Without bottomless budgets and decades in the business, understanding your customer base can feel a lot like guesswork. You draw up buyer profiles and present them to your team, but deep down, you’re wondering if you’re even close to who your customers actually are.
But even without huge resources on your side, there are ways to pinpoint your audience with confidence and channel all your efforts in the right direction.
There are two sides to the mission of how to identify your ideal client, and we’ll cover them both in this article. First, you need to do a bit of self-analysis: what exactly are you offering and who do you want to deal with? Secondly, you’ll need to paint a data-driven picture of who those people are, where you can find them, and how you can nudge them toward a sale.
And with that, we’ll delve into the 8 basic ways to identify your ideal client.
Before worrying about how to identify your ideal client, you need to first get an understanding of what exactly you’re offering. A deep, honest analysis will give you a clear picture of the problems you’re aiming to solve, the aspects that set you apart from your competitors, and any weak points in your pitch.
With all of the information about your service noted down, you can then turn your attention to the kind of people who would naturally be attracted to it. Your self analysis will be the basis of your marketing and sales efforts, so it's important to know exactly what issue you will solve for them.
As an example, most of your clients won’t buy your computers because of the intrinsic value of the internal processor. They want a product that allows them to complete a wide range of complex tasks quickly without fear of their machine crashing and losing their work.
Use this reflection to inform an elevator pitch — your 30-second speech that hooks potential clients by addressing their pain points and providing a solution. This will also help you create taglines, web copy, and branding, all with the aim of drawing your ideal client out of the shadows and into the open.
In the same way as your clients want your products or services to help them achieve their business goals, part of identifying your ideal client is seeing them in the context of your company’s KPIs. The most obvious area to look at here is how much they contribute to your bottom line. Those big buyers can be the ones who really get your name out there.
As you grow from a small business to a more expansive enterprise, your goals will change — and this could mean you need to shift the goalposts for how to identify your ideal client. Perhaps you want to reduce the amount of low-hanging fruit you sell and concentrate on products with the biggest profit margins. Alternatively, you could be looking for more consistent customers to secure your revenue into the future.
However, if you’re a seasonal service, such as a hotel, you can’t realistically expect year-round customers. Instead, you’ll want to build relationships with loyal customers who like to do the same thing every winter break, for example. In cases like these, it’s worth asking yourself: “if I want loyalty from my customers, how am I going to achieve it?” These areas of self-analysis can go beyond helping you identify your ideal client, and instead contribute to creating them.
If you’re smart, you can take a great deal of guesswork out of discovering your ideal customers by sifting through those you’ve already got on record. If you’re even smarter, you’ll have saved all their details on a searchable CRM, making it super easy to cross reference your database to highlight the traits of your top clients.
Filter your customers by age, sex, region, or location and pull out reports for extra clarity. By joining the dots on your CRM, you can gradually start to paint a picture of your buyer persona. However, the elephant in the room is clearly the revenue they bring in. Your business needs to hit its KPIs, and the customers who have paid the largest sums are likely to be in your good books. This too is easily accessible through your CRM records, but be thorough in your approach. One-time customers are far from ideal, so weigh up the amount paid versus the frequency of purchases.
Identifying your ideal client isn’t only about finding those that bring in the most revenue. Every company has high-paying customers that are a pain to work with, and if you multiply these profiles, you’re inviting stress and difficulty into the heart of your business.
But just because you have clients already, it doesn’t mean you have learned how to identify your ideal client. There could be untapped wells out there: clients with deeper pockets or more frequent users of your service.
You can reach out to your current customers to put even more context on the data taken from your CRM. One of the most important questions to answer when considering how to identify your ideal client is why they chose your product or services.
There are a plethora of angles you can attack this question from. A simple opening question on a feedback form could be “why did you choose our product?”. However, you can take a deeper dive by asking “what business issue did you need to resolve?” or “why did you choose us over our competitors?” This helps to narrow down the finer details of your customers’ motivations, which will inform your marketing efforts and sales pitches going forward.
