Whether you’re just launching your business or you’ve been running it for a number of years, there’s one question that should always be lingering in the back of your mind – “Who is my ideal client, and how can I serve them?”
There are three main things to think about when you’re starting the journey to finding your ideal client:
- Pains and Gains
As a workshop leader, coach, entrepreneur, author, speaker, or another professional advisor in the B2B space, establishing your niche gives your business purpose and direction, makes you more unique, and ultimately allows you to find your ideal client.
What is the difference between a target market and a niche?
As a business owner, it’s really important that you know the difference between your target market and niching. Your target market is essentially the people to who you want your business to appeal. Your niche is much more specific and targeted, and it’s the specific people that you’re hoping to serve and attract to your business.
Establishing a niche is important as it helps to give your business purpose and direction, it makes you more unique and ultimately, and it allows you to attract your ideal clients to your business.
If ever we’re struggling to get clients or customers, a voice inside our head will always say, “Perhaps you should be casting a wider net to attract more clients”. However, that can often result in compromising, working with clients that you’re not excited about, losing that specificity in your services and generally less growth within your business.
That’s where niching comes in. Niching allows you to define a focused audience, and from that, you can create more specific and tailored programs and services. When you fully understand your ideal audience, you’ll be able to communicate your messages much more clearly, speak to your ideal clients in a more direct way, and clients will have more trust and faith in your services.
Niching helps you to establish yourself as an expert in your field, and it allows you to work with clients that you love and that serve you and your business. While niching can seem daunting at first, as there’s often the fear of closing yourself off to a certain market, it’s actually the opposite and you’ll find that you open yourself up to more opportunities, work, and referrals by positioning yourself as a specialist in that area.
Personally, it took me a long time to understand and really hone in on my niche. However, once I gained clarity and true focus I found it helped my business to grow significantly. Having experienced the benefits first hand, I know why establishing a niche is so important, and how having a niche can allow you to set up your business in the most efficient way.
Defining your demographics
Regardless of whether you are starting out in your business or you are redefining your target audience or you are even switching your niche: it is important to make some decisions about the demographics of your audience.
I consider them as the first markers that you put in place that narrow your target audience.
You might wonder why you should narrow your client description. Wouldn’t it be better to have as many people as possible in your target audience?
Have you ever been at a networking event where you asked another person who their product or service is for and they answer with something like: “Everyone who has skin!” Do you find that appealing? (I am assuming here that you do have skin so you would fit into this target audience.)
I guess not! Because no one wants to be everyone!
Narrowing your audience will make it easier for you to market and for your audience to self-identify that they might want to be working with you. Demographics are just the first markers to start the narrowing process.
Here are the most common and important demographics to consider:
Gender: If your services or products are clearly designed for one gender, no need to waste any energy and marketing funding to attract the other. Unless, of course, if they are the ones making the purchase decisions! Often women make the purchase decisions for their husband’s clothing, care products, etc.
Geographic Area: Your product might be relevant globally, however, you might choose to market to a smaller geographic area. For example, if you have a local business, you will only want to market within a range of, let’s say 50 miles. You are a licensing or franchise organization? As a result, you may have a specific territory to market in. If you offer a service that requires you and your client to get on the phone, you may keep time zones in mind. You may choose to market only to countries where your language is spoken. Keep in mind you can narrow this down to Zip Code/Postal Code if needed!
Age: Your product may have a particular appeal to an audience of a certain age. Similarly, you may prefer to deal with clients who are a similar age as you. Further, you may focus on a very different but clearly defined age bracket. Be careful if you service one age group and your buyer is another age group, for example, you are a coach for youth and the parent will hire you. Or you service the elderly and it is their sons and daughters who will be looking for your service.
Faith: Some products and services are specific to people of a certain faith.
Education and Income: These two are often related. You may be targeting a group of a specific income bracket. Maybe because your clients need a certain disposable income to be able to afford your product or service or because they are in a specific market segment to desire what you have.
Personal data: You might have products or services that are designed for people of a specific body size (height, weight), or perhaps skin condition, hair volume, etc. These are markers that are more challenging to target through segmentation. You may need to narrow your audience through your copy. You can only achieve the targeted copy if you are clear about what is important to your audience.
Defining your psychographics
Psychographics are descriptions that help narrow your target audience. They can be effective when used in addition to the demographics. While demographics are data that can be easily verified (they either fit the individual or not), psychographics are a bit harder to pin down. Often the individual will not be able to describe them for themselves very clearly.
Values and Beliefs
Ask anybody about their values, and it will result in a discussion. Values are sometimes abstract concepts and, hence, can have different interpretations.
Authenticity, integrity, honesty, generosity, humour, etc. are words we use every day and as a result of that, we may interpret them differently.
Try to bring across our own values and the values that we desire our target audience to have in our marketing. As a result, you will attract people who will like working with you and who you will enjoy working with aka your ideal client.
Beliefs can change over time. And our programs may be designed for people who follow a specific belief system. Maybe we are looking for people who believe they need support in a certain area that we serve. Or we want to work with those who have goals that we help to achieve (think weight-loss goals, fitness goals, financial goals, educational goals, etc.).
We are now narrowing not only by demographic data but by how our product or service helps our potential clients achieve their heart’s desires.
Defining your pains and gains
When finding your ideal client, it is important to go beyond demographics and psychographics as the two areas of audience definition to what I call your pains and gains.
Pain points relate to the issues they are trying to resolve and why they are looking for a solution like yours in the first place. And gain points describe what they are looking for in their ideal case scenarios.
Of course, people don’t typically disclose this easily because they may not even be totally aware of it themselves.
However, with clever research, you can get to the bottom of this and learn what their deepest desires are. As a result of that, you can ensure your products and services will be a good match for the pains and gains of your ideal client.
Strive to interview at least 8 people who you consider to be in your ideal audience. If you are working with multiple audiences, then target to get 8 interviews for each audience type. Ideally, you record the conversations, so you are able to take note of the exact language used. Ask the same questions of all clients and analyze the responses you receive to identify the themes and the related pain points and gain points.
Use the language that fits best across all clients in your marketing communication and make it part of your product and service development.
Next steps for finding your ideal client
For a step-by-step process to identify your ideal target audience consider Crystallize Your Niche – my self-study course to explore what drives your ideal client that helps you define your persona and avatar statements.
Now that you have an idea of who your ideal client is, how do you modify your business strategy? These resources might help.
Or, you can always contact us for help on elevating your business with new scalable services. We are here to help you from initial strategy to delivery, be it through personal services or our Peer-to-Peer Forum Groups.