Finding out where your client is hanging out shouldn’t be a roadblock in your business.
If that’s the only thing that’s stopping you from living your dream, fear not, I got your back.
But at the same time, if that’s the only thing that’s stopping you from living your dream, I have some bad news for you.
You don’t know your ideal client…
I’ll explain this in more details in a moment. Let me just set the stage for you really quick.
You see, whenever people ask me about where they can find their ideal client, I always say “everywhere and anywhere”.
A while back a guy I know said to me that his clients aren’t hanging out on Instagram. He offers B2B services and his clients are exclusively on LinkedIn.
To me, this is exactly like any other stereotype. Germans are very precise and their engineering is next level, Americans are gun slinging fat people, and for some reason, Russians eat everything with mayonnaise.
While you can argue that the trains in Germany arrive on time, you can’t generalize it to its entire population. Every basket has its share of red apples and not so red apples.
Just because it’s B2B it doesn’t mean that your clients are exclusively on LinkedIn. For example, I’m in the B2B but only had a presence on Facebook until fairly recently.
And while all this guy’s clients came from LinkedIn and none of his clients has an Instagram account, I’m willing to bet a considerable amount of change that some of his potential clients hang out on Instagram.
He just doesn’t know how to reach them on Instagram.
Look, we spend countless hours searching for keys, wallet, the nearest exit, a toilet, information…
But ever since Google “invented” finding, life is so much easier. But here’s the thing. You have to know what to ask Google.
The quality of the answers depends on the quality of the questions. The better the questions, the better the answers.
Which leads me back to the statement I made earlier. If you struggle with finding where your ideal client is hanging out, you don’t know who your ideal client is.
Because in order to find out where they hang out, you need to know what you are searching for. You can’t ask Google to give you an answer to something that you don’t know the question of.
This is the only prerequisite of finding your ideal client.
Know Exactly Who You Are Searching For
Around 3 months ago I decided that it’s time to put myself out there and just talk to my ideal client. I started offering free content strategy sessions to key people.
It’s not to pitch my stuff. I’m happy to help the anybody who wants to jump on the call with me. I do have my selfish reasons why I’m doing this. And that’s to better understand my ideal client.
Here’s where I’m going with this. If you are a fitness coach and you are serving people aged 25-55 who are business professionals, you will have a hard time making a sale. Because it’s too generic.
At the same time, if you’re a coach and you help people aged 25-55 unlock their full potential, it will be hard bringing in new clients.
Because a 25-year-old woman who just graduated has a totally different set of needs and wants than a 55-year-old man who works in middle management for a travel agency.
I know that your skill set can be used to help more than one group of people. And that’s fantastic. But in order to help that group of people, you need to find it.
And if you want to find it you need to know what you’re searching for so you need to specify it.
Be More Specific Than You Think
Say you are a performance coach and you help business professionals with their limiting beliefs and impostor syndrome so that they can be better at their job and live a happier life with their partner.
This information doesn’t even start to scratch the surface of what we need.
So, let’s break it down even further. Who can this person be and what does his day look like?
“We are searching for a 30-year-old man, who is in a long-term relationship but isn’t married, works as a freelance web designer. At the moment he makes a living but time is ticking by and he is expected to propose to his partner. For this to happen he needs more financial stability and is now in a pursuit of growing his web designer practice in a business. He likes superhero movies, plays video games and goes out a couple of times a week.”
Now we have a better understanding of who we are searching for. We have a few different leads.
But how do you know where they hang out?
You Ask Them
Procter & Gamble, the giant cleaning products manufacturer, has a video database of thousands of hours of people cleaning their homes.
Different types of people. From park rangers to regular housewives. They look at different types of personalities and behaviours so that they can better market their products.
Some people want their clothes to smell betters. Others want their clothes not to smell like cigarettes after they come home from a party.
At a first glance, I thought that it’s the same thing. But it actually isn’t.
If P&G can identify that park rangers need a cleaning product to eliminate bad odour, they will market a product exclusively for that purpose, with characters that the consumer can relate to.
If P&G decides that college students want a product that cleans the un-washable stuff like the couch, they will market a product specifically in that direction.
And most of the times it’s the same product. The only key difference is how they position and market the product.
