[New formula]: How to connect with your Ideal Client on a deeper level.
When it comes to deciding who their ‘ideal client’ is, most business owners focus on age, sex, location, income, marital status, and other basic attributes that tell us very little about who someone really is or what we care about. We call these attributes ‘demographics’.
Back in the day, that demographic style of targeting used to work, because not many brands had the ability to advertise on TV or in print, and so when people did see it, there was an immediate sense of trust. A feeling of: “it must be good if it’s on TV!” Admittedly, there are certain people who still believe this (hello, Boomers!), but this group is slowly getting smaller.
Back when advertising first began in the 1940s, it only appeared on TV and in newspapers, and the ‘average Joe’ hadn’t quite figured out the concept of marketing yet... at the time, it wasn’t available to everybody. People trusted what they saw on TV or in print, and it gave a brand immediate credibility. Because everything people were seeing in advertisements had never been on the market before, they actually went out to the store and bought it.
While this kind of ‘landgrab’ targeting worked for a while, over the decades every market you could think of became more saturated and as ads became more accessible, more brands were shouting to be heard by the same people. As more ‘clutter’ hit the advertising space, consumer interest in advertising has proportionately declined. Fast-forward to 2019, and the chances of advertising successfully online with this type of strategy is next to nothing.
The key to speaking to people effectively online is in narrowing the segment you’re talking to. People often get very wound up thinking about ‘picking a niche’ or narrowing their audience, but it’s crucial to being heard. The truth is, you don’t ‘pick a niche’, you create one. And you create one by having a specific solution to a specific problem, and knowing exactly who needs it.
Because of the poor efficacy of traditional marketing methods, smart marketers and business owners have moved towards solution selling. We don’t just sell ‘stuff’ to people that they don’t need; we sell solutions to their problems. And in order to know what your customers’ problems are, you need to get to know them a little better.
Today, effective customer segmentation hinges a lot less on demographics and more on ‘psychographics’ - or, the types of people we are trying to attract. We ask ourselves deeper and more meaningful questions, like: ‘what are they interested in?’ ‘What are they passionate about?’ ‘What are their pet peeves?’
Most importantly - ‘what problems are they facing?’
Godfather of marketing, Seth Godin, says in his book ‘Purple Cow’, that people aren’t looking for things to buy anymore. They already went out and bought it all. There’s so many choices (online and offline) that people have almost endless options. Today, people don’t just choose the brands who have the biggest marketing budget, or because they saw them on TV; they choose brands that they align with on a personal level. Brands that have sought them out and ‘spoke’ to them - literally and metaphorically.
Despite the fact that people aren’t actively seeking out things to buy anymore, there is something they will still happily spend money on - solutions to their most troublesome problems. People will pay a lot of money to solve the problems that keep them up at night. (And designer gear - there are certain people who will always go out of their way to buy designer gear).
So, how do you get to know your ideal client a little better? Here are our 3 golden questions to ask when you’re trying to figure out what solution you should be selling, and to whom:
1. “What problems am I best placed to solve?”
There are certain problems that you are best placed to solve, and certain problems you are not. Think about when you feel like you’re the best man or woman for the job, so to speak. This may be due to your experience or education, or it may be simply because you genuinely care more than the other guys do. Perhaps you’ve worked with hundreds of businesses in solving a particular problem, and so feel you’ve built an ‘entitlement’ in that space.
2. “What problems do I most like solving for people?”
A lot of business owners tend to think that this is a fairly unimportant question. But we would strongly disagree. Having a passion for what you do absolutely impacts how you do it, the service you provide, and ultimately, how far you’ll be able to take it (appetite and tolerance for hard work are key). To put it simply, you’re better off liking what you do than finding it a total drag!
3. “What types of people face these problems?”
Write a list of all the ‘types’ of people that face these problems, and if these people also have the financial means and the willingness to solve them. This part is important because we want to make sure that we’re targeting people who are actually prepared to invest in solving their problems.
When it comes to understanding and ‘categorising’ your customer or ‘ideal client avatar’, think of their persona being split into 3 ‘levels’. We call this the 3 Levels of Segmentation. Level 1 is surface level information that speaks to the demographics of your ideal client - age, sex, location and so on. Level 2 gives us a little more insight - personality and character traits. Level 3 gives us context around levels 1 and 2.
Here is an example of 3-Level Segmentation in action:
Level 1 segmentation: ‘29, female, unmarried, no kids, living in Perth, Western Australia.’
Can we dig a little deeper here? Let’s look at level 2.
Level 2 segmentation: ‘A-Type personality, tertiary educated, highly ambitious, aspiring small business owner with an entrepreneurial spirit, making over 100K per year.’
Now, let’s say we broke this down some more and gave some specific context to that segment - enter Level 3.
Level 3 segmentation: ‘Built up a career that lasted over many years and has enjoyed a good degree of success, but is now feeling unsatisfied and ready to go out on their own and build their own empire, rather than work for someone else.’
Do you see how much more enlightening this type of customer segmentation can be than simple demographics?
Understanding your ideal client’s 3 levels of segmentation helps you connect with your audience, and helps people feel like you ‘get’ them. It helps you understand who they are and what they want, and is one of the fastest ways to develop that all-important ‘know, like & trust’ factor that’s so crucial to making a sale.
Start implementing 3 Level Segmentation in your business and watch how much easier it is to develop a relationship with your customers much faster, built on genuine connection and understanding.