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How to Identify Your Ideal Client in 4 Easy Steps + FREE Worksheet

Katy Boykin

Written By

Katy Boykin

Last Updated: June 27, 2023

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning if you decide to make a purchase via my links, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. See my disclosure for more info.

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Before you start building your website, it’s important to clearly identify your ideal client (or the hero of your brand story) because effective marketing has little to do with the product or service you are selling and has everything to do with the person to whom you are selling it to.

I have seen far too many bloggers and small business owners create websites with copy that’s too generic and sounds like white noise or, worse, talks over their ideal client’s heads confusing (and losing) their visitors. I don’t want that same thing to happen to you!

In a perfect world, you want to attract customers who understand the value of your products/ services and are willing to pay your prices. These customers should also be enthusiastic about working with you, eager to get started, welcome your systems and processes, and communicate well throughout the customer journey. 

So how do you find that ideal customer? 

In this post, I’m going to share how you can create a profile of your ideal client so that you can easily make decisions about your custom branding, website copy, offers, marketing campaigns, blog posts, and more. 

FREE Ideal Client Worksheet

If you are just getting started with your online business, completing an ideal client worksheet is a foundational exercise because it will help you consider how you can solve your ideal customer’s pain points and meet their needs.

If you’ve been in business a while, it’s a smart idea to reassess your target market periodically to ensure that your marketing efforts are attracting dream prospects and converting them into paying customers. You want to make sure your ideal customer evolves as your business and brand evolves.

I’ve created a FREE Ideal Client Worksheet so you can simply answer a series of questions and prompts to define your ideal customer avatar without filling out a ton of unnecessary details. Sign up below and I’ll email a copy of the worksheet directly to your inbox.

Free Ideal Client Worksheet!

Sign up now to create your ideal client profile in just 15-min. This will be sent in a Google Doc format so you can type as many details as needed and update it as your brand evolves over time.

What is an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)?

An ideal client profile (also known as an ideal customer avatar (ICA) or ideal client persona) is a snapshot or portrayal of an actual client who would be a perfect fit to purchase your products or services and consume your content. 

If you’ve ever read the book Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller (which I highly recommend) you’d know that your ideal client is the hero of the story (like Luke Skywalker in Star Wars) and your blog or business is the “guide” (like Yoda). 

As you begin defining your ideal customer (outlining their demographics, psychographic and behavioral information) it may feel like you’re filling out a wish list for imaginary clients you hope to have one day, but it’s not.

Instead, this customer avatar can be validated by thoughtful research, data, and feedback from people in real life.

Why It’s Important To Create An Ideal Client Profile

The number one reason you should create an ideal client profile is because it will become the filter by which you make all future business decisions. 

When you understand your ideal client…

  • You can double down and focus on attracting and converting the sub-section of your niche market rather than trying to go after the entire market.
  • You can personalize your marketing efforts so your target audience feels like your business, products, and services were specifically made for them.
  • You can create strategic and effective marketing plans on the social media and content marketing platforms that your potential clients are hanging out on
  • You can lower marketing costs, reduce friction in the sales process and increase conversions.

Ultimately, once you identify your ideal customer, you can ask yourself “will this serve my ideal client”? If the answer is no, you obviously wouldn’t pursue the idea or the opportunity. 

That’s some serious business clarity!

Where Most Ideal Client Exercises Go Wrong

If you’re not careful, you can wind up wasting your precious time on these ideal client worksheet exercises chasing details that simply don’t matter. 

Most of these client profile templates or worksheets ask you to define a massive list of demographic information like age, gender, location, marital status, number of kids, and more. 

Yes, many of those details can be helpful, but if you have an online business that serves customers worldwide, for instance, defining their exact location just won’t make that much of a difference in the grand scheme of things. 

Furthermore, I’ve also seen some crazy questions on ideal client worksheets like:

  • What’s your ideal client’s Starbucks order?
  • If they were a Disney character, which one would they be?
  • If your ideal client was about to have her third baby, what would she name her child?

I get that those questions can help you think about your buyer persona with specificity, but at the end of the day, most of those details don’t actually matter and they wind up being a giant time suck.

My recommendation, when defining your ideal client (or the hero of your brand story), is to start by understanding your ideal customer’s internal motivators. 

Pro Tip: When thinking about who you want to attract to your business, I encourage you to think of a single person (not a type of person or a group of people). By zeroing in on one specific person, you will clarify your marketing message and find it infinitely easier to attract others just like the one person you dreamed up.

Step 1. Defining Your Ideal Client’s Problems

Businesses thrive when you scratch your customer’s itch. 

In fact, in the book Building A Story Brand, Donald Miller writes, “the more we talk about the problems our customers’ experience, the more interest they will have in our brand”.

So instead of thinking about how old your ideal client is first, let’s get into their heads and start thinking about their pain points. 

