Why your best client matters in personal branding: in a nutshell, because watering down your message by marketing to “everyone” doesn’t work.
“Know you client’s pain point,” they say.
“Build a customer avatar.”
“Market to your best client, and that person only.” (That one is me!)
Pick one client. Know them intimately. You should be able to tell me what your best client’s mother says when she calls with good news. You should know their take on the the current political scape, even whether they support the death penalty. You definitely should know the language they use.
When you know your best client so well and match that client with your own core beliefs, you create a brand beacon. When you identify that best client with a part of you, even better. There’s some part of you in the past that was the person you now help.
It’s how you simplify marketing. Being congruent with who you are in the market allows you to attract that best client. Knowing how you interact simplifies every marketing decision.
Want a little social proof?
LinkedIn just sent me an email. The subject: Multnomah County Department of Community Justice, Quango, and 52 Limited are looking for candidates like you… The headline: To job picks for you.
If you’re reading this, you’re not looking for a 9-5. You’re possibly trying to get out of one, definitely working on business building. And if you’re like me – and like MY best client – you are most definitely NOT interested in working for your local county’s justice department.
In fact, I can’t think of a worse job for me. Occasional speeding aside, I don’t break the law. I’m not a bad person. But I can’t think of a worse job for me! Having to abide by somebody else’s strict schedule? I’m a rule breaker! I make my own schedule! When I find a client mismatch, I look at my branding to see what went wrong in attracting them. I don’t just continue working because someone else tells me to. A justice department, LinkedIn, really?
Other highlights from their suggested jobs to me: pattern designer, technical and creative recruiter, client services, personal banker, and marketing and media strategist. Well, I guess that last one is pretty spot on. They’ve got a 10% interest rate with that email.
LinkedIn is not speaking to their best client. They’re clearly watering down the message. Their filtering needs some intense work. And I deleted the email immediately based on the subject title. I only came back to the email because I was so shocked at the matching.
This is what it’s like when you try to market to everyone. Your brand is constantly evolving and you’re bound to have a few misses here and there. Strive for the opposite of LinkedIn. Aim for a 90% hit rate instead of 10%.
In my old business (wedding photography), I tended to have one client a year that wasn’t the best match. 1 out of 20-25 wasn’t bad, and I usually chocked it up to miscommunication. But one year, right at the beginning of the season, I had two clients in a row that really pushed me. Ultimately, I should have declined them both as clients before it was an issue. I had to examine how it happened that two clients in a row booked me, even though we weren’t a good fit together.
I suggest when you have a client mismatch, you do the same. What attracted that client to you? Were you putting out one message when you thought you put out another?
Many of my former wedding business colleagues would include a particular photo in their portfolio “so they wouldn’t exclude” a certain type of client. They wanted to make sure there was an image of an outdoor vineyard wedding, an outdoor patio wedding, an indoor hotel wedding, an indoor Catholic church wedding. And then they’d lament all the church weddings they booked, because they really preferred the outdoor weddings.
That’s watering down your message. So is saying you do indoor house painting, outdoor house painting and commercial building painting. Or that you create websites for large corporations, non-profits and small solopreneur businesses.
Before I can write your content, we have to go through this work. I need to know you, so we don’t attract the wrong clients and build a business you don’t love. I need to know what makes your best client tick.
When you market to a single person, you have a strong brand voice. You won’t end up with wish-washy clients. The clients who want you to work way outside of your comfort zone don’t hire you – they can tell from the message you put out there that it won’t be a good fit. Not only do you attract the best client for you, the wrong clients simply fall away.
There’s an old adage, 80% of your time is taken up by 20% of your clients. When you attract the best clients for you, you flip that. And you end up feeling a lot less frazzled and a lot more fulfilled in the process.