Category Archives: ideal client

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How to Improve Your Customer’s Journey

How to Improve Your Customer’s Journey written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch

In today’s podcast, I want to talk with you about something I’ve been thinking about a lot. It’s actually one of the key elements in my next book. But first, let’s start with some back story.  In the 80s, there was a brand that became a cultural hit called Members Only. Yes, I had a Members Only jacket, there, I admit it. The tagline for the companies’ line of apparel was, “When you put it on, something happens.”

Later we can talk about how goofy this is but today here’s my point – what if you could come to think about your customer or clients or patients or whatever you call them – as members.

Now, I’m not merely suggesting you create a membership aspect to your business. However, that might be a great model for you; I’m suggesting that you think this way about them.

If you did, it might change how you innovate, iterate, and support every aspect of your business.

In a stable membership relationship, your goal is to help every member get the transformation they are seeking. So, naturally, you would care more about them getting a result than you getting a transaction. If that were so, you would have to ask yourself much harder (or at least different) questions.

Questions to answer during the podcast:

  1. Where are our customers now in terms of the results they want?
  2. What are the characteristics of customers in each of these stages?
  3. What milestones must they achieve to move to the next stage?
  4. What activities or action steps must they take to achieve each milestone?
  5. What systems must we create to ensure passage through the stages of the success journey?

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


Klaviyo logoThis episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Klaviyo. If you’re looking to grow your business there is only one way: by building real, quality customer relationships. That’s where Klaviyo comes in.

Klaviyo helps you build meaningful relationships by listening and understanding cues from your customers, allowing you to easily turn that information into valuable marketing messages.

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Think Smaller to Innovate Today

Think Smaller to Innovate Today written by Jenna Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch

Right now, at the beginning of May 2020, a lot of businesses are encouraging you to innovate. Distilleries are making hand sanitizer, bakeries are teaching online classes, and so on. This has many people asking; What should I do? How should I innovate? I love all these ideas that are happening right now but I’d caution that this level of pivoting doesn’t apply to everyone.

What if instead, you decided to think smaller? What if you decided to look at your business and tried to figure out who your ideal customers are? This group is typically your top 20% of all customers. How can you serve them better? 

Once you’ve figured out who they are, how to serve them better. What would happen if you created methods and systems to do that quicker, more systematically, with even better results?

Questions to answer during the podcast:

  1. Who are our best clients?
  2. What do we excel at doing?
  3. How can we do it better?
  4. How can we impact the entire ecosystem of our best clients?
  5. Can we create systems to do it?

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


Duct Tape Marketing Consultant NetworkThis episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by The Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network.

Did you know that Duct Tape Marketing is more than a powerful system for marketing small businesses? It’s a network of independent marketing consultants who use the Duct Tape Marketing methodology to help small businesses to grow. Check it out at

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.

Getting Started with Defining Your Ideal Client

Getting Started with Defining Your Ideal Client written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

If you loved this podcast and post check out our Ultimate Guide to Small Business Marketing Strategy

Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch About Defining Your Ideal Client

Let me ask you this, if you have clients, and had the chance, right now, to chuck them all, and be able to go out there and say, “I can work with anyone I want to work with,” would you still be working with who you’re working with today?

Experience tells me that you would say, maybe some, but probably not all. That comes from the feeling that anybody who buys what you do, or anybody who needs the products that you make or sell is an ideal client.

What you have to do in order to get your marketing strategy started, is you have to think about how you can narrowly define your ideal client.

  • What do they look like?
  • What are their problems?
  • How do they want to be served?
  • What do they think value is?

I’m going to talk a little more about each of those, but you have to get to the point where you are so sure about how to describe that ideal client, that you are also defining who your ideal client is not.

Let’s say I wanted to refer business to you, whatever your business is. I’ve got friends, neighbors, and colleagues that need what you do, and so I came to you and said, “Hey, I want to send some folks your way, I really love what you’re doing.”

How would I spot your ideal client? Think about that. That is one of the greatest places to start when you’re thinking about how to narrowly define your ideal client is if somebody came to you and said, “Okay, how would I spot that person?”

Could you define and describe all the characteristics of your ideal client in a way that I’m going to say, “Oh, okay, yeah, I know a couple people like that.”

That’s what you’re really after.

Finding your ideal client

It’s really important that you develop the habit of understanding who it is that you’re going after, identifying them, and building your entire business around attracting them.

You may get lucky and be able to define them quickly, but what I’ve experienced is that you start with a hypothesis, and over time, if you pay attention, you’ll learn who you like working with.

Your ideal client will find you, partly because of how your business evolves, because of how your messaging gets tighter, and because of the results you’re getting for people like them.

If you’re just starting you don’t have to have the answer to who your ideal client is.

