When I got into this marketing game over 20 years ago, they said I needed to create a customer avatar.
Describe your very best client whom you love working with.
How do I describe my ideal client when I didn't have any clients yet?
They told me to make it up.
Describe who you want to work with in great detail.
How old are they?
What do they do for a living?
How much money do they earn?
Where do they live?
And on and on.
Don't forget to give your customer avatar a name.
Once you finish the demographic profile, create their psychographic profile.
At the time, I knew absolutely nothing about marketing.
What the hell are demographics and psychographics?
What do they have to do with finding clients for my brand-new coaching practice?
I worked my way through the worksheets I found online (this was back in the day of a 56K modem and almost nothing on the internet).
I came up with the male and female versions of my ideal client.
Of course, they were successful, lived in the suburbs, had two children, drove a BMW and a Volvo station wagon, and made a lot of money so they could afford to hire me.
I was a newly minted coach with a real certification, but I had no idea how to find my ideal clients.
I could log onto AOL or some internet chat rooms, but my options were very limited in 2001.
I didn't have a clear marketing message and I didn't even know what problems I was going to solve for my clients.
Coaching was brand new and was catching on like wildfire.
I was told, "Just tell them you are a coach, and they'll want to work with you".
You can guess how well that worked.
Over time as the internet evolved, you could run ads that targeted your ideal clients.
Google and Facebook let you target by sex, age, income, and a ton of other demographic profiles.
I also got clear on the problems I can solve for my clients so the pieces to the puzzle were falling into place.
My targeted ads helped me grow my email list with my targeted leads.
Once they downloaded my 100-page eBook (I thought I needed to give them everything to gain their trust), I followed up with a series of messages to build a relationship.
I started doing webinars to promote my new course, but nobody would buy it at the end of the webinar.
It was frustrating because I was attracting my "ideal" client to my email list, they attended my webinars but never bought anything from me.
I had an email list of about 10,000 "ideal" customers but they weren't interested in hiring a coach.
What was I doing wrong?
Turns out my "ideal" client, the successful suburbanites with two kids and a six-figure income didn't need what I was selling.
I created a solution to a problem they didn't have.
I built it and they didn't come.
If you're trying to sell a weight loss solution to yoga instructors, it's not going to be easy to get their attention.
I was putting the cart before the horse.
I have a great solution to a problem, but I am showing it to an audience who doesn't have that problem.
Today, there are lots of great tools that help you find the problems people are trying to solve right now.
These tools also tell you where they're hanging out online, what podcasts they listen to, what YouTube channels they subscribe to, and more.
When I'm creating a new course, I find out what problems people are trying to solve right now.
I don't create a new course unless I see there is a demand.
Once I create the solution to their most pressing problem, I can engage with them to start a conversation.
Find a need and fill it.
Every day I see people promoting solutions to problems that existed a few years ago but may not exist today.
That problem has been solved or it's not the most pressing issue right now but they're selling you an outdated solution.
We live in a society that wants instant gratification.
You need to know what's hot in your market and what's not.
Once you create a track record of happy clients, you can dig deep into their demographics and psychographics to create your ideal client avatar.
You can keep your finger on their pulse, and you'll know exactly what problems they're trying to solve.
They'll see you as their "go-to" expert.