Ideal Client

The Truth about your Ideal Client – Why you need an ICA

I’m sure you have all heard how important it is to identify your ideal clients. You may have heard this group referred to by many different monikers: ICA (ideal client avatar), ideal client profile, target market, target demographic, primary audience, niche audience, and the list goes on. Regardless of what you call it, the truth is it IS critical to identify this group of people. More specifically, you need to identify a representative of the people in this group. Why and how? Keep reading…

Why do you have to know this information? You need to know who your services and/or products are for so you know who you are branding and marketing for. You can imagine a brand for an audience of high schoolers might look and feel different than an audience of thirty-something new parents. Your marketing to those two groups would sound and look different, wouldn’t it? Building trust is an important part of marketing, and building trust requires showing you understand someone and what their needs and challenges are. They need to feel like you get them, you speak their language, and you can help them.

Another reason why you need to clearly understand your ICA is so you know where to reach them. Before you can communicate with them and show them you understand them, you have to know where they spend their time. Knowing what they read, what they watch, what they listen to, and which social media channels they participate in, tells you where you need to advertise, market, and participate yourself. It’s like getting your ladder safely set up to paint and realizing you’re against the wrong wall, you have to first know where your audience hangs out before you can communicate with them. The prep work is worth the time it takes.

How do you clearly identify your ICA? The most important thing to remember is to get granular, or specific. Look at the following definitions and think about how your marketing can improve when you have more information. Let’s take those high schoolers previously mentioned and use them as an example.

High School Students
High School Students interested in music
High School Students in Marching Band vs. High School Students in Dance Club vs. High School Students in a weekend heavy metal band
High School Juniors or Seniors looking for colleges with particular music programs

Another example is small business. Going from the broad term to more qualifiers helps you talk directly to the right people, thereby increasing the likelihood of resonating with your message.
Small businesses
Small business owners
Small business owners in the construction industry
Small business owners in the roofing industry
Small roofing companies with brick and mortar businesses vs. virtual vendors who travel based upon hail damage locations

The more details you know about your ICA, the more you can show you have products or services designed JUST FOR THEM. In each of the examples above, if you knew an individual that fit that description, imagine how much more you could relate to them. If your small business owner is 65 year old Joe who has had a physical location for his family roofing company in downtown Wichita, Kansas, for 40+ years and has a strong reputation for doing whatever it takes to make his customers happy, you start to understand him. He believes in traditional marketing, he has a staff of loyal employees, he is proud of his reputation and history and wants to be seen as approachable. Marketing to Joe might mean you meet him in person, clearly lay out options and prices and form a relationship with him before entering into a business deal.

However, if your small business owner is 40 year old Chris who has a roofing company with no physical location but a large staff of door to door salespeople, you understand Chris is different than Joe. Chris values her strong reputation as a company who can quickly and efficiently move through a neighborhood and get the jobs done with a minimum of customer interaction. She knows people are busy and knows dealing with a new roof is not their preferred activity. She can offer great pricing because she doesn’t have a bricks and mortar business, and she knows her customers don’t care about forming a relationship with her, they just care about getting a great product at a great price and moving on with their life. Chris values efficiency and loves using the internet for her business and her personal life. Chris and Joe may need to be marketed to differently in order to be effective.

Remember the old saying, when you’re talking to everyone, you’re talking to no one? It’s true. The more your message gets watered down so it applies to everyone, the more blah and generic it becomes. And who wants blah and generic when they can find someone who caters to exactly who they and what they want?

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