Why You Should Rethink Your ‘Ideal Client Avatar’

Why You Should Rethink Your ‘Ideal Client Avatar’

Countless Ideal Client Avatar exercises have crossed my path since I started my business.


Just about every course, workshop, and book I’ve read has prompted me to sit down and imagine I was meeting my ideal client, then write out dozens of details about what that person is like.


These exercises generally instructed me to come up with obvious facts like age, income, education, and occupation, as well as more obscure details like hobbies, favorite places to shop, and what kind of car they drove.


I understand what these exercises are getting at – they want you to picture your ideal client as an actual person, not some obscure marketing metric.



But I think these Ideal Client Avatar exercises have a few major problems –  and it could hurting your business.







Knowing your “ideal client” or “target market” (marketing speak for simply knowing what type of person you best serve with your products or services) is very important.


I’m not suggesting that taking the time to find your focus in this area bad. I’ve actually found is vital to business success. But I think it’s time to change up the way we approach identifying these ideal clients.


So before you fill out another ideal client avatar worksheet or commit to a specific target audience, consider these points:



You need to work with “bad” clients before you know what makes a “good” client


I personally struggled with completing an ideal client profile and finding any value in it when I first launched my business.


What did help me recognize the type of people I worked best with (and created the best results for) was by collaborating with all types of clients. Some were big successes, and some were very challenging. But each time I worked with someone new, I became more confident in who I best served.


Instead of conjuring up a fictitious client, go work with real ones. Learn from partnerships that didn’t click, and take note of the ones that go successfully.


Once you have that experience under your belt, completing a profile of your ideal client will feel much more concrete and productive.


Throw out the irrelevant details


I understand that adding details like hobbies, favorite movie, and shopping habits to an ideal client profile helps you feel like you’re talking about a real person, and not a marketing statistic. It makes it fun. It feels like getting to pick out your best-friend-slash-client.


But does it make actual business sense?


If a prospect shows up on your doorstep needing your services and is a good match for your expertise – does it really matter that they shop at Kohls instead of Anthropology? Does it matter that they watch movies on the weekend instead of training for a 5k?


I’ve always found it limiting to add so many tiny details to an ideal client profile. Those things don’t really impact whether or not I can work successfully with someone.


Instead, I’d recommend focusing on the big things that will help you tailor your marketing and your message towards people who really need your services and who you can serve well.


Things like:


Industry – do you have specific knowledge of an industry, and therefore work best with people from that niche (e.g you’re a copywriter with a background in animal care, and so you focus on writing copy for veterinarians.)


Goals/problems – what goal are you best at helping people achieve, or what problem are you best at helping people solve? (E.g you’re a health coach that focuses and establishing good eating and exercising habits for a sustainable lifestyle change, but you don’t help people lose 30 pounds fast).


Common factors you’ve identified over time – as you work with more and more clients, do you notice a specific factor that separates successful partnerships from the rough ones? Do all your favorite clients have the same thing in common? As you get real-world client experience, track what works and what doesn’t, and use that to refine and focus your ideal client profile.


Don’t be exclusive


I believe you should never turn down someone who wants to work with you and is willing to pay your rate simply because they don’t fit your “ideal client profile”.


I may be in the minority here, but turning a willing client away feels like bad business.


You never know who may turn out to be a fun, lucrative, and enjoyable client. And if you turn people away when they don’t fit a specific set of ideal client criteria, you’ll be missing the opportunity to challenge yourself, expand your skill set, and discover new ways of looking at your craft and business.


There is an increasing trend (especially in the internet-based business world) to create a business that fulfills your dreams, goals, preferences, and whims – often at the expense of being of service to the people that come in contact with our brand.


This isn’t to say that it’s smart to take on every project that comes your way. I’m suggesting you give clients who are interested in your specific offering and willing to pay your rate a fair shot – even if they fall outside of your ideal client profile.


Clients who want a variation of your services that isn’t in line with what you do best, or who want you to adjust your rates could be bad for business, and sticking to your prices and packages is completely fair.


But the next time an enthusiastic, outside-the-norm prospect approaches you, consider ignoring your ideal client profile and giving them a shot.



