By Lilly Garcia, Founder and Creative Director of Wild Olive Branding Studio
The lights are off, the door is locked, and your things are packed. You’re wrapping up your work day and getting ready to head home.
You open your inbox one last time, and there it is. An email from an inquiring potential client that doesn’t feel like the right fit for you or your services.
You want to walk away, but you’re not sure how to say no. You’re even a little tempted to take them on because, let’s be real, you need the money.
But you know what it would be like to work with them. You know that working with this type of client isn’t best suited for your skillset or your passion as a practitioner.
It’s happened to you not just once, but several times before.
What if you could avoid this uncomfortable situation all together? Eliminate it once and for all? What if all your client inquiries were exactly the types of clients who make your heart sing with joy? That’s what a brand that speaks to your ideal clients does for you. It gets your message across in a way that resonates with the people who are the perfect match for you. It attracts and draws in the leads you’ve been dreaming of. And it repels the ones who give you nothing but headaches.
Building a brand that speaks to your ideal client is not difficult, but it does require some work up front. Follow these 4 steps to create a brand your ideal clients love:
Define your ideal client
It seems obvious, but you can’t create a brand that speaks to your ideal clients if you don’t know who your ideal clients are. You have to know specifically who you want to draw in and know them well.
I know it’s a little scary to get specific and narrow in on your ideal clients. But trying to make your brand appeal to everyone only hurts your business. Not only does it open the doors to a bunch of bad leads, you could end up building a bland brand that no one really cares about.
To define your ideal clients, start by outlining their basic information like gender, age, and location. Then, get specific about their personality. How do their closest friends describe them? What do they value above everything else? What do they daydream about? Worry about? How do they spend their time?
The next step is to do a little research. Social media is a great way to find real people who fit your ideal client profile. You can gain so much insight just by browsing some hashtags, pages, and profiles.
You can take this to the next level by asking some of your favorite past clients for an interview. Ask them some of the questions you used to define your ideal clients and see whether you’re on the right track. And don’t be afraid to ask about their experience with you. The great thing about talking to real people is getting their real feedback and opinions.
Audit your brand
Once you have a clear idea of who your ideal clients are, take a step back to look at the bigger picture. If you haven’t been intentional about how you’re building your brand, chances are not all your points of contact are communicating the right message to the right people.
Start by looking at the experience you’re giving your clients. What does your relationship with them look like? Are all your communications working to create the right impression? How do you want to make them feel and are you doing a good job at that?
Take note of the atmosphere you’re creating. Is your space a place your ideal clients love to spend time in? Do they feel comfortable, welcome, and happy to be there? When they leave, will they look forward to coming back?
Consider the tone and voice you use when you write blog posts, emails, social media updates, and marketing materials. Are you using a writing style that your ideal clients will respond to? Is it aligned with what they want and need from your business?
Wrap things up by looking at your visuals and graphics. Were your logo, color scheme, fonts, and images chosen with your ideal clients in mind? Are they working together to create the right impression of your brand? Are they used consistently in all your brand touchpoints?
Align your branding materials
Don’t get discouraged if your audit revealed a lot of areas that need work. You don’t need to tackle them all at once and you definitely shouldn’t try to change everything overnight. Getting everything aligned to attract your ideal clients is a big project for any business.
Start by making a clear and solid plan for the changes you need to make. Prioritize the items that will have the biggest impact on how your ideal clients perceive you. That usually means starting with the experience and atmosphere you create and then moving on to your writing voice and visuals.
Figure out where you need to ask for help and start looking for the right people and resources. You may need to hire an interior designer, copywriter, and graphic designer to polish up your presentation. Or you may want to brush up your social media and email marketing skills in an online course.
Being consistent about the way you present your business makes sure you’re always making a great first impression, your message is getting across clearly, you’re fostering brand recognition, and you’re building trust with your ideal clients.
Keep a summary of your ideal clients’ profile some place visible for easy reference. Compare everything you do to their values, wants, and needs. Write out your processes and create guidelines for all the ways you communicate with your ideal clients.
Decide on your colors, fonts, and image style and create guidelines for them too. Set up templates for any graphics you create on a regular basis, like blog titles, quote images, and newsletter headlines. An added bonus of building consistency is that it makes your life easier by streamlining this stuff!
Building a brand that is as much about your ideal client as it is about you will set you up for success. It will do the hard work of attracting the clients you’ve been dreaming of and protect the peace and joy you get from your work.
About the Author
Lilly Garcia is the founder and creative director of Wild Olive Branding Studio, a boutique design shop dedicated to helping entrepreneurs get clear about their brand and attract their ideal clients with an awesome visual identity. She loves working with small business owners who have a deep sense of purpose and are excited about making the world a better place. Visit her website to download a free worksheet to help you get clear about your ideal client.