Defining the Ideal Client: The Foundation to a Successful Business

In any business, it’s essential that you know who your ideal client is. Having a practice that is for everyone will come along with a lot of hurdles such as identifying a marketing strategy, extra work trying to become an expert on too many topics, and not resonating with the right people. The truth of the matter is that if you don’t know which clients you want to help the most, your practice won’t thrive and won’t be scalable.

Knowing the answer to the question “Who is my ideal client?” will help you on multiple fronts. As mentioned, a clear marketing strategy, brand identity and voice that makes the most sense for your practice can’t be underestimated. If you don’t know who you’re marketing yourself to, it will be hard for those potential perfect clients to connect to your brand – it won’t matter if you’re using tried and true techniques that the best in the business swear by. To successfully market your brand – and in turn your practice – understanding your clients is of paramount importance and will be the cornerstone of everything you build. 

We’ve laid out four actionable steps to help you get clear on your ideal clients. Keep in mind that there is never a bad time to do this. Whether you’re just starting to build your nutrition business or you’re already running an established practice and need a refresh, use this opportunity to check-in and make sure you’re being consistent.  

#1 Create a Buyer Persona

Who is your ideal client? You might think you know, but do you really and how well? A simple way to start answering that question is to create a buyer persona. What is that, you ask? 

A typical buyer persona should describe your ideal customers or clients in as much detail as possible. Take 5-10 minutes and write down your answers for the following points that you’ll need to know about your ideal client. I

  • Customer demographics (age, gender, marital status, occupation, annual income, etc.)
  • Health concerns
  • Behavior patterns (likes, dislikes, hobbies, spending habits, etc.)
  • Motivations
  • Stressors
  • Goals

The details are absolutely key to getting this right. You’ll want to find out as much about who your ideal clients are as possible so that when you create your marketing strategy, write a blog post, speak to clients, you’re always speaking to this one ideal client. For the people who are your ideal clients, they’re going to feel like they hit the jackpot and that you really understand them and that only you can help them. 

Once you’ve got your answers to the points above, there are some additional questions you can ask yourself about your ideal client.

  • Where does your ideal client like to vacation?
  • Where do they tend to hang out or socialize?
  • What type of cars do they drive? or do they take public transportation?
  • What kind of lifestyle do they live?
  • How they like to communicate?

Truly, no detail is too small. 

However personal this information may seem, it’s important not to overlook details such as your ideal client’s professions or their income level. Are you looking to help single, working mothers get access to nutritional counseling at an affordable rate? Or are you hoping to offer in-home chiropractic services to corporate lawyers living in more affluent neighborhoods with disposable incomes? Both of these demographics are valid, but do your buyer personas line up with them? Is there a gap between your ideal clients and the clients you’re actually serving? Creating these buyer personas will help you determine if your services will appeal to a specific demographic and figure out if your services are affordable or accessible to them.

Remember: No detail is too small and every little bit of information helps. So how do you get this kind of information? What steps do you need to follow to unlock the secret to your ideal customer? It’s a lot easier than it seems. 

#2 Interview Prospective Clients and Survey Existing Clients

What do you do if you need to know the answer to something? You ask a question or you look for information online. It need not be any different for your business! If you have something you want to find out – just ask. 

Based on what you’ve been able to define thus far about your ideal client, find as many people that fit that description as possible and informally interview them. Without asking the questions you want to know the answers to, you’ll be stuck at step one.

There are many different ways you can go about this, and they’re all very simple, but they do require you to put yourself out there. Here are two simple strategies to use to get information about your ideal client. 

Invite them for a coffee. It can be as easy as offering to buy a coffee for a current client who you consider an ideal in exchange for chatting about your business and their wants and needs. Put yourself in the client’s position here: you provide them with a valuable service and you want to ask them a few simple questions that will help you to improve said service. Not only are you showing this client that you value their opinions, but you’re gathering valuable information that will make you a better practitioner for them.

Survey your email list. Not a coffee person? Alternatively, you can skip the one-on-one meetings and create a simple email survey to facilitate the information gathering process. Just keep in mind that it can be harder to extract the right information and emotions in an online survey than in a one-on-one conversation. Pick five of your favorite clients who fit your ideal and send them a short survey. Worried they won’t fill it out? You can even incentivize the process by offering a free session or discount in exchange for their participation. 

Make it a win-win.

#3 Pay Attention to Your Ideal Clients on Social Media

While interviews and surveys can be integral to getting to know your ideal customers personally, never underestimate the value of social media and observation. First, it’s important to recognize that social media isn’t right for every practice or ideal client, but if your ideal clients – both current and prospective – are active online, then it stands to reason that you should at least dip your toes into this digital pond. Learn how to navigate the major platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and then start exploring. Basic social media literacy can set you apart from everyone else in your field – becoming an expert can take your practice to the next level.

Find your audience. Log into Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and search different hashtags, pages, and even profiles that you feel are relevant to your practice, your specific audience, or ideal client, and just observe. What do people using these hashtags tend to engage with? What content do they gravitate towards? What other types of accounts or pages are they following? What needs do they have and are they being met? If not, how can you meet them? You’re getting your feet wet with this information. 

Observe and take notes. Find the pages, groups, or networks where your ideal clients socialize online and pay attention to how they speak and interact with each other. By studying your ideal demographic on various social media platforms, you can learn invaluable information about what they’re looking for and how they feel about your brand or brands like yours. This can mean observing their complaints on similar brand pages, reading their praise of certain practices and their brands, and really trying to just understand what they want. Ignore the “social” part for now. For this part do less engaging and more observing and listening. 

#4 Engage and Observe

This next step still includes some observation, but this time you’re first going to attempt to engage your ideal clients. From blog posts and video content to infographics and pictures, customers everywhere are engaging with a wide variety of content consistently throughout the day, usually on social media and websites. First, ask yourself what kind of content you want to create for your brand? Find something you like? A specific blog topic or video post that’s done well for a competitor or a brand you admire? Test it out on your own channels to see what kind of content your ideal customers will engage with. If no one engages, don’t sweat it. You’ve learned something: perhaps that type of content isn’t for your ideal audience? Try again. Try something different. Iteration is the name of the game in social media.

Not engaging with potential clients online? This can also be done when engaging with potential clients in person. Try out different workshop topics, different advertisements, or different talking points when networking.

At the end of the day, succeeding in your practice depends heavily on knowing your ideal client in-depth and infusing relatable information into everything you do. Once you know who you’re working for, then the real work can start. 

Practice Better is the complete practice management platform for nutritionists, dietitians and wellness professionals. Sign up for free today.

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