Category Archives: ideal client profile

Auto Added by WPeMatico

How to Build Your Ideal Client

How to Build Your Ideal Client written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

If someone asked you right now who your ideal client was, would you be able to tell them? Having a clear picture of your ideal client is a critical part of growing your business. It’s nice to want to do business with everybody, but realistically, there are going to be some who are a better fit for your business than others.

When you get really clear about who you work best with, you can begin to seek out prospects who fit that perfect mold. And when you’re targeting the right prospects, you’re spending less time on folks who will never convert. Instead, you’re building up a base of clients who will be thrilled with your work and enthusiastic about referring you to others.

So how do you build your ideal client? These five steps will help you develop a crystal-clear, refined vision of just who they are.

Before We Dive In…

There are a lot of small business experts out there who are pushing the idea of zeroing in on your niche from day one. While we are firm believers in serving your ideal clients, I’d also caution strongly against settling into a niche too quickly.

When you start a business, you think you know who you want to serve. But sometimes, through the course of running your business, you discover that your ideal client is actually someone very different from the person you envisioned.

When you niche too early in the process, you cut yourself off from the possibility of discovering your ideal client organically. No, you can’t leave things open-ended forever, but it doesn’t serve you to come in with a rigid and narrow set of expectations from the start.

1. Begin With Profitability

Once you’ve been in business for a while, it’s time to develop a sketch of your ideal client. The first step is to consider profitability. No matter how awesome a client is personally if they’re not paying your bills, they should not be your main focus.

Take your full list of clients and rank them from most to least profitable. Are there any commonalities among those at the top?

These similarities might be demographic, behavioral, psychographic, or geographic. Perhaps clients in a certain age bracket are the most profitable. If yours is a B2B, there might be one industry that stands out.

When it comes to behavioral traits, are there certain purchasing habits or ways of interacting with your brand that these profitable clients have in common? Maybe you find that your best clients are very active on social media.

Psychographics are about people’s values, attitudes, interests, and motivations. Do your clients have similar beliefs or lifestyles?

Lastly, consider geography. Is there a certain geographic area where your best clients reside or work?

2. Who’s Referring You?

Your best customers aren’t just those who are giving you a lot of business themselves. Your top-tier clients are also referring you to others. Up next, take a look at which of your clients are referring you, how often they’re doing it, and how frequently those referrals result in new business. As with the profitability ranking, it’s helpful to chart this all out so that you can fully visualize where each client stands.

Paying attention to referrals isn’t just about making yourself feel good. Sure, it’s flattering to know that someone liked your product or service so much that they told their friends about it, but it’s bigger than that.

People who refer you to others are having a best-in-class experience with your business. And they’re having that experience not just because you strive to give everyone great service, but because what you offer aligns perfectly with their needs.

When you see them referring you to others—and those referrals also signing on as clients—you know you’ve honed in on a very narrow, specific segment who needs the solution you provide and loves the way you solve their problem. And that’s what an ideal client really is.



3. Go Straight to the Source

Analyzing profitability and referrals is a great place to start, but you can’t stop there. If you want to fully understand how your business’s solution relates to your ideal client’s needs, you’ve got to ask them. Now that you know who your top clients are, reach out and inquire if you might have a bit of their time.

Depending on your business, there are a number of ways to gather feedback. An email survey is often the quickest and easiest way to reach your ideal clients. But if possible, a call or in-person meeting can help you gain even more insight into their needs, wants, and behaviors.

These are the types of questions you should ask your customers:

  • What’s most important to you?
  • How do you define success?
  • What are your biggest challenges?
  • What’s a typical day for you?
  • What holds you back from making a purchase?
  • How do you research prior to buying?
  • How do you come to a final purchase decision?
  • What influences you? (i.e. publications you read, social media personalities you follow, etc.)

These questions help you to reinforce or reevaluate your earlier assessment of common traits. Sometimes these interviews unearth another shared trait to consider. Other times they help you understand the connection between two seemingly unrelated traits that kept appearing in your clients’ profiles.

4. Get Clear on the Must-Haves versus the Nice-to-Haves

By this point, you’ve developed a clear picture of the type of client you’d like to attract and have clearly defined their problem and how you solve it. Now it’s time for you to get clear on your dealbreakers. When it comes to your clients, what are the must-haves, what’s nice to have, and what’s an ideal quality?

By grouping the traits you’re looking for into these three buckets, you can quickly and easily evaluate each prospect that comes your way. If they’re missing a must-have trait, you shouldn’t do business with them. Nice-t0-haves, on the other hand, are negotiable.

