As you start to build your creative arts business and continue to grow it, one of the keys is getting clear on who your ideal client is. It is pretty important to know about the person who is buying your product or service. If you get right down to it, money comes from people, so it helps to know who they are if you want to ask them to invest with you.
When many people start out, they want to serve everyone, and I mean everyone. I can remember a student, Carol, who was in my “Craft Business Success From Your Creative Passion” class at International Quilt Festival in Chicago one year. The students went through an exercise to help them identify who their ideal customer was. Carol insisted that the entire quilting universe, and perhaps the whole non-quilting universe, was her customer. She was an appliqué artist and was making it her mission to teach appliqué to any and all quilters. It did not matter if the person was not interested in appliqué or already had a specialty, such as painting fabric, Carol was going to turn everyone into a lover of doing appliqué.
What is wrong with this picture of wanting everyone to love appliqué as much as Carol did? It is charming, yet it is unrealistic. It also holds Carol back from making a difference to those people on whom she could really have an impact. She is expending so much energy trying to reach everyone, that she is not able to reach those who could use her brilliance.
So, how can you use this story?
First, do not try to be everything to everyone. You will end up being nothing to no one.
Second, take time to get clear on your client. When you do that you will know where to find this person and how to market to her. And, she will want to invest with you.
Keys to knowing your client
You need to get very clear on who your ideal client is. You could call this person your ideal client, your perfect client, your customer. It doesn’t really matter. It’s the person who you want to purchase your goods or services.
You can look at this person on two levels:
Basic demographics. How old is this person? Where do they live? How much disposable income does they have? What is their family situation?
Psychographics, or value-focused data. Where do they shop (online/offline)? What magazines do they read? What media do they frequent (magazines, blogs)? How do they like to learn (online/in person)? Who do they follow on social-media?
Those are the basics and relatively easy to answer. And, I know you will be able to fill in more demographic and psychographic information beyond the questions I have shared. This starts to give you a well-rounded picture of this potential buyer.
You need to go a bit deeper. Your goal is to develop what is called the “know-like-trust” factor. People buy from people they know, like and trust. Think about your own buying experience. You are more likely to buy from someone whom you know, like and trust, too.
So to get your ideal customer to know, like and trust you, you need to know a bit more. You need to understand both their internal and external problems.
- What are their problems? What keeps them up at night that you are able to solve?
- What are their fears? These might be disguised as their excuses.
- What are their dreams?
- What are their frustrations?
- What are their objections to what you are offering? How will you overcome them?
Once you spend time figuring all this out, the rest is easier. You will be able to figure out what the results are that you offer and what the problems are that you solve. You will know in great detail who your ideal customer is. You might even write up a small avatar that describes this person in detail. I did that when I wanted to know who my ideal client was.
I will share one final story. As I said, I figured out who my ideal clients is and I continue to refine it. I did create an avatar of this person. I am quite clear on who my ideal clients is. When I write this weekly post, I think about who that person is and what their problems are. I think about how what I write will help them in their business. I have received more than one email from a reader asking how I knew her so well and how I could help her further.
It’s your turn!
Do you know who your ideal client is? Share a small description of him or her below and how you figured this out.