Many businesses have great products or services but just can't seem to get themselves in front of the right people. Finding your ideal customer is often the hardest part of starting a business. However, when done correctly, it could help your sales soar.

Follow this simple three-step guide on how to land the perfect clients.

1. Determine your target audience. 

Rather than taking the typical demographic/geographic approach to determining your target audience, dig deeper.

Here’s a great example to follow…

When Lululemon decided to target males they built a prototype customer and named him Duke. They gave Duke a profession and a salary, and went as far as to develop his personality and identify what he cared about.

By knowing exactly who their ideal client was, Lululemon could build products that Duke would like, advertise in a way that would be well received by Duke and eventually, persuade Duke to shop in their stores. To build your own model client, ask yourself these questions:

  • Who buys my competitors' products/services?
  • How old are they? What is their gender and race?
  • What are their hobbies? How do they spend their free time? What do they value?
  • What influences their decisions? Tradition? Religion? Media?

Once you know all about your fictional client, you can give him or her a name and begin making marketing decisions with them in mind. Design, marketing, and copywriting choices will come about more easily when you're able to picture exactly whom you're talking to.

2. Find your target audience. 

"Marketing has always been about the same thing--who your customers are and where they are." – Noah Kagan [click to tweet]

Now that you know who your perfect client is, it's time to locate them. Find your target audience by taking unique paths that allow you to connect with them on a direct, personal level. Need some inspiration? Check out these ideas...

  • Build mutually beneficial relationships with complementary businesses. For example, if you're a dog walker you could reach out to local groomers and pet stores and ask for their referral. In exchange for the new business they provide you, offer them a commission for each job you secure.
  • Message Facebook groups that could have members similar to your dream client. For example, if you have a yoga studio and want to target stay-at-home moms to fill late morning and afternoon classes, you could search for mommy support groups in your area. Introduce yourself as a local business owner and offer a free class to everyone in the group, or a special private session if a certain number are interested.
  • Use MeetUp.com to find people with interests that your dream client would possess. For example, if you've just introduced a new board game, try contacting a group that meets up for a weekly Scrabble session. In your message, include a discount or even offer to send them the game for free in exchange for their valuable feedback.

These are just a few examples of the many supplementary approaches you can take outside of traditional marketing that allow you to reach that perfect prototype client you created in step one.

3. Connect with your target audience. 

You've probably already pondered the possibility that you could be rejected when reaching out in any of the ways mentioned above. Of course you'll get hit with a no from time to time but there are ways in which you can word your request to increase the likelihood of a yes.

First and foremost, always focus your message on how it benefits the recipient. The best way to do this is by focusing on how you can either make them money, save them time, or both. Time and money are the most important elements to any business.

This may seem counterintuitive but when pitching try to avoid sounding like you're pitching. You can do this by not selling your service but rather listening to their needs first and positioning your business as the solution.

Lastly, the best way to connect with your audience is to make your interaction with them as personal as possible. Do your homework. Soak up as much information as you can about them. When they see your interest level and how much effort you've put into learning about their company, it will reflect how passionate you are about helping them.

Published on: Sep 3, 2015