It’s always a good idea to start with your must-haves. Be realistic—it doesn’t pay to have a mile-long list of must-haves—but on the flip side, don’t omit qualities that really are your must-haves for the sake of being nice or easy-going. You’re not sharing this list with clients, so it’s okay to be honest about the traits you need your clients to possess.

From there, move onto your nice-to-haves. These are the traits or characteristics you’d really like to see, but you can still work with a client even if they don’t tick all these boxes. For example, as a marketing consultant, we find it’s nice to work with clients who have an internal marketing person. It makes it easier to execute on the strategic vision we outline for their business. However, we can still do great work with a business that doesn’t yet have an in-house marketing team, so we’re happy to talk with businesses that don’t have that capability yet.

Finally, you move onto your ideal traits. This is more about those psychographic and behavioral traits we talked about earlier. Do they share your core beliefs? For example, if you run a B2B and want to work with businesses that give back to their community, that goes on your ideal traits list. Sure, you’ll consider clients who don’t incorporate giving into their business model, but the business who shares a percentage of their profits with local environmental groups and helps plant trees in your community every spring is a business you aggressively target and pursue.

5. Create Buyer Personas

The last step in all of this hard work is making sure that you stay true to your convictions. You’re armed with all of this information about your ideal clients and the type of people you’re most excited to work with. Now it’s time to spell that out so it always guides your sales and marketing strategies.

Most businesses won’t have just one ideal client, and that’s why it’s helpful to create personas to represent the handful of clients you’d like to target. Personas are essentially sketches of each of your ideal clients.

These personas should include answers to the following questions:

  • What does this persona look like (demographics, psychographics)?
  • What problems are they trying to solve?
  • What behaviors help you identify them?
  • What objections must you overcome?
  • Where do they get their information—books, websites, social platforms, magazines, etc.?

Some businesses go so far as to create actual profiles for these personas, complete with a name, picture, and bio for each. Whether you take this more creative route or prefer to keep this information in a word document or spreadsheet, what matters is that you make it easily accessible for your reference.

Each new prospect that you encounter should be evaluated against your personas. Do they fit one of your profiles? If not, they’re likely not worth pursuing.

Business owners are sometimes afraid to get this specific in building their ideal client. They fear they’ll shut out prospects and miss a great opportunity. But the reality is, the more specific you can be in defining your ideal customer, the more likely you are to attract the right type of prospect. And in the end, it’s about quality, not quantity.

Why Your Marketing Must Be Led By Strategy First

Why Your Marketing Must Be Led By Strategy First written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch on Strategy First Marketing

A lot of people use the term “marketing strategy,” when what they’re really talking about is marketing tactics. Strategy is not just a Facebook post or a paid search campaign or blog posts. Those are the tactics you use to execute your strategy. But if you don’t have a larger strategy to guide you, then you’re just going to be guessing about what tactics you should be using as part of your marketing efforts.

Today, we’re going to look at what you need to do to put strategy first so that you can get intentional about your marketing approach.

Who Is Your Ideal Client?

Chance are that, today, you’re defining your ideal client too broadly. If you’re a tax preparer, your ideal customer is not just anyone who wants to do their taxes.

Sure, some of them are, but what makes a customer ideal for your specific type of work? If you charge a lot more than the national tax preparer, who opens up shop on the corner and charges $49.00 per return, then the people who would want to go with this cheap and easy option are not your ideal client. But maybe you have expertise that’s best suited to people with a specific tax need—like a high net worth individual who has lots of investments and philanthropic write-offs. Plus, they’re the ones who’d be willing to spend more to get the job done correctly.

Don’t guess about who your ideal client is. You are already working with some great people, so turn to your existing client base. Who are your most profitable clients? Who refers the most business to? What are the common characteristics that you find in those clients?

This doesn’t mean that this ideal client will ultimately be the only type of person you’re going to serve. But it does mean that all of your marketing messaging should be demonstrating that this is the type of person you can get the greatest results for.

What Is Your Core Message?

The first step to finding your core message is asking, “What problem does my brand solve? And what promise can my brand make to solve that problem?”

Let’s say you own a lawn care business. Your potential customers will automatically operate under the assumption that you know how to mow a lawn. But that doesn’t really address the problem the potential customer has.

For most homeowners, their biggest problem associated with a home care service is about something beyond the basic service the business provides. Homeowners hate having to wait around for the provider to arrive during their service window (and how often are those people actually on time?). When they hire someone to handle their landscaping, the team leaves behind a big mess of hedge trimmings and lawn clippings. Or it’s difficult to get payment to them because they only accept checks. These are the real problems your clients have.

