Have you found Wally? If you don’t know who Wally is, he’s a character in a series of children’s books created by British illustrator Martin Handford. The books consist of pages of detailed illustrations depicting massed ranks of people, and the reader is challenged to find Wally hidden in the group. Fortunately, Handford makes it easier by dressing Wally in a distinctive red-and-white striped shirt, bobble hat, and glasses.
And that’s the clue for today’s blog.
How do you find your ideal client or clients? If you deliver a service to consumers, then there are something like 60 million of them in the UK alone to aim your marketing bucks at. If you deliver your service or product to businesses, the number is smaller yet still in the hundreds of thousands. With the advent of social media, some gurus advocate that all you need to do is write a few well-chosen words, pop them into a blog, and customers will be beating down your door to do business with you.
Our advice is: don’t bother. Broadcasting to the masses just doesn’t work. The key is to identify some distinguishing feature that your ideal clients all possess so you can scan a crowd and easily make out your target. Having done that, you can then aim your marketing message at them, knowing it will be of real interest to them.
Like finding Wally, this isn’t always easy, especially if you currently work with a small number of existing clients—it can be difficult to extrapolate from such a small segment the unifying traits for your larger target audience. But you need to persevere, because spending time and energy generating the wrong sort of clients can cost you dearly. Everyone has experienced the woes of dealing with that one mare of a client who uses up 90% of your emotional energy whilst generating 1% of your margin.
Here’s how to start the process: take a long, hard look at who you are, your vision for the business, and your existing clients, and begin to pick out those distinctive characteristics that make them stand out from the crowd. It could be the size of their turnover or staff, geographical location, the legal status of the business, whether they’re private or public sector, and so forth. Keep going until you have a list of traits that are unique to the people you want to work with.
As business coaches in Bristol and Bath, we, for example, seek to work with entrepreneurs in helping them create a business model; we also work with established businesses that need to get past a blockage or otherwise overcome a hurdle to business growth.
Don’t yet know what your ideal client looks like? Have a look through your past successes and just keep whittling them down until you can pick your target out in a crowd as easily as you can pick out Wally.