When I conceptualized the idea for this website, I needed to determine exactly who I wanted to reach, to whom I was writing, and how best I could help them. Without this detailed knowledge, I would have just been writing to “the world.” So, I refined who I wanted to reach by saying, I’ll write for small business owners.
Then, I realized that there are many people who identify as a small business owner. So, I tried to refine my approach even more by saying that I’ll write for small business owners who have fewer than 10 employees and less than $500,000 in annual revenue. This was better, but still not good enough.
How would I reach them?
How could I create a call out in my advertising, if I wanted to begin advertising to them?
It’s true that I could have easily said, “Are You a Small Business Owners with Fewer Than 10 Employees and Less than $500,000 in Annual Revenue,” but the segment still wouldn’t have been tightly defined.
Eventually, I settled on writing for small business owners who were not only business owners with fewer than 10 employees and less than $500,000 in annual revenue, but—Life Coaches. And not just anyone who calls themselves a life coach. I’m writing for life coaches who have actually taken the effort to become certified by the International Coaching Federation.
There is a saying in marketing.
If you’re trying to reach everyone, you’re going to end up talking to no one.
Creating your ideal customer profile is the foundation that must drive all of your marketing. Every client is not equal, so you shouldn’t try to reach every client. If you want to grow a successful life coaching business, you’ve got to know exactly who you’re try to reach and exactly how to reach them. This article will cover the who.
The Problems with Not Creating an Ideal Client Profile
Problem 1: Without an Ideal Client Profile, Targeting Becomes Difficult
The reason why I decided not to write for “small businesses” is because I realized there really are no such things. There are small automobile shops, small camera shops, and small marketing firms, and so on. But there really are no small businesses. It’s really a phantom term that attempts to categorize all owners under the same umbrella.
Although I could reach people who self-select as a small business owner, it’s much more effective to try to target an automobile garage shop owner, or in my case, a life coach who meets the criteria I set for her.
Problem 2: Without an Ideal Client Profile, Getting Clients Becomes Difficult
As a life coach, you’ll have to set yourself apart from everyone else in the industry, and the people you serve want to be confident that you can actually help them. People in one industry have different needs and stressors than someone in another industry.
If you try to reach an executive of a publicly-held accounting firm, for example, they are likely going to want to know how many other executives of publicly held firms you’ve helped. The stress that this executive deals with is likely way more stress than the executive of a privately held firm.
Once you specialize, you can begin building a wall of testimonies from people who identify with your ideal client.
Problem 3: Without an Ideal Client Profile, Marking Becomes More Timely
It’s already difficult to market to a tightly defined segment. You must spend time engaging, calling, and speaking to many different clients before you find someone who’s a good fit for your offer. When you’re trying to market to everyone, you exacerbate these efforts by increasing your time speaking to prospective clients who were never a good fit. Your time is best spent marketing only to those who you know meets your tightly defined ideal client profile.
Problem 4: Without an Ideal Client Profile, Marketing Becomes More Expensive
Time is one expense, but the expense of creating advertising and promotions is another. When you have to market to everyone just to find a few, you’ll have a lot money to stay in business.
When you create an ideal client profile and know exactly who you can best coach, and who exactly you want to work with, you can begin marketing specific messages to this person, in the exact media they consume, which makes attracting new clients significantly easier.
How to Create Your Ideal Client Profile for Your Life Coaching Business
1. Start with Brainstorming
When you create your ideal client profile, it’s important you ask yourself the right questions. You’re not asking yourself who you want to work with. At least not yet. It’s not about you at this point. You should be asking yourself who can best benefit from the service that you provide.
In order to do this, you’ll have to take some time to do some brainstorming. This allows you to create several segments of all your potential clients.
Start with the result or the outcome that your client will have after working with you, and then sit down and write as much as you can about the person who would best benefit from this result or outcome.
You’ll want to focus on the following categories:
- Is your ideal client male or female?
- How old is your ideal client?
- Is your ideal client married?
- Does your ideal client have children?
- Where does your ideal client live?
- What is your ideal client’s job title?
- How much does your ideal client earn?
- Is your ideal client self-employed?
- What is your ideal client’s highest level of education?
The more details you provide here, the more information you can use to find this person using demographic tools such as Facebook’s Audience Insights or targeting options in Google AdWords.
Challenges and Pain Points
- What is the greatest problem your ideal client wants solved?
- What is the greatest opportunity your ideal client wants to take advantage of?
- What are your ideal client’s fears?
- What are your ideal client’s challenges?
The answers to these questions will help you write your advertising and help you produce targeted content.
- Why would your ideal client not want to purchase from you?
There are only three reasons why someone wouldn’t want to purchase from you. 1) They don’t have the money. 2) They legitimately don’t want your service. Or, 3) they don’t believe your results will work for them. You have to be able to articulate exactly why they should believe that your service will work for them. Was it because if worked for similar clients? Do you have testimonials to prove it?
