You know who they are… those DREAM people who need your expertise, keenly know your value, and just “get it.”
Your ideal customers.
Your soulmate clients. (Longing sighhhhhhh…)
Whatever you call them, within this article you’ll find a simple, three-step framework for attracting more of them. 🎉
Follow these steps, and you’ll have kindred business spirits – wallets out – lining up to buy from you!
(Note: This article pre-supposes that you already have a preeeetttty good idea of who those ideal customers are – and now you’re looking for strategies to attract more of them! If you’re still figuring out who those dream customers are, this article offers a framework for that. You’re welcome!)
🎥 If you learn best by viewing, click the video below. Or, for the full account, keep on reading!
We interrupt this brand strategy article to bring you a story from a U.S. military post in Italy…
It was 2017. We were living abroad, “on the economy” in Naples Italy. (My husband was in the military, and we were in Naples for a few years. We had elected to live off the military post (a post is kind of like a base), in an effort to expose ourselves – and our kids – to the real culture of the region.
(Okay, we just wanted to be closer to our fave pizza places. 😉 No, I jest. Sort of.)
Anyway, I’ve always been pretty good at making friends. And, I’ve used this skill often as an adult. Being a military family, we’ve had the pleasure – and the adventure – of living in all sorts of interesting places. So, it’s been important to make connections.
So when we were living in Naples, I distinctly remember this one day – and this one conversation…
Some moms about my age were watching their kids on a playground on the military post. What I overheard them say made this clear to me: While they seemed like nice ladies… they were NOT my people. We weren’t going to be close friends. 👈🏻
Why? What did they say? Well… nothing dramatic, really.
One mom was saying she was so thankful her family lived on the military post. She loved that she never had to leave, because she hated driving in Naples, and wasn’t comfortable speaking Italian.
The other mom agreed. She said, “I know some families that live on the economy. But I don’t care how good the view of the Mediterranean is! My boys and I are happy right here.”
I will always remember this seemingly-normal convo, because it was in such sharp contrast to our values. Hubby and I wanted to be fully immersed into the Italian culture. We wanted to travel as much as possible. We wanted to be put outside of our comfort zones as much as possible. And we wanted that for our kids, too.
So, these women were pleasant enough. But I knew we wouldn’t be friends. We didn’t have similar values.
And, here’s the thing: Attracting ideal clients isn’t really all that different from making friends. (Trust me! I have ooodles of experience with both! 🤣)
Which brings me to Step 1 of 3…
Step #1 – Show up where your ideal clients are.
Imagine you’ve moved to a new town and you’d like to make new friends (as an adult). Would you just stand outside of the town hall, wait for somebody to walk by, and strike up a conversation? I mean, I suppose you could… but it might not be the best method.
Why? Because the folks who walk by might not be super aligned with who you are or what characteristics or interests you’d love to find in a friend. So, you have to be more intentional about it, right?
Maybe if you’re really into fitness, you could go to the CrossFit box or to an exercise class to meet friends. If you’re the brainy type, you might join a book club or head to the library. You get my drift!
But, to choose those places, you do have to have a good sense of your own identity, right? You have to know what you stand for, what you like, and what you value.
Similarly, in your brand, you don’t want to just show up to any random place and start marketing your services or products. You first have to make (at minimum) some initial judgments or assumptions about who you want to work with, and find out where they spend time.
So, step one is to get clear on that, and then show up where your ideal clients are.
For entrepreneurs, this could mean Facebook groups, online summits, or industry conferences. You could advertise in the magazines they’re reading, guest post for the blogs they are reading, or appear as a guest of the podcasts they listen to.
If you are a crafter / maker, you’ll likely want to show up on Etsy, or set up a booth at a craft fair, to connect with people who love, value, and buy handmade creations.
Start by making educated guesses about where your people hang out. Then over time – though social listening, surveys, or just asking around! 😉 – you can gather more concrete data. Then, you can make actual data-driven decisions about where your ideal clients are paying attention.
But – and this is key! – at each stage, show up! Show up, show up, show up! Don’t wait ‘til you are 100 percent sure… Show up! 😉
By the way… back in Naples, we spent time learning Italian at playgrounds in the city, in cafes, and at smaller museums where locals go. And, yes… we made some amazing friends who we cherish. (And whom we now miss like crazy!)
Next up… Step 2.
📌 Pin this article for reference! 📌
Step #2 – Share your values.
Now that you’re showing up where your ideal clients hang out, it’s time to unabashedly and frequently show your values!
Whether you’re sharing your opinions about the various options / qualities of metals with your jewelry-making students… or sharing your views on the role automation should play in online marketing – it’s important to KNOW where you stand and VOICE it.
