How To Identify Your Ideal Client

In order to effectively market your business, you need to understand who your ideal client is. If you don’t have an ideal client in mind, your marketing strategies can become too generalized and will produce much less successful results.

We’ve previously covered what an ideal client is, and why it’s important, but let’s refresh. 

An ideal client is a specific profile of the type of client to that you can provide the highest value to. This specific group is also most likely to be predisposed to buy from you. Once you identify your ideal client, you will use the information to frame your marketing strategy toward them.

It's All About Client Research

To identify your ideal client, pull out a list of all your current and past clients. This is sometimes easier said than done, but try to get a list of clients that covers 50% or more of the time you’ve been in business. For example, if you’ve been in business for 10 years, try to get a client list from at least the past 5 years. Obviously, the entire 10 years would be ideal, but that’s not always possible. 

Now that you have your client list, look at specific characteristics in reference to their client profile. Ask yourself these questions:

  • How much money did they spend?
  • Did they make multiple purchases?
  • Did they refer you to other people?
  • Were they pleasant to work with?

As you work your way through your client list, you’ll start to see patterns forming. 

Here’s an example:

Jon owns a custom print shop, sign, and wrap business. He wants to create a marketing campaign to kick off 2023 on a strong note. He wants to collect more clients that will become “regulars”, so he needs to figure out what type of client is most likely to come pack to him frequently to purchase more products. 

Jon pulls reports on his past clients, and starts to take notes and find some patterns. He notices that the businesses who spend the most money have a few things in common:

  • Service-based businesses
    • A/C companies, roofers, plumbers, electricians, etc. 
    • These companies tend to have a lot of on-sight workers that need business cards, custom shirts, and vehicle graphics while driving to job sites. 
  • Businesses with at least 3 vehicles in their fleet
    • Multiple vehicles in a company fleet show the need for vehicle graphics, and custom products for the employees that will be driving those vehicles (business cards, sales folders, shirts, hats, etc.)
  • Companies that have been in business for at least 2 years
    • Companies that have been working for at least 2 years will most likely have the capital to purchase bigger ticket items like large signage, vehicle wraps, and bulk orders of custom apparel items.
  • Companies with 10 or more employees
    • These companies often require uniforms and custom items for their employees, which will need to be frequently purchased for replenishment. 

Jon found the companies with the characteristics listed above spent more money and came back more often than any other type of customer profile. 

Note: Jon is not going to simply ignore or turn away customers that don’t fit this profile. That would be foolish! He’s just not going to spend his marketing budget on companies that are not in this “sweet spot” for him.

What If You Just Started Your Business?

When many business owners are just getting started, they tend to have an idea of the clients they want. Unfortunately, there is no perfect way to nail down your ideal client before you really experience what it’s like for your business. 

Obviously, if you worked in a similar business before starting your own, you might have a good idea of the type of clients that fit your business best. For example, if one of Jon’s employees decides to go off on his own, he’ll already know the types of clients he should target. Still, the experience will tell the new business owner which type of client works best for his new company. 

So, if you’re starting a new business, use some of your prior experience in the professional world to get a vague idea of what you’re looking for. Then, as you work with more clients along the way, you’ll start to form your own perfect ideal client.