Updated: Nov 13, 2019
When you hear “favorite client”, who immediately comes to mind? No matter what industry you’re in, there are customers that you enjoy interacting with, and there are some that make you want to hit happy hour a little early. If you’re like most business owners, you prefer working with clients that have at least three of these characteristics: pleasant, decisive, organized, punctual, easy to work with, knows the value of your business or service, and pays on time.
Marketing is the best way to reach your target audience if you know who your target audience is. If you’re not sure, or it’s been a minute since you’ve looked, here are a few tips and tricks to help you find your best clients.
Tip #1: Evaluate your clients.
Start with your own client base, pick out the clients you like working with, and look for common characteristics among them. You can also use this system to achieve the opposite effect. Find common negative characteristics, aka red flags, among the clients that are difficult to work with. This research may help prevent you from teaming up with problematic clients in the future.
Keep in mind that you’re looking for similar characteristics that some of your customers share, and not a common characteristic among every customer. For example: 20 out of 100 of your clients play golf – that’s a similar characteristic you want to jot down. 100 out of 100 of your clients are American – that doesn’t really help you get closer to defining your target audience.
What you’re looking for:
These are some basic demographics to consider when evaluating your client base. Some of these may be important, and some may not be relevant at all. The only way to get a definite answer is to perform an assessment of your customers.
Answering additional questions like these will help you determine some similarities to look for when pinpointing your audience:
Do they live in a similar type of location (big city, beach, rural, etc.)?
Do they share any hobbies?
Do they have pets?
Do they travel?
Do they have grandchildren?
What do they like to do in their free time?
Tip #2: Categorize your Clients.
After evaluating your customers and determining which ones are your favorites, look at the demographics/characteristics that they have in common. Are they mostly male or female? Do they live in the city? Are they typically married? Are they mostly CEOs or Presidents of the companies they work for? What’s their income? Answering these will give you an idea of your “ideal client”. Much like elementary school, you’re grading on the A-F system. When someone shares in the majority of these characteristics, you can label them as “ideal” and rank them in your top category: “A”.
Once you’ve determined who fits in the “A” category, you can move on to those headed for the “B” category. These are the clients that aren’t quite your favorite, but they’re still important to your business. Keep the same questions and evaluation tactics above to categorize your “B” clients. This is where your client list begins to divide between who you’re looking for and who you’d rather be without.
Typically, any client that falls below the “B” range is someone you’d rather not target. However, situations and issues arise in any business; and you may need a few customers that fall into the “C” category in the future (call it your “reserve”). Using the same method, categorize your “C” clients and differentiate them from the rest. Anyone that falls below “C” are those you definitely don’t want on your roster, and the type of prospects you want to try to avoid attracting in the future.
Tip #3: Create your Personas.
You discovered the similarities between your clients, and know the demographics/characteristics that are most attractive to your business. Now it’s time to create your personas, or fictional representations of the clients you want to attract. (This is where tip #2 comes in handy!)
Start with your “A” clients and look at the characteristics they share. Now, imagine if you combined every “A” client together to make one single individual. How would you describe that client? What’s his/her name, age, sex, and any other common characteristics? How you respond is exactly the way you create a persona.
For example: Characteristics of Client “A”:
Persona of Client “A”:
Olivia Owner is 42, and enjoys living in her downtown loft with her two chorkies, Oscar and Ollie. She graduated with a BA, and uses the skills she learned to run her furniture business: Olivia’s Olive Furnishings. Her business employees 5 people, including herself, and brings in an annual revenue of $2.8 M. Olivia loves to travel 3 to 4 times a year to a beach, typically Destin, FL, but she’s open to anything. When Olivia wants a little downtime, she goes to her local high-end spa for massages, facials, and body pampering.
Voila! You’ve created a persona.
Olivia Owner is now a fictional representation of your best client, and the type of person that you’re targeting the most with your marketing efforts. If you replicate this system to create a persona that represents each of your client categories, you can determine the direction of your marketing strategy by targeting the correct people with the right methods.
It takes time to analyze your client base to know exactly what type of client you want to focus on; but the more effort and attention you spend on researching and developing these personas, the better off your marketing strategy will be. If this is something you would like to do, but can’t find the time, let us know! We’d love to help you create your audience personas, and fine-tune your marketing efforts to attract your “A” list clients and avoid the troublemakers.