Five questions to help you laser focus on your ideal client

In the last few years since moving here I’ve joined local networking and referral groups off and on, partially to get out of the house and meet people. Working from home in a new city doesn’t provide a lot of opportunity to make friends.

Each group is different, but there’s certain questions that naturally come up in a referral based setting, like who do you work with? Networkers love to connect people, especially with an ideal client. And to do that they need to know if the best fit for you is their cousin John or their accountant Amanda.

A few people had their answer really nailed down: “I work with startups in the cheese industry with less than 4 employees who are looking for a temporary CFO”. Others were a bit more vague but could narrow it down to people in their 30s who are looking to diversify their retirement accounts.

But the one answer I heard more than any other was some variation of “Everyone! I’ll work with anybody as long as they’ll give me money!”.

I mean… no.

Look. I get it. I’ve been there. Too scared to niche down because OMG what if no one ever hires me again and I die penniless and alone and am eaten by my cat.

Getting really specific about who you want to work with feels a lot like turning everyone else away, and that’s scary as hell.

But here’s the thing… the purpose of defining your niche isn’t to turn people away who don’t fit your criteria, it’s to attract the people who do. The people you’re going to have the most impact on. Your raving fans.

The goal is to develop a crystal clear picture in your head of the type of client you work best with, then use that picture to speak to them in a way they resonate with. Simple as that.

When you know exactly who your ideal client is then you know how to speak to them, what they need, where they’re hanging out. You can serve them better because your focus is concentrated on their needs instead of diluted across the entirety of the adult population.

It’s the difference between chatting about your services one on one over a cup of coffee and screaming into a crowded bar hoping to find someone needing a holistic business coach.

idealclienttall2.jpg

So what are the questions you should be asking yourself to help you really focus in on who you’re talking to in your marketing? Here are a few biggies to get you started.

How old are they?

This is deceptively simple, but it’s the first place I hear a lot of people making mistakes. Hint: If your stock answer for this is “19 to 99”, or an equally wide range, you have more work to do.

My ideal client falls somewhere in the 35-45 year old range. Does that mean I don’t work with anyone outside that range? Of course not!

Are they more masculine or feminine?

This isn’t necessarily about gender, although it can be. Each of us has a balance of masculine and feminine energy inside us, and some people lean more towards one than the other.

While I can work with men and women, and have worked with both for years, something about working with strong women lights me up inside and in turn I do some of my best work for other women.

Which energy do you work best with?

Where are they hanging out?

What Facebook groups are they in? What restaurants do they go to? Are they Target, Macy’s, or Bass Pro?

Knowing where they spend their time and money online and in real life will help you not only know where to find them, but give you a better idea of their likes and dislikes.

What income range do they fall in?

Hopefully you’ve already put some thought into this one at the very least, since your ultimate goal is likely to sell them your services or products.

What do they do for a living? Do they consider themselves wealthy? What attitude do they have towards money? If they are businesses, what is the business grossing each year?

Where and how will they find your brand?

This is a rabbit hole in itself, so we won’t dive too deep here. At a minimum though you should be asking yourself what avenues your ideal client is finding you through… is it word of mouth referrals? Facebook ads? Knowing where they hang out will help here too.


Hopefully these are enough to get you thinking about your ideal client less as a vague entity and more as a multi-faceted real life human you’re speaking directly to when you write your blog posts, caption your Instagrams, and design your packages.

This is something it’s taken me a long time to really understand for my own business, but now when I write copy or work on my website I always have my ideal clients at the front of my mind. An added bonus is imagining you’re having a conversation with your client as you write - it makes knowing what to say so much easier!

If you want to dig a little deeper into your ideal client and start to craft your brand’s values and personality, I’ve put together a Brand Discovery Guide for you. It walks through these questions and more to help you identify your unique style in a really conversational way, and it’s totally free!

BrandingLena ElizerComment