So your core message is not, “We know how to care for your lawn”—of course you do! Instead, it’s “We show up on time, every time.” Or, “We leave your yard looking cleaner and better than when we arrived.”

This core message should be featured above the fold on the homepage of your website. It’s a key element of strategy because it is how you differentiate your business in a way that your customers care about that goes beyond your products or services.

How Do You Make Content the Voice of Strategy?

Customers don’t need a description of your product or service right up front. Sure, once they get further along in their journey and begin considering their purchasing options, they’ll want to know the nitty gritty details. But for now, they want to know how you’re there for them.

Back to the lawn care example: If the prospect is looking to create a better lawn, they may not have decided they need someone to do that for them. They may initially just be looking for advice and expertise, thinking this is a task they could tackle on their own.

The lawn care business, then, wants to establish themselves as that local source of expert advice. This is where hub pages come in. The lawn care business will publish “The Guide to the Perfect Lawn”—a hub page that consolidates all of their content around lawn care into one place.

This hub page will rank in Google results for someone looking for the perfect lawn in your local area. Now, you become their go-to source for guidance on lawn care. You develop a relationship with them, and they come to trust you. Some of these people will, of course, still opt to go it alone and handle their lawn themselves. But others will say, “It looks like these lawn care people have it all figured out. Why don’t I just hire them to do it?”

The hub pages are a way to draw people in who might not even be looking to make a purchase or become a customer. But then, your expertise is what builds trust and eventually convinces them that they do need the solution you offer.

Guiding People Through the Marketing Hourglass

Customers have buying questions and objectives, and these will change along the various stages of their journey with your business. It’s your job to guide customers through the marketing hourglass, taking them through the logical steps of getting to know, like, trust, try, buy, repeat, and refer your business.

To make sure you’re providing customers with what they need at each stage, start by asking questions. In the know phase, the essential question for a business owner to answer is, “If someone didn’t know about us, where would they go to find a business like ours?” For most businesses, the primary answer to that question is Google. But in the lawn care example, you also might have prospects that ask a neighbor for a referral, or see your truck around town or your signs on people’s lawns.

Once you’ve done that for the know phase, you move on to the other six stages of the hourglass. Once they find your website, what do they see when they get there? Do they see that other people know, like, and trust you?

How does someone try what your business is offering? If you’re the lawn care business, that might be getting a quote. But how exactly do they go about getting that quote? Is it a form on your website, or do they need to call or email you? How quickly do you respond? Is the response personalized, or does it feel like a boilerplate offer? These elements all become a part of the customer’s experience and journey with your business.

The buy, repeat, and refer stages are more internal. How do you onboard a new customer? What are your team’s checks to ensure that customers are getting the results that they want from your business? What makes a great experience that will bring them back for another purchase or encourage them to refer a friend? This is where you want to get into the buyer’s head to determine what they’ll expect out of you.

Once you understand what a customer wants from you at each stage in the journey, you need to make sure that your online assets address those needs.

You’ve now identified the ideal customer, you know the core message and promise, you know how content becomes the voice of strategy, and you know how your customers want to buy. Now, you can fill in the gaps to meet customers wherever they are. That is the heart of marketing strategy.

Now We Turn to Tactics

Tactics are what allow us to fill in those gaps to meet customers where they are. If your ideal customer finds businesses by searching the web, you need to create a hub page so you rank in those SERPs. You need testimonials on your website to build trust. You need to be on social platforms, so that you have information in lots of places that proves your legitimacy as a business. You need reviews on social media and review platforms so that others are vouching for you. These are the tactics that align with the larger strategy.

We have an engagement called Strategy First, where we do this entire process for our clients. As a part of this engagement we interview your existing customers and analyze your competitors. We build ideal client personas and establish a core message and promise that will speak to them. We map out your hub page and determine how to make content the voice of your strategy. And we go through the marketing hourglass exercise and identify the gaps in your current marketing approach. This gives you a firm foundation on which to build your tactics and move your marketing forward based on solid strategy.

Want to learn more? Schedule a consultation with us so we can talk about how to do this for your business.

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

Axa Logo

This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by AXA.

It’s time we start giving life insurance the credit it deserves. That’s because life insurance can be so much more than protection for you and your family. It can also help you live, keep, and potentially build more cash value over time. To learn how, go to

Disclosure: Life insurance is issued by AXA equitable Life Insurance Company, New York, NY 10104 or MONY Life Insurance Company of America (MLOA), an Arizona Stock corporation with its main administration office in Jersey City, NJ and is distributed by AXA Distributors, LLC.