“I’m running an inclusive business, and I want to help people, not exclude them… so I don’t need to identify my ideal client, because it’s everyone. Right?”
WRONG. (But in a nice way, with hugs + a solution)
When I started my first business, this train of thought led me straight down the wrong track. Because my copy, marketing, and website were all really generic and broad. And it got me nowhere – because I never stopped to identify my ideal client, which meant all of my content was way too broad.
Broad is boring, specific converts.
And I want you to convert clients, click with them, enjoy getting to know each other, and change their lives (while vibing the whole time).
1, 2, 3, let’s go bestie.
Why do you need an ideal client avatar/profile?
Let’s get this one out of the way quickly: if you’re talking to everyone, you’re talking to no one. When you create what’s called an “ideal client persona,” (essentially, putting together a profile of your ideal client’s attributes), you are able to actually hone in on a certain type of person that you want to work with, that you work well with, and that wants to work with you.
And inevitably, when that person finds you in real life, they’re going to think that they’re dreaming. How did you know exactly what they’re struggling with, exactly what they need, and exactly how to help?
Because you got specific.
How do you actually identify your ideal client?
The most surefire way that I can give you for identifying characteristics of your ideal client is to think back about clients you’ve had in real life – both great fits and not-so-great.
Here are some things that you probably want to know about your ideal client:
- How old are they? (Narrow down to a 10-15 year range)
- What’s their gender identity/other identifying characteristics?
- What do you know about their lived experience?
- What do they do for work?
- What do they do for fun?
- Who do they live with? Do they rent or own?
- What do they value?
- What kind of entertainment do they like? Books? Movies? Music? What are their favorites?
Can you have more than one ideal client?
Yes! I typically recommend starting out with one to two ideal client personas and adding as needed with new offers or revenue streams.
So…what do I actually do once I’ve identified my ideal client?
This is where I think most people miss the mark. They’re all about identifying your ideal client with zero information about how to actually speak to them or use all the work you just did. But without context & application, everything you just did doesn’t matter.
The golden question: What does this tell me about my ideal client?
You’re a seasoned personal trainer who is starting her own fitness company. You plan to offer 1:1 personal training, and eventually, a digital fitness membership. Here’s a snapshot of your first ideal client persona:
TAYLOR’S IDEAL CLIENT
Anna (she/her) is a 32 year old self-identified woman, who wants to get back to exercising and building strength after putting her own self care on the back burner for years. She is a parent who works part-time in her consulting business, and cares for her children when not working. She lives in a home that she owns with her spouse. When they have time, they like to take their children to play at a local park, binge-watch old favorites on Netflix, and test new cocktail recipes. Anna has felt too busy and rushed to exercise for the past 4-5 years, but participated in sports in high school and intramural volleyball in college. She would like to focus on functional fitness and learn how to move her body without becoming overly obsessed with her weight & shape, which has been a challenge in the past.
Okay – time to read between the lines.
Now, we know that this client:
- Has a history of playing sports and more than a beginner’s grasp on athletic concepts → Can understand and appreciate more technical explanations of fitness
- May resonate with millennial pop culture references → Useful when writing copy that appeals specifically to people like her
- May have limited time for exercise → Emphasize time-efficient workouts and services
- Is focused on functional fitness → Will resonate with explanations of how fitness results will benefit her everyday life
- Has struggled with disordered exercise → Focus on body positive, non-weight loss driven messaging
How to Attract Your Ideal Client Through Your Website
Once you have a clear picture of who your ideal client is and what they value, your marketing improves exponentially. Because now, every single piece of content you touch can make that person or similar people feel seen in a way that encourages them to choose you over all of the other options.
Will every single client you ever work with be a clone of this persona? I hope not – that would be creepy as hell. But tailoring your messaging to your ideal client inevitably means that a much higher percentage of your leads are a great fit for you, turn into your clients, and help build solid social proof that then helps you book more great fit clients.
Let’s break this down into the site trifecta: brand, copy, and website.
On-Point Brand Strategy
The visual design of your branding should be created with your ideal client in mind. What kind of things are they likely to resonate with? Bold? Funky? Elegant? Delicate? Neutral?
Taking this into account when selecting colors, fonts, photography, graphics, etc. for your brand and website is not optional. Estimates vary, but you probably have 10 seconds or less to make a stellar first impression with your design that makes people want to stay on your website to learn more.
Extra credit: Solid, strategic branding isn’t just used on your website – it’ll travel across your social media, storefront, packaging, marketing materials, etc. It’s used to grab the attention of the right people for an initial vibe check. Without it, people are likely peacing out based on the vibes alone.
For our case study, I’d start by creating an inspiration board on Pinterest and freely brain-dump anything I think would both represent myself as the business owner, and my ideal client. Then, I’d narrow it down into two “brand boards,” choose my favorite, and use it as the inspiration for my color palette and other branding choices.
PS – I teach you exactly how to do this in the course that comes with my website templates! I’ll walk you through choosing a mini-brand of colors + fonts that perfectly fit your personality, then show you how to add them to your website in less than 5 minutes.
Simply put, your copy should take your ideal client into account on two fronts: what you say, and how you say it. It should feel like your audience is slipping into a comfortable conversation with someone they’ve known for years (or someone who’s reading their mind, in a not-creepy way).
Your website should include copy that:
- Let your audience know that you empathize with their struggles and the pain points that brought them to you
- Is appropriate for their level of awareness about what you do, and helps deepen their understanding of your work – AKA, why they need you
- Establishes your credibility within your work – AKA, why they can trust you
- Anticipates & addresses their hesitations about taking action on your services
The way you say it is also incredibly important. Designing your brand voice around who you dream of working with is an easy way to ensure you’ll have fun in your business. Not sure what I mean? Think about conversations you would have with: your sibling, your spouse, your doctor, your hair stylist, and your boss.
Remember that case study? For our bestie Anna, I’d take a more conversational approach to copywriting and sprinkle in a little technical jargon that signals my experience (yes, you can do this without being elitist). I’d also make sure to relate how my services uniquely suit her needs (short, effective workouts and focus on functional fitness) and add relatable personality through pop culture references and a casual tone.
The tone of all of those conversations is distinct, and they’re all right for that situation. Narrow down a tone that feels right for your audience (hint: look back at social media posts that have done especially well, or conversations with past clients), and use it with consistency. Your voice is a major part of your brand – make it count!
Strategic Website Design
Your website should make it super easy for your ideal client to: 1) want to book you and 2) take action on booking you.
What exactly does that mean?
- Cut out the confusion and give clear calls to action throughout your website
- Give your menu items and buttons clear, descriptive text (put “Book a call,” not “Start your journey”)
- Leverage your brand photos to create connection with your audience
- Leverage high quality stock photos to fill in the gaps that your brand photos may not be able to
Back to Anna: I would use hierarchy and large, attention-grabbing headings to emphasize what’s most important to my audience, then add body text to back it up. I’d also make sure common hangups were addressed in both page copy + a frequently asked questions section/page. Finally, I’d emphasize diversity and fun in the images I chose to represent my business.
And there you have it: a quick and not-dirty primer on how to identify your ideal client and take them into consideration as you build your marketing. Go forth & create with confidence, my friend.
Whether you’re new here or a frequent flyer, welcome! I’m Amy Hanneke, brand & website designer for business owners who hate boring. More specifically, I help service-based business owners book more clients & work less through captivating brand/web design and copywriting. I want it to feel super easy for clients to fall in love with you and for you to feel confident in your business, so here’s how I can help make that happen:
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