You have to have an idea, and you have to try to prove that hypothesis, but mainly you have to pay attention, because I know a lot of people that have decided that they love working in certain industries, or in a certain niche, and they had no idea they would, it just found them.

They started working with a couple clients like that, and they discovered what they really enjoyed doing.

So what if you do have clients and still haven’t defined this idea of an ideal client? Take a look at the stratifying of your current client base.

What I mean by that, is rank each client by profitability.

When I do this with people, I often help them discover that there is work that they’re doing, or segment that they’re serving or a product or service that they are still engaged in that maybe they did when they started, but it’s not something they focus on anymore because it’s not really profitable.

What I find happens, is that a lot of businesses don’t realize that there are certain segments of their market or their community or certain demographics that they do most of their business in.

That’s step number one.

Focusing on the customer experience

Step number two is this idea of actually looking at those folks that refer you today.

What I found is your most profitable clients who also refer you, typically do so because they were the right fit, they had the right problem, they went after the right service, they really engaged and they allowed you to do the work that you knew you needed to do.

Consequently, they were profitable. They’re also referring you because they like you, they like doing business with you, and they like your people.

Typically if people have a great experience, they’re going to be more inclined to refer you.

What are the common characteristics of your most profitable clients who also refer you today?

What I want you to do is think about more narrowly defining who makes an ideal client for you based on that discovery, or based on the fact that you did some analysis on your current customers.

This doesn’t mean you’re never going to serve anybody else, but it does need to become the filter where you go out, and you start prospecting and where you change your messaging to attract that ideal client, client niche, or those industries that you specialize in.

Because there is a real practical reason for this, you’ve already decided, or determined that they make an ideal client based on profitability and referral, but there’s also an expectation, that once you start narrowly defining who makes an ideal client for you, you can then go to work on more narrowly defining what their problem is, and your promise to solve that problem.

Solving your ideal client’s problems

People aren’t looking for our products and services, they’re looking to get their problems solved. The person who can define the problem the best quite often is not only the one that gets the business but in many cases is paid a premium as well.

This is a very practical reason to narrowly define your ideal client.

The primary reason people don’t do it, is that they fear that they’re going to turn potential business away, and I get that in the beginning certainly, but over time, you’re going to discover that turning that business away is the most profitable thing that you can do.

Narrowly defining your ideal client

Defining your ideal client starts with things like:

  • Demographics
  • Businesses
  • If you’re working with individuals
  • Age

Those are the kinds of things that a lot of people go towards when it comes down to narrowly defining their audience. Those are important, but I want you to think about three specific categories.

In regards to your clients, you’re going to have must-have, nice-to-have, and ideal. Those are your three categories.

The Must-Have

In my case, my must-have is a client has to be a small business owner. You must have the budget to afford what you sell, or what, in my case, what I sell. You must have the decision-making ability.

From there you can get into breaking down the types of businesses, and other requirements that you put into the must-have category.

The Nice-To-Have

The next one is nice-to-have. Again, in my world, if a business owner has a marketing person internally, they may not be a strategic marketing person, but if they at least have somebody that is doing Facebook for them or doing the newsletter for them, that is a great nice-to-have, because I can actually add even more value by helping them manage that person. Once I get through the must-haves, then I start looking at nice-to-haves.

The Ideal-To-Have

Ideal starts to get into more of behavior. For example, the owner participates in their industry, they are active on their board, and they are very interested in having other outside professionals other than marketing.

If I’m starting to describe my ideal client, those are the things I want to break it up into. Those must-haves are deal breakers. If they don’t fit in the must-haves you don’t talk to them.

The nice-to-haves are the ones that you’re going to put in a little extra effort to try to build a relationship or to try to get in front of, and then if you’ve got some of the ideal-to-have, then that’s somebody you want to go and really prospect, and you want to focus a lot of time and attention on, and give them value over and above any of what you might see as your normal marketing, because that’s somebody that’s going to be an ideal client.

Once you have that ideal client, you could start to move all of your targeting to that. If you’re building Facebook audiences, you could move to that narrowly defined ideal client. All of your ads should be speaking to that ideal client.

It’s okay to have multiple ideal clients, but once you have those, they need to really be the basis for all of your language, all of your website copy, all of the ads, so that you are clearly articulating the problem that that ideal client has, and how you’re uniquely suited to solve that problem.

When you do that and when you make the basis that strategy of defining an ideal client the basis of all of your marketing, guess what?

You get to choose who you want to work with. That will make life a whole lot better.

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Understanding, Narrowing, and Choosing Your Ideal Client

Understanding, Narrowing, and Choosing Your Ideal Client written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

In marketing today it’s common to hear that you must know who your target audience is in order to be effective with your marketing. This mostly implies that you determine the makeup of a market that your business is most likely to attract.