All of this data lays the foundation for a more considered analysis of how to identify your ideal client. When taken in conjunction with the raw data from your CRM, you can add color to what is really causing your best clients to come to you and get to work optimizing in those areas.
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Going one step further, it’s a great idea to delve into what life was like before your current clients’ initial decision to contract your service. These insights will help you start acting further upstream and snap up vital clients long before they have even appeared on your competitors’ radars.
Ask your current clients to describe their frame of mind and their business circumstances before they turned to you for help. This will reveal key indicators to look out for as you canvass for new leads. Perhaps these leads aren’t ready to commit just yet, but you can make a new space for these future customers in your sales workflow.
You should also find out where to find these customers at the earliest stage. Many small businesses attend specific industry events, maybe the less expensive ones, to mingle with potential clients and collaborators and to do a bit of market research. Take yourself there and add some history to your buyer persona: When do they start considering your services or products, and what stage of their business journey is the best time for you to launch your pitch?
Looking at pain points should be top of your list considering how to identify your ideal client, but you should also determine what future success looks like for them. These two elements work in tandem and give you a more in-depth understanding of why customers come your way.
You don’t need to rely on your current clients for this information — whenever a lead expresses an issue, their picture of success should be at the forefront of your mind. Not only will this inspire what you focus your discussion on, but also the way you say it. It is highly likely that your ideal client uses the same terms as any other customer, so speak to them in their language during sales pitches, in ads, and through content marketing.
With a clear understanding of what success looks like and how you can help people or companies achieve it, you can begin to rank your leads. Your ideal clients will be those straightforward cases where you know you can guarantee customer success.
Whether you get the information through your customer feedback forms or by simple web and social media searches, learning how to identify your ideal clients relies heavily on finding them in their natural habitat.
Online groups are a fountain of knowledge and insights into how your clients think. They can also help you identify your ideal clients in areas you haven’t yet explored. To branch out into them, take to social media and start searching. Before you know it, you’ll have uncovered a network of different niche groups where you can share your articles and get your name out there.
If you’ve got a bit of extra cash in your marketing budget, you can plan targeted Facebook and Instagram ads from your CRM. Once you’ve worked out how to identify your ideal client, you can take your buyer persona and channel your resources towards them. Pinpoint a wide range of identifiers, such as age, sex, interests, and geographical location, and get creative with the ad you show them.
Furthermore, online groups can signpost you to offline get togethers where customers let their guard down, take off their business hat, and truly speak their mind. Whether it’s conferences or social meet ups, you can identify your clients face to face and take the time to understand their pain points.
As trends and customer bases change, so should your techniques for how to identify your ideal client. If you ever feel like you’ve already got the clients you need and there’s no reason to put any more effort into understanding them, you’re likely to have a nasty surprise in store for you.
With your competitors snapping at your heels and constant advances in industry, you need to keep optimizing your approach to head off any challengers. One easy, cost-effective way of doing this is to write authoritative articles related to your industry. Seeing how your followers react to these gives you a strong indication of the problems they face in their day-to-day lives. You can use these insights to tweak what you offer and update your buyer personas to stay ahead of the game.
Social media posts are a quicker way of doing the same thing. You get immediate feedback through likes and shares, with a comment list to look for clues. Take things even further by running A/B testing on your social media posts and ads to see what really chimes with them.
With these eight basic ways for how to identify your ideal client, you can reach out to the market in a precise, methodical way and focus your time and resources on achieving a high return on investment.
However, the detail involved in taking a data-driven approach is far too much for any human brain. That’s why, with Bitrix24, you get a powerful CRM that stores all the data you need on leads and customers, as well as every interaction, to analyze your clients the professional way.
But it’s much more than that. With a full suite of communications tools including social media and automated email marketing, you can launch all your marketing and sales efforts from one easy-to-use, easy-to-scale platform.
So you need to be able to identify your ideal clients in an instant, sign up to Bitrix24 today for free.