March 13, 2023
So we’re talking about ideal clients today, and I want to start off with a story about coffee.
I have a love-hate relationship with coffee. I go from drinking it all the time to never drinking it. Right now, I’m drinking it all the time. Everyone loves coffee, right?
So I want you to imagine a small coffee shop opening up in a busy city. There’s Starbucks everywhere, other coffee chains all over the place that are really well-established. So the owners of this little coffee shop love coffee, of course, and they did a lot of testing and research, and they have the best coffee around, but maybe you can relate to this – they struggled to stand out despite how good their coffee is among all their competition and actually attract clients.
So their business was struggling, but they took some time to learn about marketing and they realized that they had been targeting the wrong audience, the wrong ideal client. They had been trying to appeal to everyone who likes coffee, hoping that their really good coffee and their atmosphere would be enough to attract a wide range of customers.
Who wouldn’t want that, right? The more, the better.
But they discovered that there was a specific demographic in the area that was loyal and consistent and told their friends about the coffee shop and the coffee, and that was young professionals who were looking for a quiet place to work and study. So the owners, when they realized this, they revamped their marketing strategy and they started to emphasize the coffee shop’s free, super-fast Wifi, and comfortable seating and quiet atmosphere.
They started hosting events and workshops that were aimed at young professionals, and they advertised their business on social media channels that they knew that demographic was on.
So what do you think happened to this coffee shop? They really niched down and excluded kind of a lot of people, right? Of course, they saw a significant increase in sales and they were able to build a loyal customer base of young professionals who appreciated the space and the services that the coffee shop provided.
So was that the perfect coffee shop for everyone? Was it good for a busy mom who wanted to order coffee on an app and grab it on the way to daycare? No, probably not. That coffee shop didn’t even have an app. Was it good for a chatty group of older women who met for a Bible study on Tuesday mornings. No, probably not, right, because it’s a quiet atmosphere.
But this coffee shop, I hope you can see coffee shop and photography parallels here. This coffee shop was perfect for one specific group of people, and that’s what made the coffee shop success. This shows us the importance of identifying your ideal client and marketing.
If your client is a new mom, you’re probably not advertising in a brewery. Well, maybe you would, I don’t know. But you have to think about who your ideal client is.
If your ideal client is a 20-something bride, you’re not going to go partner with midwives. Chances are a 20-something bride isn’t connecting with midwives.
Those are super high-level basic examples and we’re going to get deeper into this episode some more specifics and going beyond the basics, but hopefully this coffee shop example shows you how powerful knowing your ideal client really can be.
It’s Marketing 101, and we’re going to talk more about how to identify this ideal client later in the episode, because I know a lot of times people are like, “Okay, conceptually, I understand it, but how do I actually make it work for me?” We’re going to talk about that.
Please do not skip or skim this. This is so important. Most photographers skip over this.
In Marketing School for Photographers, this is one of the very first things that I teach new students because it’s the basis of everything else that we build our marketing around.
So if you skim over this, you’ll end up wasting time in the long run because you’ll be making social media content that doesn’t get seen by your ideal client, and you’re going to struggle to stand out and attract the right kind of clients. And you’re going to say, “I’m posting consistently, why isn’t it resonating? Why am I not booking my ideal clients?”
It’s because you haven’t clearly identified who it is that you’re trying to reach. And if you don’t get this figured out, no matter how many Facebook ads you run or how consistent you are, or how good your sales are, knowing your ideal client in a deep and intimate way solves these problems.
So when you’ve finally mastered this ideal client profile, literally everything becomes easier. It’s the easy button. So if you’re thinking like, “Huh, I saw so-and-so is offering this new product, should I offer that new product?” You just ask yourself, “What is my ideal client?” (Mine’s name is Jennifer.)
I say, “What would Jennifer like?”
And if you’re like, “Okay, everybody’s talking about TikTok, should I be on TikTok?” Well, is your ideal client on TikTok?
Or, “Should I partner with this specific vendor?” Well, is that vendor someone that your ideal client would use?
Now, occasionally people will be like, “I already know who my ideal client is. This is too basic. Don’t make me do these exercises again. I’ve already done this once, I know who she is, let’s move on to the juicy stuff and let’s talk about Instagram.”
If that’s you, I would lovingly say…why would you only do this once? Isn’t your business just like you and your ideal client – constantly evolving.
Why wouldn’t you want to know your ideal client on the deepest level possible so that you can serve them on the deepest level?
