Your ideal customer is your audience

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In order to grow your audience, you first need to truly understand them.  In this first post of the “super simple content marketing series” I’m going to start to show you how to get into the mind of your ideal client so you can start attracting more of them, and how you can position yourself as the solution to their problems!

Who is your ideal customer and where are they stuck?

If you’re blogging casually for fun, then you probably don’t need to read this – carry on blogging for the love of it. But if you’re wanting to create a content strategy that ultimately positions you as an authority, attracts leads and opens up new opportunities… then read on.

The Problem

People are probably telling you that; “content marketing is what it’s all about….” or “you need to be blogging…” or “you need to up your game on social media…” but you’re probably thinking the web is already full of random articles that nobody actually reads so what’s the point?!

In a sense you’d be right – the web IS full of low quality “for the sake of it” content so why add to it? But that’s not the kind of content we’re talking about. We’re talking about identifying your ideal client and writing engaging content that resonates with their situation or challenge, which ultimately offers them a solution (eventually involving you!).

The Solution

Let’s get started by doing the following 3 things;

  • Identify who your actual audience/ideal customer really is
  • Define your product/service and identify the disconnect
  • Find out where your ideal client is stuck or struggling

And, we’re going to keep this REALLY simple

Identifying your ideal client (your ‘content audience’)

Whether you’re a B2B, BCB, or even R2D2! your business offers a product or service that solves a problem and there is a group of people out there that greatly value the problem that you solve but aren’t even aware that you exist. 

So how do you tap into this market?  How do you attract these new leads and turn them into clients?  How do you become the expert in your field?  This is where we’re going to start….

Step 1: Define your product/service from your own perspective

What is your product? And what problem does it solve?  Write it down. 

Here are a few examples:

  • Company A:  My company delivers Digital Web Strategy & Solutions to SME/SMB’s in the software / enterprise SaaS industry
  • Company B:  I help people find a new balance in their lives through a tailored holistic therapy programme
  • Company C:  We’re a boutique hotel specializing in all year round small – medium sized weddings

Step 2: How do your clients define your product or service, and where is the disconnect?

Think about your ideal clients, or if you don’t have any you actually like, then think about your imaginary ideal client.  How might they describe your service?

Perhaps it might be something like this:

  • Company A:  “They are a web design company”
  • Company B:  “She’s a therapist”
  • Company C:  It’s a Hotel with a function room

Clearly, for you, this can be very frustrating.  You want your clients to see you one way, yet they see you another way.  That’s the disconnect right there.  But that’s okay; it means we have work to do and plenty of room for improvement.

Step 3: Identify the bigger problem

Think back to your initial meetings/conversations with your best clients – those that thought they needed a “web designer” or a “therapist” and after talking to them you delved into the challenges they faced and helped them realise that their problem was a wider issue – and an issue you were perfectly well positioned to help them with!  If only everybody out there knew that you were the expert at solving those wider issues right?

So, somehow, the way that you talk about your own business, and the way that others talk about your business when making recommendations fails to mention or acknowledge the actual problems being faced by the ideal customer. 

With that in mind, let’s look again at our 3 examples, and describe better what they actually do for their ideal customer.  Note I’m getting specific here and only providing one statement – in reality you would have many statements to keep describing all the different ideal customer impressions that they would have of your services.  I’m going to stick to one each for now just to keep things simple.

  • Company A:  Increases online conversion rates, leads & sales and online visibility for software or enterprise SaaS companies
  • Company B:  Helps executives who are mentally struggling with their career, want to get that promotion but don’t value themselves, or don’t have the confidence to leap into self-employment 
  • Company C:  Provides you with a personal wedding planner + complete package for a wonderful and memorable wedding in a beautiful countryside setting all year round, any day of the week.

So who were the ideal clients, and where were they stuck?

Company A’s ideal clients include software/SaaS businesses that have realised they need to work harder online to pull in new leads, increase conversion rates and grow their online brand awareness.  They don’t just need a new website, they’re a client that already understands the wider and bigger picture problem they have.  They’re stuck because this next move for them is critical and they don’t know who to trust with so many general agencies out there. 

Company B’s ideal clients include stressed and disillusioned highly paid execs that know they desperately need change in their life, yet mentally they’re so overwhelmed they can’t see the way forward and therefore feel trapped. 

Company C’s ideal clients include couples that are looking for a beautiful wedding package solution that may well be in the winter months, on a weekday in a beautiful setting where everything is taken care of.  They are stuck because they’re overwhelmed with options, choices and external opinions – they want a simple but quality option, and they desperately need advice from an experienced planner (as opposed to their family trying to take over!).

So now we’ve established that there can often be a disconnect between the service we perceive ourselves as offering and the service our clients perceive us as offering. 

We’ve identified a broad idea or who our ideal client is, and we’ve moved away from talking about the things we sell/offer to the specific problems that our ideal clients have and need to solve.

What’s next?

In Part 2 of this series we’ll delve a bit deeper and identify your ideal customer avatars using a simple and easy (and fun!) method.  Through this, you’ll have a really drilled down idea of your audience – names, age, gender and backstory!

Tune in to Part 2 later this month.

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