When I started my business, “everyone” told me I needed to know who my ideal client was. The pressure of figuring out the answer was intimidating; in those early days, my ideal client was anyone who had a pulse and would pay me. Needless to say, that turned out not to be a great answer.
Do you know who your ideal client is-that perfect person or entity you enjoy doing business with? Below are some questions to help you sort out who that is, and why it matters. Knowing the answer to these questions will help your business be more successful and help you sleep better at night, both desirable goals. Let’s dive in.
Language is the currency of marketing. It may seem like getting clients for your business is about money, but communication is the real key. In order for someone to become your client, they must first understand what you are offering, relate your offer to something they want or need, grasp how your service can help them, and determine that you are the right person to do what’s needed.
As a self-employed professional, the last thing you want is for clients to perceive you as a commodity. Commodities are products or services that are considered to be basically the same no matter who provides them. When your target audience thinks of you as just another financial planner, graphic designer, life coach, personal trainer, or psychotherapist, you must work far too hard simply to get them to remember you until they need you.
Here are five ways you can position the solution that you offer as distinctive enough to attract and hold your prospective clients’ attention, AND convince them that your solution is the one they need.
As a self-employed professional, the view that prospective clients hold of you is crucial. What you want is for clients to see you as an expert. How clients perceive your level of expertise will influence not only whether or not they hire you, but also how much they’re willing to pay, how easy it is for you to close the sale, and whether clients award you big projects or small ones.
It may feel like you, the person to be hired, don’t have much power over clients’ perceptions. You may believe that clients will make their own decisions about how — or whether — to work with you, regardless of what you do. But that’s not true. There is much you can do to influence how potential clients view you before you ever have your first conversation with them. Here are seven ways you can influence clients to perceive you as an expert.
“I’d like to attract clients by writing articles or a blog, but I’m not sure what to write about.”
“I tried blogging for a while, but it didn’t bring me any business.”
“When I write, people seem to like it, but I have only a handful of readers.”
These are some of the comments I hear from self-employed professionals who think that writing about their area of expertise might be a path to attracting clients… but feel like they don’t have a map. I understand their frustration. It’s easy to make crucial mistakes when using writing as a marketing strategy. But you CAN do this successfully. Here are six guidelines to make writing pay off.
Jan is a graphic designer who was always struggling to find good clients. “I could find plenty of people who needed my services,” she recalls, “but they thought my rates were too high. I either ended up agreeing to work for less, or they found someone else. And then when I did get the job, they took forever to pay me.”
Like many graphic designers, Jan’s marketing emphasized her business identity work — creating a company’s logo, business cards, and other collateral, with matching design elements. Her primary audience was new businesses who were just getting started. But then Jan had a brainstorm.
“I realized that the clients I was marketing to were people who didn’t have enough money to pay me,” says Jan. “They were startups with tight budgets. And since they hadn’t been in business long, they didn’t place much value on working with an experienced, high-quality designer. They were just looking for the lowest price.”