If a giant like P&G understands the need of niching down and to be super specific when they market their products, businesses like yours and mine are pretty much needed to do at least some research.
Of course, we don’t have the same resources as these giant corporations. We operate on a very strict budget.
So, I’ll let you in on how I did it.
I wrote a post in a Facebook group asking if there are any coaches in the group. I was putting together this new business venture and needed some insight. So, I told everybody up front that I wanted to interview them and ask a bunch of questions about themselves and their business so that I would understand better how to market my services.
In exchange, I would create a week’s worth of social media content for them.
What type of questions did I ask? All of them
- Who are the top 5 influencers in your industry?
- Who are your top 5 biggest competitors?
- Who are the top 5 influencers of your ideal clients?
- What are the last 5 books they’ve read?
- What podcasts do they listen too?
- Where do they get their news from?
- Where do they get their entertainment from?
- What are a few hashtags they follow on Instagram?
- What are the top 5 websites they visit daily/weekly?
Plus a bunch of other business related questions.
Now, just follow the patterns. Does the same podcast come up over and over again?
Good, that means that’s a clue.
You don’t have to ask the same questions, but these are enough to get you started.
I know what you’re thinking:
“But I’m not part of a Facebook Group where my ideal client is hanging out. That’s literally my problem”
Alright, I heard you. I understand. And for the record, my ideal clients don’t hang out in the groups I hang out.
Ok, let’s take a lot at how to get people on the call:
Getting Your Ideal Client To Talk To You
Back in December, I attended a marketing event in Brighton.
The best thing that you can do at an event is to hang out at the bar. At least for people like me. You get to meet people and have fun in the process.
Have you ever heard of the saying “You are the sum of the 5 people you hang out with?”.
I was in that period of my life where I removed, yet again, a bunch of people from my life.
Anyway, I was having a few very bad experiences with the clients I was working with. Parts of the issue was me not knowing how to handle those situations, and parts of it were the shitty people I had to work with.
So, I was sitting there at the bar in Brighton and I got into this conversation with a coach. We hit it off and start doing shots.
I liked him a lot and said: “I want clients just like you.”
That’s literally how I decided to work with coaches. Because they are fun, have no ego, understand storytelling and we sort of speak the same language.
Working with people who you like is extremely important. If you’re not working with people you like, why are doing this, to begin with?
Here’s where I’m going with this.
Do you know someone you like and could be a good fit?
If you do, fantastic. Hit them up and ask them to do an interview with you. If you want, give them something in exchange.
If you don’t know anybody personally, you will for sure know somebody that fits your description.
If you don’t know anybody that might fit in your ideal target group, find a different target group. It’s way easier. Trust me.
Don’t be scared to ask people to have a call with you. Just be direct and friendly.
In my case, I had a bunch of people saying they would help me. More than half of the people changed their mind and never booked a call.
The only people that I actually interviewed were the coaches who were earning 6-figure and beyond.
Funny thing how the successful people are the ones going the extra mile…
Anyway, let’s ask another serious question.
How many people should you be interviewing?
The more the better. Personally, every time I speak to a potential client I throw in a few questions that I have running around my head.
In fact, I start off all conversations with questions to identify my target group.
No exact number will give you all the answers you are searching for. But around 10 will give you a decent starting place.
Get 10 people on a call with you and you will better understand your audience and where they hang out.
But you’ll probably need around 50 people to really understand them. And from that moment on it’s all about how you progress and develop together with them.
But the real question is What To Do With This Information?
Let’s go through some examples of how to put that information to good use:
Search for Facebook Groups
Facebook Groups are here to stay.
New features are being rolled out every month and they are growing like there’s no tomorrow.
Entrepreneurs are making serious money from these groups and soon enough Facebook will start to monetize them as well.
There’s a Facebook group for everything. Use the information you just got find relevant groups.
You can even ask Google “Facebook groups for X”. Remember, the better the question, the better the answer.
Join the groups and start contributing. Help people out, show-up in the comments and chat with everybody.
Start adding people to your friend list and genuinely build a relationship with your new friends.
Publish relevant content daily to become their go-to person when it comes to coaching.
Grow Your LinkedIn Network
This is, in my opinion, a super underrated platform. Remember the time when LinkedIn was only for “business people”?
