How Defining Your Ideal Client Can Save You Money

DeskThe marketing problem

As a Duct Tape Marketing Authorized Consultant I get a lot of marketing questions asked of me.

“Should I be using Twitter, how about Facebook, what about direct mail, etc., etc.?”

My return questions are along the lines of “Who are you trying to talk to, where do they hang out, what do they read, what do they watch, etc. etc.?”

The problem with the way most small business owners think about marketing is it becomes to much “Tactic” focused. There are always great new tactics, tricks, and tons of new innovative stuff to try in marketing. The challenge for a small business is usually in the form of budget restrictions.

So you must live within your marketing budget, and it must be simple, effective, and affordable. Oh, and it must be trackable.

Define your ideal client

Let’s create a fictional company, and let’s start by creating an ideal target client for the company.

Here’s some basic demographic info:
It’s the President/CEO/Owner of HVAC business, and has been in business for at least 3-years.
They are active in the day to day business in their company.
They have less than 15-employees.
They have a business located within a 30-mile radius of my zip code.
They are doing between $500,000 to $5,000,000 in annual revenue.

Here’s some psychographic info:
They are frustrated with their current marketing efforts, and have no marketing system in place.
They do not have an effective in-house marketing department.
The owner has been the rainmaker, but you has hit a plateau.
They are not sure how to get to the next level in their business.
They have a marketing budget to invest.
They have the humility to know that they don?t know everything, and they want help.
They are decisive and can make decisions.

Now if I had you go buy a list of companies that meet the above criteria for the demographics, could you do it?

You bet! It’s a simple as doing a search online of mailing list companies and putting in your demographic criteria. The 2nd part of defining the psychographic criteria seems to trip people up a little more.

The idea is to build a strategy around the most specific ideal client you can. The more specific it is, the easier it is for the ideal client to raise their hand and say, “Hey, you’re talking to me.”

Know What You’re Not Looking For

If I ask the average small business owner who they want as a client, the answer is usually some form of “everyone.” Sometimes this happens because when you first start out in business you need money, and you will take anyone as a client.

Needing money causes you to make some poor choices at times, LOL!

If this has happened to you, you have probably felt the pain of clients who are not ideal. This can be in the form of clients who are slow to pay, demanding of you, unresponsive, don’t refer, have unrealistic expectations, etc. Not a good experience for either party.

Your Ideal

Let’s work backwards to identify your ideal.

The 5 steps below, applied to a current client base and worked in order, will tell small businesses more about their true ideal client than any marketing class or book ever will.
1Find your most profitable clients from your existing clients.
2From the above group, identify those that refer.
3From that even smaller group, find common demographic characteristics.
4Take the time now to understand the behavior that makes them ideal (this is that psychographic stuff above).
5Draw a fully developed biographical sketch to use as a marketing guide.

Create a spreadsheet for yourself as you go through this process. By identifying your ideal target clients based on your existing clients, you can build your strategy around this group.

What you’ll find by going through this process is that you will actually start saving money on your marketing. This is because you don’t have to waste money trying to be all things to all people. You can actually focus on a smaller, more focused group that produces better results. And best of all, they actually want your help.

Now go and start your process!

P.S. You can have more than one ideal type of client.

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