I wrote this post the editing process of my book, Clone Your Best Clients. I wanted to share a little behind the scenes snippet that I was still working on with my editor, but I just couldn’t help but share 🙂
Many of the problems that arise when wedding professionals market their businesses come from not having an understanding of who their ideal is as a whole person. Your ideal client is not just a bride or a groom. He/She is a whole human being with an entire life outside of wedding planning that consists of their values, hopes, dreams, fears, hobbies, etc. He or she is filling the role of bride or groom at this moment, but ultimately that is not his or her identity as a person.
Until you truly understand who they are as human beings, it’s very difficult to effectively market to them. Their role in a wedding isn’t who they are as a person and your marketing has to appeal to personal values. There’s really nothing value-based that comes from just being in the role of a bride or role of a groom. So instead of thinking of them as just this weird siloed off demographic, I want you to think of them as a whole person, a specific person, as a friend.
Most professionals in the wedding industry are too vague with defining their ideal client, and that’s why the ideal client exercise doesn’t work for them. The way they describe their ideal client is broad, and if you’ve been doing this, it may be because you simply don’t have the level of detail that you need yet. The good news is that you’re to learn how to develop that level of detail as you read this book.
I want you to identify exactly who your client is. If there’s someone you worked with previously and you’d like to clone them and work with them over and over again, I want you to dig into who they are. If you went out for a beer with them what would you talk about? What would they say? I want you to describe them like you’re talking about one of your friends. What do they like to talk about? What do they geek out on? That’s the stuff that matters. It sounds trivial, but I promise you these are the details that will help you market to your ideal client effectively.
If you know your ideal client is obsessed with Game of Thrones, you can work that into your marketing, and suddenly you are so much more attractive because they feel like you get them. The goal is to eliminate uncertainty and become specific about who you serve. An effective way to define and become clear on your ideal client is to identify a few actual people and use their combined characteristics to create an ideal client profile. Why can’t we just go with the vague ideas we have about this person in our heads? Well, as my father always told me, don’t just assume because it makes an ass out of you and me (ass+u+me). Who wants that?
Setting yourself apart
If you’re just another wedding planner or photographer in your city, then couples are going to compare you to everyone else. Now, if you’re the go-to photographer for tattoo-loving couples who read Offbeat Bride and give the middle finger to tradition, or the go-to planner for couples who are Americans, often the children of immigrants, and they really value their Hispanic heritage and they want to incorporate that part of their identity into their wedding, you put yourself in your own category.
Suddenly you’re not just a photographer or a planner. You’re the clear best choice for your ideal client. There’s the vanilla that is everyone else, and then there’s you.
That doesn’t mean you’re only allowed to work with your hyper focused ideal client. If a prospective client loves your work and you love them back, even though they aren’t 100% on target with who your ideal client is, that’s okay! It’s your business, and you can make the decision to work with them or not.
For example, I went to a conference called The Boss Mom Retreat, and it’s one of the best events I’ve ever been to. I am not a mom, but I love everything the brand and the founder, Dana Malstaff, stands for. I can relate to the Boss Mom brand and I knew that I wanted to be at that event and I’m so happy that I attended. I may not be Dana’s exact ideal client, but if she hadn’t positioned herself as the go-to mentor for boss moms, a description I kept hearing from my boss mom friends, I would have never known she existed.
If you’re the go-to photographer for tattoo-loving couples who read Offbeat Bride and give the middle finger to tradition but one couple you attract doesn’t actually have any tattoos, you can decide to work with them if you’d like.
Just like if you’re the go-to planner for couples who are Americans, often the children of immigrants, that really value their Hispanic heritage and a white girl like me wants to work with you because I’m in love with all things Mexican and I know you’re going to fulfill my vision, you can decide to do that.
Setting yourself apart attracts your perfect ideal clients as well as those more fringe but still awesome clients.
So who do you want to be the go-to person for?
When you market your business, you’re going to talk to that person, and as a result, you will attract those perfect clients.
Do you see why your ideal client is so important?
All of the marketing in the world can’t fix the lack of understanding your ideal client. Who they are and what they value drive everything from the words and images you use on your site, to what you post on social media to how you work with them.
Your ideal client is your foundation
Defining and understanding your ideal client is a critical piece of your marketing strategy. Do not pass go, do not collect $200, if you don’t have a deep understanding of your ideal client.
To create and implement targeted marketing that reaches your ideal clients, and solves the problems they have versus the one we imagine to have, you must find out what their problems really are, not just your assumptions about them. When you make these assumptions, it’s highly likely that your marketing isn’t going to connect with your ideal client because it’s based on nothing more than a guess. I am going to show you how to go from making unfounded assumptions about your ideal clients to finding out exactly what problems, values and desires they have.
Here’s the key—and this is the disconnect that most people don’t see—when your marketing isn’t aligned with the problem your ideal clients want you to solve, they will not work with you. When I say “problem,” we’re not curing cancer here, these are not life or death problems, but you are solving a problem or a concern that is very real for your ideal client. Maybe the problem is that they are too busy, so the problem that you’re solving for them as a wedding planner is that you’re swooping in to take over the tasks they simply don’t have time for. But maybe that’s not the problem, and you are just assuming that it is.
Maybe the real problem is that every wedding your ideal client has ever been to has been boring, unimaginative, and generic and they want theirs to be more unique, and they’re also very busy. If you market to them just being busy, and you miss what they’re really concerned about (their wedding being boring), they’re not going to buy from you because they don’t feel like you understand them. In a way, we have to be mind readers, but we don’t have to be able to read minds.
To create and implement targeted marketing that reaches your ideal clients, and solves the problems they have versus the one we imagine to have, you must find out what their problems really are, not just your assumptions about them. When you make these assumptions, it’s highly likely that your marketing isn’t going to connect with your ideal client because it’s based on nothing more than a guess. I am going to show you how to go from making unfounded assumptions about your ideal clients to finding out exactly what problems, values and desires they have. In order to test your assumptions, you’re going to be talking to people, and you’re going to be playing investigator.
If you enjoyed this snippet, you’ll love the full book! You can pick up your copy of my best-selling book, Clone Your Best Clients, right here!