Sources of Information
- What books or magazines does your ideal client read?
- Which blogs, websites, or online forums does your ideal client frequent?
- Which Reddit or Facebook communities is your ideal client a part of?
- Which conferences does your ideal client attend?
- Where does your ideal client spend the bulk of their time outside of work?
- Which professional associations is your ideal client a part of?
These questions must be answered so you can know exactly how you’re going to reach your ideal client. It’s not enough to say, “they’re on Facebook.” They may be on Facebook, but are they active on Facebook? They may be on LinkedIn, but are they active on LinkedIn? Also, there are over 2 billion other people on Facebook. Do you want to have to sift through them all?
When you know which magazine your ideal client reads, conferences they attend, and associations they are a part of, you can usually reach them by advertising in the entities associated newsletter. You have to know exactly how to reach your ideal clients so you won’t waste money on every possible advertising platform.
2. Identify Your Maximum Opportunity
Before you go any further to determine if your ideal client is the person who you really want to work with, you must ask yourself a few more questions to determine if they’re a realistic fit. If it turns out they are not a good fit for your service, you’ll have to do some refining. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Does your ideal client really want your service? A client who you think may need your service still may not want your service. It’s much easier to spend your marketing efforts on the person who actually wants your service.
- Can your ideal client afford to pay for your service? Even though a client may want your service, they may not be able to pay for your service. At least not at your current price or their current income level. Will you have to compromise on the amount you charge? If so, will this allow you to maintain the standard of living you desire? Can you provide a product at a lower price point so you can still help them?
- Does your ideal client have the authority to pay for your service? If you work mainly with teenagers, they very likely won’t have the authority to make a purchase. This may be true with married clients as well. What objections will you have to overcome if the person you’re after doesn’t have the authority to pay for your service? Do you even want to try to overcome this objection?
- Can you still enjoy the standard of living you desire on just the income from your coaching business if you can only reach 5% of the total number of your ideal clients? If you’re after executives at Fortune 500 companies, for example, you may be in for a tough time. First, there aren’t many of them. Second, you’re not going to convert them all. You must make sure there will be enough of your potential clients to sustain your business.
- How easy is it to reach your ideal client? You’ll need your clients to be easily accessible, and you need to be able to affordably reach them in the media you choose. If they subscribe to trade journals, how much will you have to pay to advertise in them? Is this out of your range? If so, you may have to do further research to determine which other media choices you have.
- Is your ideal client geographically reachable? Because of the internet, this is usually not a problem these days. But, if you’re trying to reach a segment of the market that don’t have desktop computers, and you perform coaching calls online, will this affect the quality of your service? If your clients are local, do you have a home office that you’re comfortable bringing clients to? Will you have to rent an office at a local co-working place? All of these questions must be considered.
3. Perform a Final Check
When you’ve made it to this point, you’ll be well on your way to better market your life coaching services to the client whom you’re trying to reach. However, you must ask yourself one final question:
- Is this the client I really want to work with?
After all, if you’re going to continue your career in coaching, you’ll want to make sure this ideal client is the type of client you really want to serve. Remember, you may be spending up to the better half of each of your days with them.
It’s important that you craft your coaching business’s ideal client profile. It makes all of your marketing ONE HUNDRED times easier. You’ll know which type of blog posts, videos, or podcasts to deliver to them. You’ll know which media companies you’ll engage to reach them. You’ll know what type of offers they want. And you’ll know exactly how to draft copy that speaks directly to their pain points.
To get you started, I’ll share my ideal client’s profile here:
My ideal client is a life coach named Susan who has already paid for her life coach certification. This means that she is already invested in becoming a successful life coach and has already spent money in her industry. She is determined to succeed. She has already worked in a corporate setting and has earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.
She is in her mid-to-late forties, earns around $50,000 per year, married with grown children, and lives in the United States. Because of the reach of the internet, there are no geographical limitations for her, but she understands that market conditions can limit her number of paying prospects.
Susan is great at providing her coaching services, but she wants solid marketing advice to help her business grow and a marketing system in place to help her find, attract, and nurture relationships with more clients, whom she can continually provide more value. She wants to take advantage of technology and the power of the internet to book more coaching calls.
The best ways to reach Susan is to target life coach magazines, mailing lists, and websites that market to certified life coaches, like the International Coaching Federation. And the image that I must present is an authoritative marketing professional who can easily explain step-by-step approaches to marketing, and show her how to set up marketing systems for her business.
This is so important that I took the time to create a worksheet for you with the questions from this article to guide the creating of your ideal client profile. Grab it below. Once you’re finished, share your ideal client’s profile in the comment section below! I’d love to read it and provide feedback.
Download your ideal client profile sheets below