Not the entrepreneurial type, but for corporate folks.
Times have changed and their algorithm changed. There is so much potential in it.
Sure, depending on your audience you might not find them here. But your audience doesn’t have to be a business person to hang out on LinkedIn.
Search for relevant job titles in your 2nd connection network and to get back more relevant results, add a city as well.
People on LinkedIn tend to get very creative with their job titles. So you have to dig deep in the beginning.
I had a list of about 20 potential job titles just to find coaches.
Now start adding these people to your network and start a conversation with them. Don’t just send the connection request and that’s it.
Say something to them. Introduce yourself, tell people what you do and why you want to connect with them. Here is my connection request message:
I’m Mickey, Head Honcho at M|H
We work with coaches and consultants to get you more eyeballs on your content (we don’t disrupt your current lead gen process)
I know we haven’t met, but always good to connect with another coach like yourself.
Up to you
This is just an example and there are a bunch of reasons why I chose to phrase my message like this. But you can rewrite it in any way you like.
After you run out of people to add, change the city and maybe change the title.
What you are doing now is building a network of very very very cold prospects. What’s left to do now is to show up with daily content that’s relevant to them and to engage with them. Either on their wall or in their inbox.
That’s up to you.
Remember all those questions we asked our ideal client?
Here’s where we can exploit those answers.
There’s no point to reinvent the wheel. Instead, we will be looking at what the influencers are doing and try to do the same.
No, you won’t be stealing or copying. Let’s shed a bit more light on this.
The one huge differentiator that Instagram has are the hashtags. They are used to categorise specific content under a specific label.
Which means that if you want to watch cute cat video on Instagram, search for #cat, #funnycat etc and enjoy.
I’m pointing this out to let you know that hashtags aren’t optional. They are pretty much mandatory. But what hashtags should you use?
If you’ve done your homework properly you should be sitting on around 20 different pieces of information that can lead you to at least 30-40 different hashtags.
Look at what other people in your space and your client’s space are using and do the same while keeping it relevant to your business.
As in don’t tag your content with #batman if it’s not about Batman. That’s misleading and not cool.
Like any other platform, Instagram changes their way of doing things pretty much every month and they never tell anybody about it.
What works now might not work in 6 months from now.
The information I’m sharing with you here won’t get you 1 million followers on Instagram. I’m just showing you the basic principles of reaching your ideal client and growing an audience on Instagram.
How to pick and chose the hashtags is a strategy in itself. Because everything changes so fast and everybody has a different approach, I’m going to sit out on this.
Whatever I tell you now, will be obsolete in 6 months. So, I highly recommend you do your own research on this.
There are countless other ways to find your ideal client.
You can use forums, Medium, Twitter, specialized blogs and so on. It’s really up to you and your imagination.
While I was reading this I noticed an ad for Steve Aoki signature sunglasses from Hawker. I’m really not a huge fan of Steve Aoki nor do I have a large sunglasses collection.
But what I do know is that he is performing at a festival near me next week. And that’s how the sunglasses manufacturer Hawker reaches their audience.
Look, you can go out and try to find your ideal client or you can go out and attract your ideal client.
Personally, I like attracting better. I’m an introvert (I guess) and going out and networking and chatting everybody up isn’t necessarily my strong point.
I’m not good at it, it takes time, it takes practice and it’s not something that I really enjoy.
You might be really good at networking. And that is fantastic. But if you have a couple of fantastic months where you’re making serious cash but after that, you struggle for a few months because you have no idea where the money could come from, you’re not building a predictable business model.
Instead, it’s a business model where you have to work both at your business and in your business.
And you know better than I do that you can’t be an expert at both of them.
In order to have a stable, constant and predictable income stream, you’ll need to start building your own following.
That means instead of going out and searching for your ideal clients, have them search for you.
It’s a reverse audition.
I already showed you in this blog how to start building a small audience. The next step would be to nurture that relationship with relevant content that positions you as the expert and also persuades your audience to invest in you.
There are a bunch of ways to do this. And if you want a personalized content strategy (I know you saw this coming) I’m still giving away free Content Strategy Sessions. And you can book yourself one from here https://calendly.com/mickey-h
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