Your Ideal Client: Locate
In the first lesson, we talked about how to identify your ideal client. This lesson will talk about the importance of locating that client and also some tips about how to do so.
Once you have identified your ideal client, you must now find them. At first, this may seem a bit obvious - isn’t everyone on Instagram? However, simply posting your content to your Instagram feed may not be the most effective strategy. We will look at several ways that you can locate your client, get in front of that client, and start speaking to her.
When we have a very clear picture of who our ideal client is, it makes it easier to figure out where they are.
This will go hand in hand with the next lesson of how to attract your ideal client and some of what I say here may cross into that a bit, but I will try and keep it focused on how to locate them in this post.
Locate: Where is your ideal client?
Why is it important to know where our ideal clients are?
If you do not know where your ideal client is, you will not be able to effective reach them with your message. How can you make sure that your work and what you are communicating to them is reaching them if you have no idea where they are? If you have no idea where they are, then all of your efforts to reach them will be diluted, and you are working too hard for that work to go to waste.
Locating your clients geographically - Where are they physically?
If you do a lot of local work, then it will be important to know where your clients are physically. If you are a stationer or a calligrapher wanting to work locally, it will be important to know where your clients literally are, where they live and where they may go in town.
Find and reach your clients
Working locally can be a great way to start out, especially as a calligrapher. When I was first beginning as a calligrapher, I researched the various stationers in my area and reached out to them. I introduced myself, telling them that I would love to work with them, and set up a time to meet them and drop off a sample pack. At the time, my ideal clients were brides in my city who needed calligraphy and liked my style and they were most likely working with a local stationer. Therefore, partnering with local stationers who did not do calligraphy themselves was a perfect fit - both for them and for me.
Whatever your target market, figure out where they go and what they do locally. Where do they go for coffee? What vendors are they hiring? Start there.
If you are teaching local workshops, you will need to fill them with local people and this would certainly mean that you need to know where those people are. I know many artists who have tremendous success teaching workshops in their towns because they have developed a strong local following by partnering with the venues and other local creatives to help share their classes and also simply by word of mouth from past workshop clients in their city.
Find and reach local vendors who may work with your clients
In a different but parallel vein, it can be good to get involved in some vendor or creative groups in your area. This is not exactly targeting your clients, but rather getting to know some other vendors who may be wonderful to collaborate with, or who may may have a similar clientele who need your services.
When I lived in Arizona, I attended several of the local WIPA meeting and the local bridal magazine events. I also offered my services for future events. Simply by putting myself out there and asking, I was able to do calligraphy for a few events and even was asked to provide all of the stationery design for one of them. That helped me not only to practice my craft as a newer stationer, but also to get my name in the local market to vendors who had clients who were in need of my services - my ideal clients.
Locating your clients online - Where are they spending their online time?
Of course, depending on your industry and your product, a client’s physical location may not be important at all. For me now, my ideal client is not necessarily local and so I will be honest that I have not put that much effort into finding clients locally. I have, however made it a point to get to know local creatives - I think that is always important.
When we are attempting to locate our clients online, there will be some more questions to ask: What platforms are the using? How do they interact with those platforms? Do they prefer stories to posts? What types of accounts do they follow? What hashtags are they searching for? The effort that you put into identifying your ideal client will make answering these types of questions much easier.
It is easy to rely heavily on Instagram, and it can be a wonderful tool, however there are other places that your ideal clients may be that you are not thinking of.
Blogs & Podcasts
What blogs does your target market read? What podcasts are they listening to? Think about this and how you may be to use that to get in front of those clients. If they read fashion blogs, you may want to reach out to some fashion bloggers and see about doing a trade or guest posting on each others blogs to help bring new eyes to your site. Perhaps they love all things paper and design, and so submitting work to Oh So Beautiful Paper would be wise for you.
Let’s look again at the ideal client who is a female entrepreneur just starting her business, in need of a logo. What blogs and resources is she using? There are many great blogs and podcasts that are speaking to these women. You could ask to be a guest on their podcast (make sure that you approach this professionally and have a few topics in mind let them know how you could serve their listeners), invite them to do an Instagram live with you about a topic that would be relevant to both of your audiences. Reach out to them and get creative with how you may be able to partner with them to help get yourself in front of your ideal client.
