Who is Your Ideal Client? Do you know?

Find Your Ideal Clients By Grading Your Current ClientsWhile getting started on brand strategy and design and website strategy with my clients, one of the first things I want to know is who the ideal client is. Who is the person the brand and website must resonate with and speak to. Who does it need to attract to my client?

How do you know who your ideal client is? Your Ideal Client is some one who:

  • Has problems and challenges you can easily fix and solve with your eyes closed
  • Sees you as a valuable necessity they treasure, instead of a necessary evil
  • Likes you, appreciates your hard work, and will tell their friends, peers, and contacts about you
  • Will pay you what you’re worth and will be happy to do so because they know you’re worth it

But how do you find out exactly who they are?

Grade Them.Look at all of your clients for a set time period and give each one a grade — A, B, C, D, F. Don’t think about it too much. Just go with your gut instinct and be honest — Don’t worry! No one will see this but you.

Your Grade D and F clients are ones you should fire and transition elsewhere right away!

Your Grade C Clients are on the fence. If they can become Grade A or B clients with better training, keep them. If they really should have been Grade D or F clients but you were being nice, think about a staggered exit plan for these clients too.

Not look closely at your Grade A and B clients. These are your best clients — The clients you want a lot more of. All of your best clients have at least one thing in common (if not more) and you need to find out what it is: Are they all men? Are they all the same age? Are they all moms? Do they all have the same problem? Are they in the same industry? Do they attend the same events?

If you’re not sure what your Grade A and B clients have in common, ask them! Ask them what events they attend, who they look to for mentoring, what websites/blogs they frequent, what challenges they have, what they dream about, etc.

Once you have a clear picture of who your ideal client is, create a Client Persona for reference.

A Client Persona is a profile of a person who would be the perfect client for you. Start by giving them a name and find a stock photo online to represent them and make them real to you. Then describe in detail everything you now know about them (the more specific the better):

  • List what they are passionate about, what is important to them, and what they cherish
  • List their hobbies, likes, dislikes, and pet peeves
  • List their demographic information
  • List their challenges, needs, and struggles
  • List the events they go to, the people they follow, the media they consume, etc.

When you have completed your Client Persona, put it somewhere that is easy to see and reference.

Every time you work on marketing your business, writing blog posts, editing your website, filming a video, etc. do it with your Client Persona in mind. Tailor the content to speak directly to them and to address things that are important to them. If you can do this, your ideal clients will "click" with your content, resonate with your message, and feel compelled to read more, contact you, or click that buy link.

About Jennifer Bourn

As Creative Director of Bourn Creative, Jennifer leads all consulting, strategy, and creative projects. She is an award-winning designer, specializing in custom WordPress theme design, brand design, Legos (Yes, Legos), and graphic design for small business.

Entrenched in the world of online business, Jennifer consults with clients around the world on branding, website planning, and marketing strategies that leverage the internet to generate leads, attract clients, and create opportunities. She speaks regularly at live events, conferences, and workshops around the country, as well as on radio shows, teleclases, webinars, and podcasts.

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Comments & Feedback:

  1. Great post Jen. I’ve often shared with people to make an ideal client vision – much the same way you would a regular vision board, but instead with all the details about your client. It helps people see that person. For example, perhaps you know your ideal client is a dog lover, loves sushi, and owns a home, they take active vacations, spends their extra money on investing, etc. These are all great attributes that can come together in a vision. And, I find it lowers people’s resistance to talking about this subject!

    • Jennifer Bourn says:

      Andrea – that’s a great idea! I have “poster” created from a silhouette illustration and I’ve filled in their physical, emotional, and spiritual characteristics. It has worked wonders!

  2. Kristi LeGue says:

    Great information Jen. When I started my CPA practice, that was something I struggled with. I used to joke when I was networking that if you filed taxes in the state of California, you were my ideal client. I figured out pretty quickly that that was not the case. I love all the detailed questions you ask. That is a great way to narrow down your market!

    • Jennifer Bourn says:

      Kristi – I was just at an event and a guy who walked to the mic said a similar thing when asked about his ideal client … he said EVERYONE needs my home study product. No matter how much he was asked to narrow it down, he couldn’t get away from the everyone mindset. Unfortunately that mindset will be a huge stumbling block. When you generalize and try to speak to everyone, no one will feel special, like you’re speaking right to them … no one will feel like they are a perfect fit.

  3. Jennifer, I love your idea of grading our clients. I know which ones are ideal and which are not, but this makes it a lot more interesting! And how funny to think about “retraining” them in order to move the C’s to Ideal. That’s a great perspective. I must share!


    • Jennifer Bourn says:

      Amy – It is actually a fun process. The first time I did it, I was freaked out! I had a lot of clients who weren’t earning top grades from me – and to follow my own advice, I had to let them go. It was scary. It took em three months to work up the nerve to fire the first one … then it got easier and easier. Now we focus on vetting clients in the prospect process so we don’t have to go through this :)

  4. Jennifer,
    LOVE this article. I always think of you recommending this to me a while back – when writing – think of your personas – it totally works!
    Thank you for your wisdom….

  5. Jen, Great advice! I have heard this before but the problem I keep having is – any advice on how to ‘relate’ to your ideal client when they are the opposite of you!?

    We tend to attract an opposite spectrum clientele from ourselves and I struggle with relating. It’s easy to be social when I am there, but I struggle to think about what to blog or say when I know I am coming from a sometimes vastly different ideological and social perspective. (deep, I know. Sorry. lol)

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