Here are some questions to explore:

  • What are the biggest stressors or pain points in your ideal client’s life? 
  • How did they get to this point? What’s their background story.
  • What is your ideal client’s ultimate goal, desire, or wish regarding these issues?
  • How has this unsolved problem impacted or wreaked havoc on your ideal client’s life? What are their common frustrations in day-to-day life?
  • Who or what is the villain of your ideal customer’s problem?
  • What products, services or solutions have they tried in the past that haven’t worked?
  • If your ideal client had a magic wand and make the problem disappear (with the least amount of work possible), what would the ideal solution be to this problem?

If you’d like to type out the answers to these questions and prompts, sign up and I’ll send you the FREE ideal client worksheet. It will be sent in an editable Google Doc format so you can type as much detail as you want!

Free Ideal Client Worksheet!

Sign up now to create your ideal client profile in just 15-min. This will be sent in a Google Doc format so you can type as many details as needed and update it as your brand evolves over time.

Step 2. Defining Your Solutions To Those Problems

After you define your ideal customer’s struggles, you need to identify how your business can help your ideal customer (the hero of the story) overcome their challenges. 

Consider the following questions:

  • Why do you want to help people with these specific problems?
  • What products, services, and/or solutions can you offer to your client to solve the problem?
    • Note: This could be an affiliate offer, it does not have to be a product or service you develop and/or deliver.
  • In your own words, how will your product, service, and/or solution solve their problem?
  • How does your solution address your ideal client’s primal desires?
    • Note: People primally want to survive, thrive, be accepted, find love, achieve an aspirational identity, or bond with a tribe that will defend them physically and socially. 
  • What quantifiable or tangible results does your solution promise to deliver? 
  • What intangible results does your solution promise to deliver?

Step 3. Define Demographics & Interests

Once you have a solid grasp on your ideal client’s problems and you’ve defined how your blog or business plans to solve them, you can move on to defining any relevant demographic information.

The reason I recommend you do this in step 3 is that, by now, you should have a good idea about who your ideal client is so you can easily define the demographic details that matter to your business and skip over any other details that are meaningless.

Consider the factors like: 

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Ethnicity
  • Relationship status
  • Number of kids
  • Education level
  • Occupation
  • Income level
  • Home ownership status
  • Political affiliation
  • Religious affiliation
  • Hobbies/ interests
  • Celebriries or influencers they follow/ admire
  • Favorite brands/ stores
  • Social media channels they use
  • Favorite movies and shows
  • And more…

Step 4. gather data from past or potential clients

By now, your ideal client profile should be completely filled out. You may even feel like you’re finished… but not so fast.

The fourth and final step is to validate everything you wrote down from real-life people who have worked with you in the past or would be a great candidate to become your customer in the future.

Here are a few ways you can gather that data:

Look To Past Clients

Your past clients, customers, or projects will always help you zero in on your perfect client.

One way to gather valuable feedback is to conduct a private interview with your favorite clients who were easy to work with in the past. If you’ve sent out testimonial surveys or interviews in the past, you can look at any previous testimonials & constructive feedback.

If you had any terrible clients or projects, you can also review what went poorly and any other negative aspects. Sometimes you can identify the attributes of an ideal client much easier when you base it on factors you never want to deal with again.

Create a survey For Potential Customers

Surveys are a great way to gather market research and get feedback from potential clients who might be the perfect fit for your next product or service.

Surveys can be an incredible resource because it gives your ideal customers the opportunity to describe their pain points or frustrations to you in their own words — that’s copywriting magic sauce, right there!

You can send the survey out to your email list or individuals who fit your ideal client profile. If you’re just getting started, or you want even more market data, you can also ask in Facebook groups.

Use Facebook Groups

Facebook groups can be an incredible resource for market research. Find a few FB groups where your potential clients are actively engaged & hanging out.

In those Facebook groups, use the search bar to look for questions or keywords to identify pain points you haven’t thought of on your own. People love to ask questions or give their opinion, so don’t skip this step. There are some golden nuggets of wid

If you don’t find anything relevant, ask a single question to spark the engagement and answers you’re looking for.

If the Facebook group admin allows (always get permission), you can post the link to your multi-question survey. You can even incentivize participants with a raffle-style giveaway for taking the time to fill it out.

Look At Reviews

Lastly, if you sell physical products, take a look at Amazon reviews or reviews from competitors in your niche for even more clues about what your potential customers love and hate.

Wrapping Up

I know it can be a pain to take the time to complete an ideal client worksheet, but this is a very important step every business owner needs to take in their business.

Remember, your ideal client profile is the compass that will guide all future business decisions so spend a little bit of time here to get it right! What you write down in your ICP will make it easier to create content for your website and social media posts also.

Free Ideal Client Worksheet!

Sign up now to create your ideal client profile in just 15-min. This will be sent in a Google Doc format so you can type as many details as needed and update it as your brand evolves over time.

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