Today’s article is from Kristin Milito.
As photographers, we work endlessly to market ourselves, spread our name, and consistently book clients. Still, our marketing efforts are futile if we are spending our time and effort speaking a language our ideal client doesn’t understand.
So, if you are going to do all that hard work, make sure you are at least speaking their language – if you do, you will no longer miss out on valuable opportunities to find (and keep) your ideal client.
What’s an ideal client? These are the ones that love not only who you are or what you do, but love what you believe in. They believe what you believe in, because they believe in the same thing. Identifying your ideal client may sound complicated, but it’s really quite simple.
Let’s get started…
Who is Your “Ideal” Client?
That’s an excellent question and only one YOU can answer. Before you go any further thinking about them, think about you. What do you value in your life? What are you emotionally drawn to? What do you believe in? And what are your interests?
Life is busy and it is really easy to forgo asking ourselves these deep questions. But the sooner you truly know these answers, the closer you are to knowing your ideal client, and thus a thriving business.
People are naturally drawn to others that value what they value. Take your closest friend for instance. Overall you may be somewhat different but you likely have lots of common values and interests.
You may have a similar strong work ethic, be devoted moms, sob over Pampers commercials…or even share a strong passion for traveling. These are combined interests that link you together.
And believe it or not, the same goes for our ideal clients.
We are who we surround ourselves with, and this rings true for our clients as well. How much do you truly believe in what you do and what you sell?
Even if you may not be able to afford the type of custom photography you sell, do you still believe in the importance of beautiful family photography?
Hopefully you do! And guess what, your ideal client believes the same! On the contrary, if you’re not quite sure of yourself and believe that most people will not pay for what you provide then that is the type of client you will attract…and I don’t think you want that!
What Defines An Ideal Client?
An ideal client is one that helps you reach your goals. Is your goal trying to make” X” this year? Is it to create a certain look in your portfolio? Maybe it is to get featured in a certain magazine or blog.
Whatever your goals are, the client who can help you reach your goals is your ideal client. Maybe it’s a person who makes enough money to have disposable income to spend on boutique photography, or clients that really like pushing the creative envelope and trying wacky and crazy stuff.
Regardless of what your goals are, if a client will not help you reach your goals, than (you guessed it), they are NOT your ideal client.
How do I Identify My Ideal Client?
Ask yourself the questions mentioned above and as you do, make as long of a list as you can. Now think of 5 of your most favorite clients that you enjoyed working with the most. (You may want to write these down as well.)
Notice the similar qualities that exist across the board of your 5 clients. Now notice what similarities and values you share with each of those clients.
Do you see the pattern? You like what they like, they like what you like. It is also likely you have shared values with them. These are your ideal clients.
How Do I Speak their Language?
Fortunately, people who share parallel values and interests have a strong influence over each other. That’s why it’s so important to spend our time with the right people. (But that’s another article!)
Once you have identified the common values between yourself and your ideal client, you can speak their language by letting the real you shine through. And then do it with a sprinkle of charm and a dash of captivation. Yep…it’s kind of like dating!
Now you know what your ideal client is thinking and what they value. As a result, you are now able to authentically engage them. As you begin to speak your ideal clients’ language, all of your marketing and sales efforts become acutely effective. Imagine that!
It sounds like a dream, doesn’t it?
How Can I Implement This?
You understand how to speak your ideal clients’ language but how are you going to interact with them? First, evaluate the efforts you have made in your business thus far. How have you been “putting yourself out there” in the eyes of the client you are trying to engage?
Think about what you can change with this newfound information. Begin to think about how you can tailor your efforts to show that you are LIKE them – that you believe what they believe, you value what they value, and, most importantly, that you understand them.
Your goal should be to display these qualities in your marketplace and adjust your branding to attract more clients that you already love so much, and have loved working with.
This is another list you may want to jot down and keep in front of you at all times when you are marketing yourself through your website, creating blog copy, and expressing yourself on any social media outlets.
Ultimately, we love what we do and we all want to be valued for our work. Simply be sure to communicate to your ideal client that you value it as well. Because if you don’t…no one one else will.
About The Author
Kristin Milito is a leading Chicago newborn and family photographer. Kristin has been photographing children since 2007 and has an obsession for photographing sweet babies only days old. Kristin’s photographic style transcends organic imagery. Her photography has been referred to as instinctive, poignant, and natural.