What bothers me about this simple approach is that it has a lowest common denominator element to it – who can we attract?

Instead, I like to take the point of view of – whom do we deserve to work with?

This thought process led me to the idea of defining an ideal client which ties together both behavior and demographics. Identifying who this is from the beginning will save you tons of time going in circles trying to be all things to all people.

It really is a game changer and here’s how I recommend getting started.

Choosing your ideal client

Have you ever considered the following question? – What qualities would your ideal clients have? Thinking through this is quite a liberating feeling, no? Don’t you deserve to work with clients who appreciate the value you bring to them?

I know that might sound a bit egotistical, but it really isn’t. At the end of the day, if you want to work with the people you want, then you need to step up your game so that can deserve to do so.

I recommend getting started by exploring the types of clients you don’t want to work with. Until you know who you don’t want to work with, who you must work with, who you choose to work with, it’s easy to take work and clients that drag you away from the work you deserve to be doing (we’ve all been there and know what a headache it can be).

Who can you deliver the greatest value to, who do you enjoy working with, and who needs what you do most? Write a detailed description of your ideal client and include as much about them as possible including the problems they are trying to solve. Give some thought to how you might reach them and appeal to them. Use your best clients today to help you think about what makes them ideal for you. (Hint: they are profitable and perhaps they refer others to you right now.)

Consider following these steps to best identify them:

Step 1: What are the must-haves to be a client – this is stuff that naturally narrows your list – must be 18 years or older, must own a home – that kind of thing.

Step 2: What are the generally looked for attributes – no required, but preferred – perhaps it’s an age range, geographic location, or special interest.

Step 3: What makes them ideal – what are the attributes that make them your best prospects – perhaps they have a certain business model, unique problem, at a certain point in life or business.

Step 4: What behavior do they exhibit that allows you to identify them? Do they belong to industry associations, tend to sponsor charitable events, read certain publications?

I recommend starting with the smallest market possible. You must find a group of clients who think what you have to offer is special and can scale from there.

How to understand and speak to your ideal client

Now that you’ve narrowly defined who your ideal client is, you must spend ample amount of time understanding them in order to properly use them across the various strategic elements of your business. Knowing who makes an ideal client allows you to build your entire business, message, product, services, sales and support around attracting and serving this narrowly defined group.

Once you dig deep and profile the common characteristics you should also start asking yourself some questions about these folks.

  • What brings them joy?
  • What are they worried about?
  • What challenges do they face?
  • What do they hope to gain from us?
  • What goals are they striving to attain?
  • What experience thrills them?
  • Where do they get their information?
  • Who do they trust most?

Having answers to the questions will allow you to more fully address their wants and needs in every interaction and communication. Once you have this understanding, you can start tailoring your efforts to best speak to them.

Refocus your message

Matching your message to your ideal client is a must when it comes to marketing these days. A message that connects is one that clearly talks about what your ideal client wants more than anything else in the world – which is to solve their problems.

You must let them know that you understand what they really want. Let me let you in on a little secret: Nobody really wants what you sell – they want their problems solved – period.

I recommend making a list of the problems you solve for the clients you help the most. If you’re having trouble thinking about your client’s problems, think a bit about the things they tell you.

For example, a lot of our prospective clients might say things like – we just want the phone to ring more, so that’s what we tell them we can do for them (we don’t immediately dive into our SEO and marketing services).

That’s how you refocus your message so that it’s all about your amazing clients and the problems they want to be solved.

Create trigger phrases

Your clients don’t know how to solve their problems, but they usually know what their problems are. If you can get really good at demonstrating that what you sell is the answer to their problem they really don’t care what you call it.

Break down every solution you sell and every benefit you attribute to what you do, and map it back to a handful of “trigger phrases.”

These phrases can be questions or statements or even anecdotes, but they must come from the point of view of the client.

Write website headlines

What we mean by this is write a big, bold statement that might be the first thing anyone who visits your website will see. Now ask yourself – would this statement get your ideal client’s attention more than something like “welcome to our website?”

Want some help creating your new message? Pick out a handful of your ideal clients and go ask them – what problem did we solve for you? Test your headlines with them. Ask them to describe what you do better than anyone else.

Pro tip: If your business receives online reviews study them carefully. While it’s awesome to get 5-star reviews pay close attention to the words and common phrases your happiest clients are using – they will write your promise for you in some cases.

Until you are working towards defining, understanding and speaking to who you truly deserve to be working with, success will elude you. I can tell you that my experience suggests that you’re never really done with this exercise. As your business evolves, as you learn and grow, this model will evolve as well, but perhaps the continual process of discovery is just as important as what you discover.

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