If you are in the wedding industry, then your target market probably reads wedding blogs, but which ones? There are many wonderful wedding blogs, each with their own unique vibe and their own target client. Be strategic in the wedding blogs that you partner with or submit work to so that you can be sure that your work is getting in front of the eyes of your ideal client.
For example, Once Wed and Wedding Sparrow have more of a fine art sensibility, while Green Wedding Shoes and 100 Layer Cake tend to be a bit more unconventional and bohemian. Of course there is also Style Me Pretty, which most brides-to-be probably read and has several branches - its main page and regional pages. If you know that your target market is a bohemian California-girl, then it will be wiser to target Green Wedding Shoes than Wedding Sparrow.
I will admit, I have relied fairly heavily on Instagram over the years, however the platform is changing and those changes are affecting how effective our efforts on the app. There is no longer a guarantee that those who follow you will even see the work that you post. This can be frustrating, especially as a newer entrant to the market who is trying to grow their audience. Although it is difficult, try not to get caught up in the numbers, but to remember that it really is quality over quantity. You do not need tens of thousands of followers in order to book a few brides each year.
When you are on Instagram, I think that it is extremely important to both have your ideal client in mind as well as to present a cohesive brand that is communicating consistently to your audience when you are creating your content. When you have a strong brand presence and continue to speak to your target audience, your followers will come.
Hashtags can also be very useful, especially when many use Instagram as their search engine. Now, I very rarely use hashtags, and there are a few reasons for that, one of which is that I got tired of it. However, I probably should be! They can be very helpful in getting your work in front of your target audience.
What hashtags is your ideal client searching for? For this, and I am admittedly not the expert, but I think that it can help to get fairly specific. Using the hashtag #weddinginvitations, which has over 700,000 images, you may get lost in the pile, however the tag #bohemianwedding has 133,000 and #bohemieanweddinginvitations has 41. Your ideal client may also be searching for vendors in her area so it may help to include #atlantacalligrapher. Again, I am by no means in expert in hashtags, but they can be helpful.
Again, when we know our ideal client in and out, we already know what types of vendors they are attracted to. Continuing with the bohemian California-girl bride-to-be, think about what types of wedding venues, planners, and photographers she would be following and make it a goal to align yourself with those vendors. This may mean that you work on a collaboration together, take over each others stories for a day, or do an Instagram live together.
Can that be scary to reach out, absolutely! However, you have to take those risks. Try to come up with a long list of those parallel vendors so that you are not pinning all of your hopes on one person saying yes. The chances are that you will get some nos but also some yeses.
When I decided to drastically change my aesthetic about two years ago, I had a list of vendors with whom I wanted to work and align myself. I saw that the clients that they attracted and worked with were the clients that I wanted to be booking. I reached out to them and because I took that risk, I was able to have the opportunity to collaborate with them which, in turn, strengthened my new brand image.
Also, I highly recommend finding a group of like minded creatives that will be your people. A group with whom you can collaborate and all grow together. When you have multiple people sharing images from a shoot or a project and sharing your work as you are sharing theirs, everyone benefits. Your work and theirs will be getting in front of a larger pool of your ideal clients and you will all be helping each other to grow. We will talk more about this in the next lesson.
To wrap this lesson up, we have learned:
Why it is important to know our where ideal client is:
To be able to ensure that our message is getting in front of them and to understand where we need to be focusing our communication and marketing.
Finding our clients geographically & digitally:
If physical location is important to your business, find where your clients go in town and who they are working with. If you market digitally, find out what different online platforms your clients are using and how they use them so that you can position your message and content properly.
Remember to connect with other vendors/creatives
Whether you work locally or not, connecting with other creatives is important. Fellow creatives can be a wonderful way to help locate your ideal clients and can you can also become collaborators and supporters of each other.
When you know who your ideal clients are and where they are, you can then begin to create and deliver the content that will attract them and ultimately turn them into booked clients!
Have questions? Feel free to reach out!