5 Surprising Ideal Client Avatar Secrets Revealed
In 2015 I got really serious about online marketing. I took the social media skills I gained in previous years and added new skills like email marketing and SEO. Around this time, everyone talked about “niching down” and “getting really specific” about their ICA - Ideal Client/Customer Avatar.
These phrases could be found practically anywhere online business was discussed.
Out of all the steps in marketing online, nothing stressed me out more than the idea of zeroing in on one individual to speak to. Compared to the pressure to consistently come up with engaging content for social media, creating an ICA led by far.
Eventually, I had to makes friends with this part of doing business online.
In might not be as hyped today as it has been, but getting clear on this area of your business still has its place. It’s important because defining an ICA for your business can help focus your marketing efforts, refine the language used in all of your materials, and generally help chart the course of your brand.
Of course this can feel a little easier said than done.
Having very visceral memories of “niching down” myself, I wrote this post to offer some support and advice to those who may be facing some anxiety over selecting an individual your website will focus on.
Rather than give you a worksheet to soak up tears of frustration, I’m offering up the bits of advice I wish others had offered me.
5 Surprising Ideal Client Avatar Secrets Revealed
1.Discovering who your ideal client is a process.
For a few months in 2015 I watched webinars every week hosted by someone selling the perfect system. Since I was always left with questions and too many disconnects, I never bought any of the courses on branding.
I don’t regret this.
Discovering the ideal client is a process. It doesn’t happen overnight. In time, an ICA is refined. We might receive new information that grants us deeper insight into who it is that we are serving.
I learned the hard way that filling out a questionnaire about my ideal client was barely beginning to figuring out who my ideal client is. Giving her a name, creating her story, and attributing a set of behaviors based on common traits shared among the surveyed did not lead me to figuring out who my brand serves.
And I’m still learning this.
I’m still learning and discovering who my ideal client is. Even though I receive compliments from other business owners who tell me that I’m pretty dialed in to who my ICA is, I still feel as though my ideal client and I are still getting to know one another.
2. Your ICA may change, and that is 100% okay.
Up until a couple of months ago my ICA was a bohemian artists who lived in California. Her name is Oona. I drafted up a highly detailed, elaborate story on who Oona is, how she spends her time, who with, where she went to school, and even right down to where she studied.
It was easy to do since I knew Oona. I knew her very well.
Oona isn’t real but she is a summary of real women. She is based on women I have provided services for and worked with. She is someone I know socially, too. Creating her story wasn’t much of a longshot.
I hadn’t anticipated that Oona would begin to fade away and a new avatar would have a greater presence. If a business plan can and should be revised, then why not the ideal client avatar?
3. Your ICA isn’t always the best fit.
I had a prospective client who ticked all the boxes but ultimately was not a good fit. Since she resembled my ICA so well, I hadn’t thought twice about it. I didn’t have any red flags.
Shortly after, another prospective client appeared, and they weren’t anything like my ICA. I decided to give it a shot anyway because we seemed to get on well and I believed I could be the one to help them.
As it turns out, they were quite the dream client, and I was super grateful for the experience.
4. Examine instead of reject.
One of the jobs an ICA performs is attracting those that are right for your brand and rejecting those that are not.
When I worked with someone who was not the best fit, it felt disheartening. I couldn’t help but examine my branding and try to figure out just what it was about my messaging that might not be in alignment.
Then I looked at things from a different perspective and considered the client I took on immediately after. They seemed to connect with my approach and values. The boho vibe I had didn’t resonate so much with them as the expectations I set with my messaging. That’s what really struck a chord and prompted them to reach out.
Because of this, I said “yes!” instead of “no.”
5. Not everyone who fits your ICA is the ideal, dreamy client.
This one has been discussed a bit, and I feel it bears repeating. Not everyone who seems to fit your ICA, perfectly, will be the right match.
Considering this has happened to every service provider, professional, and everyone else who is in business, it’s probably safe to say that sometimes, things just happen. It is not necessarily a reflection on you, your brand, or your business.
If it continues to happen, then take a good hard look. If it once in a blue Moon, well, you’re probably just like the rest of us, and that is totally ok.