“Everyone is not your customer.”
No one has said it better than Seth Godin.
This short, 5-word sentence is a vital concept in business and yet most people still have a hard time fully understanding the importance of it.
The thought usually goes, more is better. Especially when you are talking about customers.
But that is not the case when deciding WHO your business should market to.
Let me share two other quotes, which might shed some light on the situation.
“When you speak to everyone, you speak to no one.”
“You can’t be everything to everyone, but you can be something to someone.”
What these quotes essentially mean is that by choosing to market to everyone, your message is so diluted and generic that it will not speak to anyone at all.
Today people want and expect personalization. They want a message that speaks directly to them and people like them. They want to emotionally connect with your message – essentially why you do what you do.
(Check out Simon Sinek’s TED talk video to help you figure out your why message.)
If you fail to do this, then you will fail to get their attention, connect with them emotionally and ultimately bring them into your community. Which is a long way of saying people will ignore your marketing and you wont get the sales you want.
Now I understand it is scary to pick a segment of the population that will best resonate with your product or service and to just focus your efforts on them.
But this can actually work to your benefit. Because if you can speak to and connect to a very specific community and build a relationship of trust with them, you will then have a loyal group of people who WANT what YOU have to offer.
Once they become customers, as long as you continue to provide that sense of community and belonging, they will continue to buy from you.
Remember, at the end of the day it is not an industry, business or organization you will be building relationships with, you will be building a relationship with individuals.
Identifying Your Ideal Clients
So how do you define or identify who your ideal client(s) is? A great place to start is by looking at egoic labels.
Just what is an egoic label?
When we ask people how they see themselves, they will probably give a number of different answers depending on where, when and how we ask the question. Their description might focus on their profession, educational status, nationality, relationship status, gender, religion, recreational activities or volunteer activities.
An egoic label refers to those terms we use to describe ourselves to others. These labels can change due to the passage of time as well as changes in a person’s professional or personal life. What remains constant is that egoic labels convey what is most meaningful to us about who we are personally, and what we do professionally.
For example, a woman who is also a mother will almost always identify herself first as a mother (an intrinsically and socially strong egoic label).
Some business owners might identify themselves as a business owner, while others might call themselves an entrepreneur or simply describe themselves by the service they provide.
Your ability to identify, locate and build relationships will fall short if you don’t understand the nuances of the egoic labels used by your prospects. The goal is to know your ideal clients so well that you can think like them, speak like them, experience their emotions and essentially be those clients.
Egoic Labels For Your Top 10 Ideal Clients
Now take a minute and think about your top ten clients.
Based on what you know about them, identify some general commonalities and differences between them. You can sort them, for example, by looking at role, demographics, industry or organization, region served, personal traits, and leadership or management style.
If you are just starting out or don’t have a top 10 list, think of companies or types of people that you would like to be your clients.
If you are B2B, try Googling the companies and organizations you would love to work with. Read the bios of their senior decision makers to learn more about them. You can gain additional information on these people (and others similar to them) on LinkedIn and Twitter.
If you are B2C, imagine each type of ideal client. For example, perhaps you are you looking for busy soccer moms or millennials who commute to work. Create a clear picture in your mind of who each of these people are.
Now construct a list of possible egoic labels for each of your top ten clients.
What egoic label will each most strongly identify with? Make note of the commonalities and differences.
Use these labels to create a clear picture of who your ideal clients are and how they see and represent themselves to the world.
Defining your ideal clients is an important first step to becoming effective in your marketing and sales efforts. With this information you can dive deeper into understanding and speaking the language of your ideal clients and then locating and connecting with them, which I will be covering in-depth in future articles.
Have you successfully identified the egoic labels of your ideal clients and incorporated them into your marketing? Let me know in the comments below.