Your Ideal Client Roadmap
So you're hustling to create amazing products and services, but you're seeing no return on your investment.
You're posting on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest and only hearing crickets in response.
You're putting in all the effort for no results, and you're feeling burned out for all the energy it's taken to still be at square one.
What are you doing wrong?
Perhaps you haven't taken the time or effort to dig deep and identify your ideal client in great detail. You have a general idea (or you even think you have a solid grasp on) who you're targeting, but your messaging isn't specific enough, nobody's responding, and you're beginning to wonder what you're missing.
I've been there! I thought I knew who I was gearing my messaging toward, but it was too broad. I thought I had the copy pinned down, but it wasn't speaking specifically to my niche audience. I had to get more specific and spend time working to identify who I was really best positioned and gifted to help so I could make the biggest impact and reach the right people.
IDENTIFYING YOUR IDEAL CLIENT
It's important that you understand the basic demographic information of the people you're targeting with your services, products, and messaging. Different people respond to content differently, and to best target the right people, you have to understand some fundamental things about them.
What age range does your ideal client fall within?
What level of education does your ideal client have?
Where does your ideal client live (state/country/time zone/type of home)?
What is your ideal client's socioeconomic status?
What is your ideal client's relationship status and family situation (single/dating/engaged/married/married with kids/single parent/empty nester)?
Is your ideal client part of a specific political or religious or academic group?
What character qualities are you looking for in your ideal client, if any? These might seem less important than demographic information, and they're often less obvious, but that doesn't make them insignificant. Consider for a moment trying to work with someone who isn't particularly ambitious, hard-working, or committed. It's going to be far more challenging to work with them than it would be to work with someone who shows great determination, intrinsic motivation, and a good work ethic.
These qualities will also determine the kind of content and the format of the content you create for them. If your ideal clients need a step-by-step plan with a detailed workbook, a loose self-guided audio program isn't going to be as appealing or as good of a use of your time.
What attributes are vital to a healthy working relationship with you?
Is your ideal client a leader or a follower?
Is your ideal client methodical or more impulsive?
Is your ideal client detail-oriented or more interested in the big picture?
3. LIKES & DISLIKES
What does your client like about their current stage of life, health, relationships, business, or whatever area you're trying to assist them in? What frustrates them about that area of their life? Do they hate the accounting portion of running their own business even though they love networking? Do they hate meal planning but love cooking?
Knowing what your clients love helps you focus your content on giving them the skills and tools they need to do those things more efficiently and support them by helping them with the more tedious parts so they can invest more time, money, and energy doing more of what they love and less of what they hate.
This is also applicable to considering what types of content resonate with your ideal client. Are they more interested in audio? Video? Detailed guides or big-picture videos?
What part of your ideal client's life, health, relationships, or business do they already love?
What part do they hate?
What tasks do they continually procrastinate?
What tasks overwhelm them?
What format are they most drawn to?
How long is their attention span?
Do they like step-by-step guides or more lackadaisical approaches?
4. INTERESTS & SKILLS
What is your ideal client interested in? What do they want to learn or grow in? This is an opportunity for you to use your expertise and knowledge to assist them in areas where they have room to grow.
What is your ideal client already good at, and how can you capitalize on that to help them strengthen their life, health, relationships, home, or business? Everyone's good at something (usually several things), so how can you support them in doing what they're already good at-- only better, faster, easier, or more efficiently?
What interests your ideal client?
What causes is your ideal client passionate about?
Who does your ideal client already follow?
What are you good at that your ideal client would want to learn about?
What is your ideal client already good at?
How does your ideal client spend their time?
How could your ideal client's strengths be leveraged or optimized?
Where does your ideal client spend their time? Where can you find people to observe, engage with, interview, and use for your market research? It's important to identify where they "hang out," so to speak, so that you can not only conduct your research into what their pain points and needs are, but also so you can circle back with your solutions!
What social media platforms does your ideal client use the most?
What types of content is your ideal client engaging with the most?
What groups is your ideal client a part of?
6. THOUGHTS & FEELINGS
On an average day, what does your ideal client think, feel, say, and do? Take a moment to get inside the head of your ideal client and flesh those qualities out so you can get to know your ideal client inside and out.
What do they talk about?
What do they have to say on the topic you're trying to help them regarding?
What do they think about?
What do they think about the topic you're focusing on?
How do they feel about the topic you're focusing on?
How do they feel about where their life, health, relationships, or business is right now?
What are they doing that's hindering their progress?
What activities are they engaging in regularly?
7. PAIN POINTS
What's your client's biggest struggle? Where do they find themselves being challenged and frustrated time and again?
What makes your ideal client angry?
What makes your ideal client sad?
What frustrates your ideal client?
What does your ideal client struggle with?
What aspects of their life, home, health, relationships, or business does your ideal client not understand or not excel in?
Based on their pain points, what does your ideal client need? This will give you an opportunity to create a product, service, or free gift to support them and provide for their specific needs instead of guessing about what they could use. It's a surefire way to connect with them, provide real value, build your relationship with them, and turn readers and followers into paying clients!
What service could your ideal client use to help with their pain points?
What product could your ideal client use to help with their pain points?
What is the best solution to your ideal client's problem?
How does your knowledge and expertise answer your ideal client's problem?