How have you developed your niche and discovered your ideal client? Have you tried something unique that’s had a positive impact on your business?



call - 616.821.7244  |  email - sonja@jobsonstudios.com  |  follow along - @sonjajobson 
Grand Rapids, MI


Instagram Success for Service-Based Businesses

Instagram Success for Service-Based Businesses

As a service-based business owner, I was always a little unsure of how to approach Instagram for marketing purposes.

On one hand, I loved the idea of the visual platform, and I knew a ton of people – including a lot of my ideal clients – were scrolling through their IG feeds regularly (compulsively?) But on the other hand, what would I share? I didn’t have physical products to showcase and, as much as I love a good cup of coffee, I was certain IG didn’t need another snapshot of a morning cup of coffee.





But evidence of Instagram becoming a powerful source for business was hard to ignore. Of course, articles proclaiming IG to be an essential marketing tool were popping up at every turn – but I also had anecdotal evidence from real people I knew. Friends, clients, and fellow service-based business owners were claiming that land a solid portion of their business from this platform.

Convinced I needed to straighten up my IG game and start tapping its full potential, I turned to the experts. The following 3 lovely and talented Instagram gurus graciously shared key advice with us on how to start, improve, and get the most out of your Instagram marketing efforts.

s0SwdIdaJenn Herman, @jenns_trends

what is the one biggest mistake to avoid making when using Instagram for business?

The biggest mistake people make on Instagram is not having a unique strategy for Instagram. They fall into using the same strategy they use on Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest and then wonder why Instagram doesn’t work for them. Instagram is a completely different platform and needs to have a unique strategy, different content, and a different method of interaction. When it comes to Instagram, less content is better – create the BEST visual content you can, not the most content you can.

We know Instagram is great for showcasing beautiful products, but how can service-based business represent themselves?

Many service-based businesses struggle with how to use Instagram because they don’t have a product or item to showcase. But, really, they have so much to share and just don’t know it. I always use the analogy of pretending you have a camera crew following you around all day (like a reality TV show). What would they see? What do you do? What are you working on? Where do you go? Everything you do every day in your business is something you can showcase visually. You can also create graphics or overlay text on an image to share tips, tutorials, tactics, and other educational or resourceful information. Instagram is also extending video capacity to 60 seconds so you can capitalize on videos to share much more value and insight into your business.

If you had to narrow it down to just 2 things, what would you say are the best ways to grow your following on Instagram?

I love Instagram for its interactivity and engagement. Of course, growing your audience goes hand in hand with this, but remember, it’s not just about how many followers you have – it’s about the quality of the followers you have. To get the best, targeted audience, you want to promote your Instagram account to all your existing customers and audience. Cross promote to your other social media channels, include your Instagram link/username in your email signature, include it on your packaging or receipts, and tell your customers when you actually talk to them! To make this the most effective, you want to offer Instagram-exclusive content like contests, weekly content series, promotions, insider looks into your business, and other unique opportunities that encourage your audience to follow you here. Another way to significantly grow your audience in a targeted fashion is to use a well-structured hashtag strategy. You want to use 10-15 hashtags related to your content, business, and industry to ensure the right people are finding your content.

What is one thing business owners can do to help turn followers into customers through Instagram?

As a business, you need to be able to convert those fans into customers. And one of the reasons I love Instagram is that the traffic you generate from this platform is significantly more valuable than any other referral source. Because there is only ONE clickable link on Instagram, there is no junk traffic to your link – the people who click on it, want it, and when they get to your site, your bounce rate is practically zero. You can’t get that kind of traffic anywhere else! But the thing is to get people to click on that link! You need to use powerful (and beneficial) calls-to-action in your posts on Instagram that direct people to “click on the link in the bio” so that they know what to do. You can promote a webinar, your opt-in page, a free download, your blog page, your list of services page, a sales page, or any other page that helps you build your list and generate revenue. Just remember, not every post should be a sales post!

Learn more about Jenn on her website www.jennstrends.com or soak up more of her IG marketing advice in her Instagram Membership Community.

fYqjXtwOAlex Tooby, @instawithalex

What is the one biggest mistake to avoid making when using Instagram for business?