Don’t shy away in an attempt to please everyone. Be bold. Be polarizing, even. And don’t apologize for it. Ground yourself in your beliefs and build stronger ties to those who share your beliefs – rather than trying to appeal to everyone. Some people will see / read / hear your messages and think, “Okay, he’s not for me.” But others will stop in their tracks, nod their heads vigorously in agreement, and click that CTA button in a flash. Because they feel like you alone can solve their problem. ⬅️ And THAT is exactly what we’re going for here.
If you need some guidance with identifying and articulating your opinions, here’s an exercise that I assign to (literally all!) my students and clients. It’s called the “I Believe” exercise, and it’s powerful.
The “I Believe” Exercise
Grab a piece of paper, and write out numbers 1 through 25 down the left side. On each line, write a sentence that starts with “I believe…”
Include statements about your industry, about success, about work-life balance, about family and friends… anything that you have an emotional reaction to. If you feel that emotional tug, that’s a good indication that that subject should show up in your “I believe” statement exercise.
Start with 25, but feel free to continue on to generate even more. (It gets addictive!) Then, you can go back and pass those statements through the filter of my suggestions above to hone in on the strongest opinions for your messages. (Is it bold? Is it potentially-polarizing? Will some people agree, and others disagree? Ding! Ding! Ding! Lean in to those!)
Back in Naples, I played the scenario out in my mind. What if I had approached those moms to chat?
What if I had invited their families to the market near our home? The one where no one speaks English and they sell the most divine buffalo mozzarella I’ve ever tasted?
What if I told them that I my daughter skinned her knee and we brought her to the local pharmacy for treatment – not to the military doc?
What if I told them I’m bored to tears at the military post, and only visit when I must?
We all know the answer, Genius Reader! 🤓 Nothing! We would have politely parted ways and stayed acquaintances! 🤣🤣🤣
Step #3 – Demonstrate problem-solving ability.
Step number three is to show your ideal clients or customers that you are the best person to solve a problem they face.
(Admittedly, this is where the “friends” analogy and this branding lesson sort of diverge… but it was perfect for steps 1 and 2! 😉)
As a business, you exist to solve peoples’ problems – or to help them change or transform in some way.
So, you need to be clear about the value that you offer. At the same time that you’re sharing your values (and using them as a segmentation tool), you should also be sharing how and who you help.
Get specific here. Be very intentional and very vocal about *exactly* who you help and what the outcome(s) are that you help people achieve. And, be sure that you’re positioning those outcomes as solutions to problems people want to solve (ideally, desperately want to solve!)
For example, if you are a painter and you create commissioned pieces, you could just say “I sell paintings.” (Not super-compelling.) Even if you expand on that and say, “I create modern oil paintings and people can commission custom pieces…” you’re getting warmer, but still not solving a problem.
Instead, you could say, “My clients haven’t found the right piece for a certain wall or space in their professional office suites. The options they’ve seen seem cookie-cutter and similar to pieces from major retailers. They don’t like the idea of having something standard. But it’s so time-consuming looking for something that feels and looks just right. After a one-hour consultation with me, and an upfront investment, they can be assured that their search will be over. The piece I create for them will be perfect for the space, completely unique, and just the right representation of their values and preferred aesthetic.”
Now we’re talkin’, right? 😉
If crafting this type of message, doesn’t come easily to you, try this formula:
“I help _________________________ with ___________________, so that they can ________________________________________.”
Start with several variations of this “mad lib” style sentence to get your creative (problem-solving) juices flowing.
… Doing the research and drawing conclusions about where you ideal client is spending time (literally or online);
… Showing up consistently – wearing your opinions, values, and heart on your sleeve; and
… Developing messaging that revolves around problem-solving…
This is all is high-leverage work, so invest some time in it. (It’s so worthwhile! You can comment below and thank me when those droves of ideal clients start lining up!)
It’s my job (and honor) to make sure that you look and sound as epic as you are, so I do hope you found this three-step process to be helpful and actionable. Which leads me to a question…
Are you ready to put your strongest self forward and create a brand that’s based on your own personal truths, not trends? If you’d like to dive deeper and learn how to stand out in a crowded market, click here to sign up (for FREE, yo! 🤓) for my webinar: *How To Build A Crystal Clear Brand That Attracts Your Ideal Clients.*
➡️ (Yes! You read that right. It’s totally free!) ⬅️
In the training, we’ll throw out the old ideal client “avatars” and build a stronger brand with less work. You’ll learn to stand out and baffle your competitors by attracting clients willing to pay 2x or 3x more – and then rave about the experience.