Connecting with potential clients is crucial. But once you’ve identified whom you wish to work with how do actually get to engage with them? Perhaps it’s time to take a couple of steps back and ask yourself: ‘how well do I really know them?’
Without having a full, rounded picture in your head you will be unable to talk to them, either in the digital world or at a face-to-face meeting. In addition networking events can become all the more easier when explaining to others who you would really like to work with.
Profiling your target market and creating your avatar does take time but it is time well spent. There is an old saying amongst marketers that, ‘if everyone is your customer, then no one is’, and too many businesses seem to think that this is the better way to go. The belief being that if you throw enough messages out to as many people some of them may well stick.
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But this is not a numbers game. By streamlining your target base you can pinpoint exact problems that your customers are experiencing and in return offer solutions for them. One of the many positives to result from the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), that comes into force on 25 May, is that businesses are being forced to clean up their list of contacts and limit them to those who have opted-in to receiving their marketing messages.
Creating avatars may be time-consuming but as a fiction writer it’s an exercise I enjoy as it’s just like creating a character in a story. It’s about compiling a profile of an individual, understanding as much as is possible to know and getting under their skin so you will be able to talk directly to them. This is the person you have in your head each time you write a blog, when you develop the copy for your website, write a presentation or post a tweet, a Facebook or LinkedIn update. In fact anything you do to engage with them.
5 steps to making great connections
1. Let’s get personal – write down as much information as you can about your ideal client. Are they male or female, what’s their age range, what kind of job do they have, how much money do they earn, where do they live, are they in a relationship, with or without children, what are their hobbies or interests? The list is endless but you need to capture as much information as possible. Remember you’re trying to hone this individual into as real a person as possible.
2. Let’s get deeper – when you think you’ve exhausted the list, stop and take a break. And then continue with the process. What are their goals in life, what motivates them to get out of bed in the morning, what values do they hold strong, who are their heroes? Again you may wish to work for a set time, take a break and start again. I scribble all my ideas on A3 sheets of paper during this brain storming session.
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3. Let’s hang together – identify the places your client likes to go to get information to help them. Are they book worms, which magazines or newspapers do they regularly read, which websites or social media channels do they interact on? Do they attend conferences or exhibitions or prefer face-to-face meetings? Without this knowledge it will be difficult to connect with them in their ideal location.
4. Let’s share that problem – what worries and concerns your avatar, keeps them awake at night, what challenges do they face each day? This information may come from your own experience or through working with existing customers and identifying these main problems will shape how you can help them.
5. Let’s give a helping hand – list the ways you can help your ideal client with their problems. What types of existing products and services will cater for their needs or what new ones could you offer? By establishing yourself as an expert in your field you can demonstrate how useful you can be to your ideal clients. Linking a solution to one of their problems gives you the opportunity to offer advice and potentially sell a product or service to them.
Only by undertaking this exercise can you really start understanding who your ideal clients are and how your business will develop. And while some products will cater for different kinds of people it’s ideal to focus on just the one type at a time.
What is an avatar?
An avatar is an icon or figure representing a particular person