Sharing content that doesn’t relate to your business! You have to be very careful about sticking to the focus of your account. If you’re a graphic designer, stick to sharing posts that highlight your expertise, and avoid sharing posts that don’t relate, like photos of your cats or kids! Now of course we are human and want to share our personal lives with our audiences, and that’s fine, just make sure whatever you share can still somehow be tied back to the focus of your account.

We know Instagram is great for showcasing beautiful products, but how can service-based business represent themselves?

Instagram is a little trickier for those of us who offer services but it definitely isn’t impossible to master. In fact I know a lot of service providers that find the majority of their clients through Instagram. I think the key here is to share your expertise, and educate your audience. Take for example my account, @instawithalex, I share Instagram tips and the sole purpose of my account is to provide value, educate my audience, and position myself as the expert in my industry. This is a great model to follow and one that easily builds up the “like, know, and trust factor” that converts clients into customers. If you don’t want to share tips, you can post photos that show the benefits you gain from investing in your services. For example, a fitness instructor showing photos of her bangin’ bod would definitely help sell some sessions!

If you had to narrow it down to just 2 things, what would you say are the best ways to grow your following on Instagram?

1. Having a highly focused account. Take for example my account @menandcoffee. Part of it’s success (besides the gorgeous men) is the fact that I ONLY post photos of men drinking coffee. I don’t share photos of just men, or just coffee, or food, cafes, etc. By sticking to your focus like glue, you provide your audience exactly what they’re looking for and that not only attracts new followers but your current followers will stick around for the long haul.

2. Being social! It is called social media for a reason, so it’s a good idea to be as present as possible and take the time to engage with your current audience, and your potential audience. Don’t just post a photo and close the app, instead, reply to all the comments you receive, and actively engage with users you think might benefit from your content by liking and commenting on their posts. This is going to entice them to come check out your feed and when they see how awesome you are, how could they not follow?

What is one thing business owners can do to help turn followers into customers through Instagram?

Keep in mind that Instagram isn’t necessarily a “fast sell”, instead it’s a place to build a relationship with your followers, so that means it may take a little extra time before you see a monetary return from the platform. Coincidently, once you begin focusing on relationship building rather than selling, your sales will increase! The best way to make this happen is to offer your audience a freebie via the link in your bio (make sure you collect their email at the same time!). Give them something of value that will not only leave them appreciating you, but also trusting in your expertise. Then slowly nurture that relationship through a short series of emails, THEN ask them to purchase from you. Chances are if you offered a ton of great value your conversion rate is going to be pretty good!

Check out Alex’s IG marketing course, Infamous to Influential, and her awesome free Instagram Marketing Facebook Group.

10710576_643074625805816_5137247681136495664_nPeg Fitzpatrick, @pegfitzpatrick

What is the one biggest mistake to avoid making when using Instagram for business?

Turning Instagram into a sales pitch or an overly personal stream that’s not related to your business.

We know Instagram is great for showcasing beautiful products, but how can service-based business represent themselves?

Service-based businesses can also shine on Instagram with creativity. Share photos of people enjoying your services, ways that your service is used, or how-to’s for your service. A great way to engage people in your social media is to start hashtag communities around your brand using a brand-specific hashtag. You can find and share this User-Generated Content (UGC) and also use it to engage with your community as well. Example:


#GoPro and #GoProoftheDay

Make sure to share your hashtag in your bio and invite people to use it.

If you had to narrow it down to just 2 things, what would you say are the best ways to grow your following on Instagram?

Posting great content regularly and engaging in comments on your posts and other people’s post. Don’t post and run. Stay for the conversation.

What is one thing business owners can do to help turn followers into customers through Instagram?

Use your one link in your bio wisely. Create shortened links with Bitly or another service and regularly update it with something fresh and interesting that is valuable to your bottom line. For example, I have my link leading to blog content, special offers, webinars registrations, or projects that I partner on. You can add a regular post with more information and ask people to follow the link in your bio.

Learn more about Peg on her website www.pegfitzpatrick.com and grab even more great social media marketing advice on her helpful blog.


call - 616.821.7244  |  email - sonja@jobsonstudios.com  |  follow along - @sonjajobson 
Grand Rapids, MI

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