The PHOX Planner blog

Defining Your Ideal Client

Here’s our promise –  if you know your ideal client, EVERYTHING, and we mean everything — will become so much easier for you to build your business.

Once you’ve nailed your niche, you can start focusing on who will be your ideal clients in that niche.  

People love to work with a specialist, not a generalist who does a bit of everything.  Your clients can then see you as an expert in your field (for example weddings, newborns, business headshots) and trust they are getting the  best photographer for their needs, which in turn means you can charge a premium fee for your services.  It’s also a great way of getting referrals as your clients can recommend you as the ‘go-to photographer for x’ because they know exactly what it is you do!  If you are struggling to get clients booked, it may be because you aren’t clear on your niche or specialism, which also means you are not focused on attracting a specific ideal client.

To help you in your journey of discovering your Ideal Client, here’s one truth that will help immensely…

“When you try to attract everyone, you’ll end up attracting no one.”

There are so many voices in the online space competing for everyone’s attention; and without a laser focus on your messaging, you’re likely to get lost in the sea of noise. However, when you craft your message with details and specifics that resonate with your Ideal Client, it’s much easier to gain their attention — even in a busy market. Plus, when you know your Ideal Client, you know how to speak their language. You know the words and emotions that will resonate with them most. This is where trust begins.  

You need to get specific. Like REALLY specific. You need to have a very clear understanding of who your ideal client and community is so that you know who you are selling to. It will help you when tailoring your social media posts, as you will know who you are talking to. It will help with your branding, it will help you when you are out meeting people, as you will know who you want to find. It will also help you to tell people who you are looking for, so they know exactly who to recommend you to. 

There are some fundamentals that you will need to explore, and this might take a little thought, but it’s worth investing the time to research at this point. Look at your client market and think WHO exactly you want to appeal to, who you want to serve. 

What is your ideal client’s gender, their job, their age, where do they shop. Getting down and dirty with information will really help you gain that clarity you need. Even give them a name, because after all, you may end up having more than one ideal customer, depending on your service! So you need to know who you are talking to!  For example if you think about who is your most perfect client, let’s call her Annie – knowing exactly who Annie is and what she is about, will enable you to focus on finding more ‘Annies’ for your business.   

Looking further at their needs, desires and frustrations help you understand what is important to this person, what lights them up, what you have in common with them and you can use this in how you approach and plan every part of your customer’s journey with you.

Let’s look at their Needs – define their lifestyle, desires & pain points

Lifestyle –  What activities might they do? How do they spend their leisure time?  How important is their home/ family etc? What brands might they already identify with?

Pain points – think of 5 frustrations your IC has in relation to your business  – what they might want but do not yet have, what problem or thing are they missing or craving that you can solve, what results are they looking for?

Desires – think of 5 things they may desire in relation to your business  – what might they dream about owning, the goals they want to reach, and what they value most.  Know how you can help gand what you will give them to meet these desires.

Objections – what might be your client’s objections be right now for not booking your service – are there things about you and/ or your experience you can use to connect with your client and help overcome these concerns.

With your ideal client, or client community, defined at this deep level, everything you do within your business is focused on your Ideal Client Market – marketing, pre-sale, the shoot itself, post shoot etc.

If you create an actual persona like ‘Annie’ as you work through this exercise, it makes it much easier to be specific and feels more real. 

You can absolutely learn from other photographers by looking at who they serve and that they offer, but always aim to be authentic – do not mimic exactly but create your own unique offer. And just keep thinking about who you really want to work with too!

There are a million clients out there for you, but you don’t want ANYONE, you want to work with people you like and enjoy to be around. People you can serve well. These people will be the core of your business but it’s not to say you don’t work for other clients too on occasion, but these are your IDEAL clients, the ones you would choose for your business.  There are times when running a business means you have to be realistic and focus on the short term and your finances.  Maybe you are offered a piece of lucrative work which is not your ideal client, but it is something you have skills and competence to take on.  That is ok to do, but this work is not something you would promote or highlight in your marketing and to other clients.  

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