your copywriter that can be used to write compelling content and copy for your business. And because you’ve done the research, these messages should resonate perfectly with your target audience and get you a lot of attention. 

Here’s how to put your research into action:

Identify the top messages 

When sifting through your research, look for the main messages in the four categories below that your ideal clients keep repeating again and again. Whenever possible, copy and paste whole phrases from your research into each of the four categories to capture the language your audience is using. Also, make a note of any particular words that appear repeatedly. 

  1. Goals & Needs – What your ideal clients want.
  2. Pain Points & Challenges – What they want to overcome.
  3. Objections & Hesitations – What might keep them from buying. 
  4. Motivational Triggers – What will make them take action. 

Connect the dots to your business 

From here, you’ll want to connect your insights to your own business and product or service offering. This should help you to answer the questions below: 

  • What do your ideal clients want and need from your business?
  • How does your business solve your ideal client’s problems? 
  • Why do your ideal clients choose your business?
  • What objections do you need to overcome to get them to buy?

Look for any gaps in your messaging 

Now that you know what your ideal clients want and need from your business, you can look for any gaps in your messaging, for example, on your website, landing pages, sales pages, or lead magnets. Consider the following questions and aim to make improvements accordingly. 

  • Are there any points that you’re not addressing and communicating clearly yet? 
  • How can you improve your copy to include more of the actual words that your ideal clients are using? 

Now it’s your turn 

How do you feel after taking a deep dive into your ideal client’s minds? Was there anything that surprised you? It can be tempting to take shortcuts and make assumptions about what your target audience really wants. But doing the actual research pays off as it provides you with concrete data you can rely on. Now you won’t be guessing anymore when you think about what to write on your website, blog, or social media pages. 

These insights are useful for any stage of the customer lifecycle, whether you’re working on your lead generation, lead nurturing, or getting more referrals

Does this still seem a bit overwhelming and confusing to you? Maybe you’re not sure who you actually want to target, or there are too many different types of clients in your business. 

No worries, we’ve got you covered. Why not jump on a call with us and we can help you figure this out. And even propose a strategy on how you can attract, nurture, and close your ideal clients. Simply click the button below to secure your call, and we can get you on the way to more clients and revenue. 

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