What can you offer to solve your ideal client's problem?
CONDUCTING MARKET RESEARCH
To find answers to the above questions, there are a few different approaches you can take. It's often best to mix them up to ensure you get enough answers to be confident in the prevalence of your ideal client's problems and the opinions attached to them (instead of just a few specific people's opinions) and to go deeper with a few to get more information than some will be willing to offer up (so you can get even more specific!).
You can sign some individual coaching clients to help people work through their specific needs. In doing so, you'll gain insight into what people within your target audience struggle with the most and how you specifically can help them.
You can repurpose the content you use in your coaching (tools, worksheets, exercises, even tips and tricks) for a product, service, or program you offer later on, and you'll have the opportunity to gather testimonials from your one-on-one clients to demonstrate your ability to help in your niche!
Oftentimes, our ideal clients are similar to us, or at least who we were a few steps back from where we are now. That means we likely know people in our personal lives who fit within our target audience. Even though you probably won't want to sell to your friends and family, you can take the opportunity to interview them, listen to their stories and experiences, offer some value, and learn more about your target audience in the process.
If you're crafting a business around helping first-time moms cope with the transition to life with a new baby, it would be helpful to sit down with your friend who just had her first kid a couple months ago to get her perspective.
You could ask what your friend's biggest struggles are, what type of content she resonates with most, where she goes to find answers to her questions, what she would expect from certain products or services, and how much she might be willing to pay for such products or services. Of course, this is also when you could offer some of the information or experience you are preparing to turn into products or services for your ideal client, in return for your friend helping you with your research and to see how it resonates with someone who is part of your target audience.
POLLS & SURVEYS
On a less personal and time-consuming note, you can post polls and link to surveys. One of the best ways to do this is within targeted Facebook groups. If you ask just one simple question through a poll, you're more likely to get more responses than if you post several or link to an outside survey. However, a survey could get you more demographic information, along with more personalized and in-depth answers.
Bonus tip: engage with the people who reply to your polls and surveys! If someone votes on a poll and comments with more information, reply to them! Offer some tips or advice if applicable, ask a follow-up question, or offer to get on the phone to talk to them further! It could get you more information, build a valuable relationship, demonstrate your authority, and even turn into a paying client relationship if you get on the phone and offer your services!
If you know what you're searching for, you can do a keyword search in targeted Facebook groups to find group members' posts that are relevant to the subject you're researching. This is a great way to see what language people within your target audience are using (which you can adopt and use in your website copy, advertising, and social media messaging to better resonate with your target audience).
Just remember to search for your keywords and any related variations or synonyms so you don't miss anything! And remember to use words that have both positive and negative connotations with your subject because people might have posted with struggles or triumphs.
For instance, when I was looking for information to use for my decluttering bootcamp, I searched words like declutter, decluttering, minimalism, simplicity, simplify, clean, organize, and clutter.
You can always ask direct questions, too! If you're part of a relevant Facebook group, you can ask group members what they struggle with most on your topic or how you can best help them with your topic. You could ask for stories or examples (often specific requests gain more engagement because people are better equipped to answer specific requests in comparison to general ones).
What are your decluttering goals for this week?
What are you struggling with most in writing your website copy?
What was the hardest part of creating your social media strategy?
What made you want to start your journey of simplifying your life?
WHAT YOU'RE LOOKING FOR
Are there patterns you can observe based on the research you've done? Are there questions that keep coming up, common struggles, or shared issues? Chances are, the biggest problems one person in your target audience is facing are the same as the problems others in your target audience are facing. When you get specific enough about your ideal client, you'll be able to identify themes between the individuals because they will have common pain points and interests.
What language are they using? Are there phrases, words, statements, or questions that keep coming up over and over again? Is there language you can adopt for your own messaging to demonstrate how well you understand your target audience and identify with them?
Your ideal client will likely have more than one problem in his or her life, home, relationships, health, or business. That means there's a substantial amount of room for growth!
But for maximum impact, start with their biggest pain point. What struggle do they talk about the most? Where are they focusing? What issue is causing the biggest impact on their daily life?
Who does your target audience already listen to? You can target them with ads, but you can also take a more organic approach and just observe and take notes on what they're doing that your target audience is responding to so well.
Where is your audience most engaged with these influencers?
What types of posts seem to resonate most with your audience?
Do these influencers have a specific tone that your audience responds to?
What draws your audience toward the influencers they listen to?
What common threads exist between the influencers your audience is drawn to?
How are you similar to and how are you different from these influencers?
Now you know what the common struggles are, what the language is, and where to find your ideal clients. All you have to do is use your knowledge and expertise to craft products or services that directly address your ideal client's pain points and use language they understand (positioning yourself in the places they frequent) to capture their attention, demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of their situation, and get them to work with you!
That's it! That's how you identify your ideal client, get super specific about who they are, where they hang out, what they're struggling with, how you can best resonate with them, and how to craft a product or service to address their biggest struggles (which will compel them to work with you!). What tip was the most helpful to you? I'd love to hear from you-- in the comments or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org!
And if you want to talk more about finding your ideal clients, creating a visibility or engagement strategy, setting up your website, crafting your messages, articulating your vision and mission, or doing the mindset work that makes all of that possible, let's chat!