This is something that Lydia and I talk about all the time, frequently going back and redoing a lot of the stuff that we’re going to talk about here today, once a year to just get a pulse on who this person is that you’re trying to reach and refreshing it.
This is not a once and done type exercise. Sure, you can do it one time, but why would you only do it one time when you could really get to know this person on a much deeper level? I was on a call with someone who wanted to work with me one-on-one, and she said, “Okay, if you’re going to tell me I need to figure out my ideal client, I’m going to leave you a bad review.”
And it’s not just her. A lot of photographers have this attitude, including old Tavia. I thought that if I did this once, I was good to go. That I quickly learned that this is not a once and done activity.
“Okay, Tavia, I got it. I understand the power of this. I need to do it more frequently, but how do I actually figure out who my ideal client is? I’ve worked with a lot of people and I can see the pros and cons of working with all of them. So how do I choose and how do I know which one is the right one?”
Which ideal client profile, which previous client is the right one? And that’s a good place to start. Because when we’re working on something so important, it’s normal to put a lot of pressure on getting it right. It’s important and we want to get it right. The problem is when we stress and put pressure on it, when I’ve had all this build-up and you’re like, “Okay, I get it. It’s important,” then we start to go, “Okay, well I’ve got to get it right,” and we put pressure on ourselves, we either:
So let’s take the pressure off.
This is an exercise that you’re going to do multiple times over the course of your business. This is something that you’re thinking about and tweaking and learning every day, week, month, year in your business. So let go, let’s take some pressure off, it’s okay if you don’t do it right or quote perfectly the first time. It already feels a little better, right? We’re taking some of that pressure off.
Step #1: Think About Your Ideal Client
So let’s think about who this person is. Let’s get into the nitty gritty.
You probably already know the basic things about her like age, marital status, number of kids, pets, where she lives. And if you don’t, please start there. But I’m willing to guess most of you already have a lot of that stuff. So when you know that about your ideal client, how do you know those things? Are you guessing? We’re going to call it an educated guess, because chances are this ideal client profile is going to come about based on one of a few different people:
Step #2: Journal
Now that you have a basic idea of who this person is, this is the part that makes the biggest difference that people are not very likely to do. This is the part that when I say do this, what I’m about to tell you, people don’t do it.
And they wonder why their marketing isn’t working. They wonder why their social content isn’t getting seen. They wonder why they’re not booking ideal clients and it’s a hundred percent because they’re not willing to do what I’m about to tell you.
And so I hope that you will not skim past this, that you’ll take it seriously, that you’ll pretend you paid me a hundred dollars to hear what I’m about to say, and take action on it. Based on that, take action as if you paid for this, because it really has the power to transform the way that you do business when you think about your ideal client through this lens.
I want you to journal on these three questions about her:
If you’re a student inside of Marketing School, I have a lot more exercises like this and questions to use to dig deeply into your ideal client and specific ways to use this in your marketing. If you’re not in Marketing School, make sure to jump on the wait list at thebeautyinbirth.com/waitlist to be notified the next time that we are opening up enrolment, so that Lydia and I can hop on Zoom with you in our group coaching calls and we can help you work through this.
So what do you do now? What is your next step? Hopefully at this point you’ve journaled or you’ve saved this episode and you’re planning to come back to, and you understand now how to target your ideal client and what it is about them that you’re trying to target.
It’s not just these demographics, it’s the psychographics too. It’s not just age, marital status, pets, but it’s really getting into their head and understanding their fears, concerns, what’s important to them. Because as things in the world continue to change in technology and trends, it’s so important to review and update who your ideal client is.
Imagine if I did this exercise 10 years ago and never updated it, there’s so much that has changed in the world in 10 years, in 2 years, that’s why it’s so important to continue to look at this and review it.
Always know who you’re speaking to. If you put in the work to identify and meet the needs of your ideal client and their desires, I have no doubt a fully booked calendar will follow for you.
Thank you so much for making it to the end of another episode. If you haven’t already, if you liked this episode, if you have feedback, I would love if you would take two minutes to leave a review on iTunes. If you need help doing that, you can head over to thebeautyinbirth.com/podcast and I’ll walk you through how to leave a review.
It means so much to me, and those reviews help the show reach more people so that we continue to do more episodes, bring on better guests, all that good stuff. So thank you, thank you!
And remember my friend, if you have a passion, it’s not an accident, and not everyone loves the thing that you love. I know it might feel like it, but not everyone does. So I hope that you understand that passion is unique and special to you, and you were designed to get out there and make it happen. Have a great week!