Hey fellow graphic, brand, and web designers! If you have been wondering how to clearly identify your ideal client that you’ve been dreaming of working with and validate that they are real, living, breathing, humans with the budget to afford you, then today’s blog post is exactly what you’ve been looking for!
Over the 10 years that I’ve been working with designers as a coach and educator, I’ve seen just how common it is to experience that kind of confusion around who your ideal clients are. You might have a clear idea of who you want to be working with in your mind, but when you put out the call to invite them to work with you, you’re not seeing the response. And one of the reasons why you might not be seeing those results is that you haven’t actually validated who your ideal clients are, and so your messaging is falling flat.
Today, we’re going to talk about how to effectively conduct ideal client research, how to identify who these incredible people are, and, as a result, you’ll be able to consistently connect with the people that you feel called to serve. So keep scrolling to read the full post.
How To Clearly Identify Your Ideal Client
Now, one of the most common mistakes that I see designers make around validating who their ideal clients are, is the work of figuring out who your ideal client is. Maybe you’ve built out an avatar. You’ve invested some time into clicking around on Instagram and identifying the kinds of people that you want to work with and you leave it at that. So what that means is you haven’t actually taken the time to validate who these amazing potential clients are. So you’ve done a lot of the heavy lifting, let’s get that clear, but now it’s a matter of taking it a step further and giving yourself the assurance and the data that the person you’re dreaming of serving actually exists. And on top of that, we want to make sure that that person has the budget that aligns with your services.
Identify Your Ideal Client Profile
If you are just getting started in building your design business, or maybe you’re pivoting to reach an entirely new client base, it’s important that we do a little foundational work to figure out who you want to serve. This is a crucial step because if we don’t understand who it is that you want to serve through the work that you do as a designer, your messaging may not resonate.
Think about it this way. If you’re crafting an Instagram post, a marketing email, or even if you’re just talking to a family friend about what it is that you do, if you don’t have a clear mastery and understanding of who your ideal clients are, there’s going to be a disconnect.
We want to make sure that when you’re beginning to lay this foundation, you have all the information you need to find the people for you.
This is a simple four part process:
1. Find your ideal clients.
2. Talk to them and actually connect with them
3. Review the data
4. Validate the data
It’s that easy? I know that this might sound incredibly simple, but it doesn’t actually need to be complicated if we pull things back to the basics.
This is an advantageous process for you because not only are you going to be able to understand that, yes, your ideal clients are out there and that they want the services you have to offer, but it’s going to help you think through value adds to your services that you might not have considered when you have all the data you need. You will be able to move forward with more clarity.
Find Your Ideal Clients
No matter how niche down you are, there is always someone out there who matches it. If we think about how many billions of people exist on the planet, there is someone out there who needs your work and who matches your ideal client profile. Now, we just need to find them.
We want to find the right people because we actually need to communicate with them. We need to connect with them. This could be through email, or through my favorite method, hopping on a zoom call. This could even be a survey. The important thing here is that we’re actually connecting with these people so that we’re validating all of the the estimations that, and honestly, a lot of the assumptions that we’ve made up until this point.
So where do you find these people? Get creative here, friend!. You can look for them in your own audience, in your friends and family lists, or by getting plugged into local Facebook groups. This is absolutely an easy thing to do because you have so many resources, local and digital to utilize to find these incredible people.
Talk To Your Ideal Clients
Connect with these people. Nothing can replace the quality of data that you will receive when you speak to a real life human. If we haven’t spoken to our ideal client to find out who they are, what their pain points are, and what they need from us as designers, it’s always gonna feel a little bit like throwing spaghetti at the wall and hoping that it’s sticks.
So at this point you already have a list of people that you want to connect with. Now, it’s a matter of inviting them to show up and have a conversation with you. I would encourage you to do the scary thing, for some of you! Put out a call to the people that fit your ideal client profile and ask them to connect with you on a 15 minute, no pitch zoom call. I would recommend getting on that zoom call and recording it.
Review Your Findings
Take those recordings that you have from those zoom calls and transcribe it. You can use any kind of transcription service, many are even low cost or free (yay!). This allows you to review the content again, and to look for any themes, key words, or messaging pieces that you have heard your ideal clients share over and over and over again.
Those themes are what we like to think of as gold. These are going to be themes that will help you identify the characteristics of your ideal client. Who they are, what pain points they have, what goals they have, what dreams they’re experiencing for their business, and what is standing in their way of achieving success and so much more.
We cannot replace or replicate this data without going straight to the source. Otherwise, we are never going to know exactly how your ideal clients might describe something. This is such a powerful step and actually something that I encourage all of the designers inside my signature program, the Brand Strategy School to do! It allows us to supercharge our current services, or any future services, with the exact language and verbiage that our ideal clients are using. And we have that information because we’ve gone straight to the source.
Validate Your Data
Once you’ve had a chance to look over all of your notes, it’s time to take it back to the basics. Go back to your original ideal client profile. Take a look at the services you’re offering and see if there’s any alignment. Is there an opportunity for you to change things? Is there an opportunity for you to just confirm that some of the assumptions or the hypotheses that you had were actually valid? This gives you a chance to reconcile or align the data that you’ve been gathering from these ideal client interviews, in the way that you’re actually building out your marketing, your content, and your services. This also gives you this incredible validation to show you that you’re on the right path to serving your clients and building a successful design business!
Once you have validated that data, and you’ve reconciled everything, it’s time to go out and test it. Being an entrepreneur, being a CEO, is about not knowing everything. You don’t have to know every next step and know exactly how it’s gonna play out. But, what you do need to do is, be willing to make a decision and take committed action to see it through. With this new data in hand, you are able to go out, try out updated messaging and marketing, or introduce a refined offer. You can then test and see how it’s received from your ideal clients. The good news is, if you’re building out your offers, knowing what your ideal clients are needing, because they’re the ones who told you in the first place, you have such a high probability of generating the sales that you’re dreaming of!
Friend, I hope that today’s blog post is giving you lots of ideas about how to identify your ideal client and how to easily conduct that research so that you can connect with them.
Clearly Identify And Connect With Your Ideal Clients
If you are dreaming about consistently connecting with your ideal clients and inviting them into a high value design experience, that includes brand strategy as your superpower, then consider this your invitation to learn more about the Brand Strategy School. This is my signature program for graphic, brand, and web designers that shows you how to generate consistent 10K months with ease using brand strategy as your superpower.
This is an incredible community that is designed to support you every step of the way so that you are able to connect with the people that need your work the most, reclaim your time, energy, and creativity, and have fun doing it.
PS. Curious to learn more about the method that I teach inside the Brand Strategy School that has taken my business from struggling to sought after? You can grab your free on demand seat to my training, where I share how to exponentially increase your income as a designer using brand strategy. In this free training, I share with you how I took my business from struggling to where it is today without taking on more clients than I can handle, without the burnout or without directionless hustle.