And why do you need one?
It’s one of the first questions a marketer or copywriter will ask.
Do you know the answer? If not, you should.
Why does an ideal client matter?
Because you need to think like a fisherman. Decide what kind of clients you want to catch. Then you’ll know where to go look for them, how to attract their attention and what services to offer them. The closer your prospect is to your ideal client, the better.
What kinds of people do you enjoy working with?
Think about the problems you solve. If you’re a web developer, you solve the problems of people who want web sites, and don’t have them. People at large corporations? Solo entrepreneurs? Musicians? Are they creative risk-takers? Or more conservative? Fit your prospects to your personality. If you’re a creative person, full of ideas, and a risk-taker, accountants may not be your best choice.
How much can you spend to reach them?
There’s no sense trying to find clients with a splashy Super Bowl ad campaign if you’re a small business. Think about the resources you do have. There are inexpensive or even free ways to promote your business.
Can they afford you?
It’s no use trying to sell a $10,000 solution to a small business that earns $100,000 a year. They can’t afford it. To attract smaller companies, offer less expensive options, or payment plans.
Do you specialize in a particular industry or offer specialized services? Pick a niche . If you design web sites, set yourself apart from every other web designer. Be the designer who specializes in small business web sites or the designer who does sites for independent bookstores.
Do they want what you sell?
Are you offering something people want? Is there a big enough market for it? Think about the kinds of challenges the company faces (outsourcing, increasing market share, learning to use social media) and how your services help them solve those problems.
It doesn’t have to be a multi-million dollar problem; it could be helping someone who is overwhelmed with paperwork and needs a virtual assistant.
Who is the decisionmaker?
Are you talking to the head fish of the family? (OK, so I’m stretching this metaphor until it nearly breaks) Aim your marketing and your discussions at the person who has the authority to buy your product or service.