On Saturday, I went to the annual translators BBQ in Edinburgh. A BBQ that, due to the Scottish changing weather and a sudden heavy rain, had to take place indoor. Apart from that, it was a lovely evening where I can meet new colleagues and catch up with the rest.
However, one of the things that shock me the most is how we tend to complain in this sort of events. Obviously, we understand each other’s challenges, so we sympathise and talk about our own problems with our colleagues. Well, one of the challenges that resonate the most during the afternoon was how to target ideal customer avatars.
And that’s how I came up with the idea for this blog post. Do you share the same problems than my colleagues? Let’s see what we can do about it by answering the following questions.
1. What is my ideal customer avatar?
When I work with difference business on their content marketing strategy, one of the first questions that I always ask is “who do you want to target with this piece of content?” Well, one of the first problems that I notice here is that most of them answers with the typical “the more, the merrier” or a broad “people, men and women from 25 to 50 years old that are interested in X”.
First mistake. You can’t have a business that targets all these people as well as you can’t write content that such a broad audience will find appealing.
The more you segment your different ideal avatar, the clearer your ideas will be to focus on their needs and adapt your services and products to them. With this technique, your clients will feel that your services and tailor-made for them and you will work with those clients that you really want to work with.
Further reading: Pre-purchase phase and how to get a first client.
2. What is not my ideal customer avatar?
On the other hand, I also heard some comments about how some people, sometimes even unqualified people, offer lower rates to clients in the market. This practice has always existed and will always exist in the future, given that to exercise as a professional within certain industries, there are no required qualifications, and obviously people will take advantage of that.
“These people are stealing clients from us.” Another mistake. These people are offering different services to different clients (at least, I really hope so!) Price-sensitive clients will only consider one thing when choosing what professional will undertake his assignment (I bet you know already what they will consider, right?) And people targeting these clients will have to lower their rates to approach them.
If I compare this profile to mine, for example, I can see that there’s a whole world between them. Firstly, I don’t work with price-sensitive clients, as I offer quality services and look for clients that are willing to invest in them to get a series of benefits in return, which are probably more valuable that this first inversion. Secondly, as I guarantee this series of benefits, I’m not going to lower my rates for clients that aren’t going to value them. Conclusion: they are not going to be interested in my services, and I don’t want to have them in my client portfolio. Win-win solution for both, this type of clients and me.
3. What is my current business situation?
Maybe you have established your business already, but you think that you’re not working with those clients that you really want to work with; maybe you have just started and don’t really know how and where to find your ideal customer avatars; or maybe you’re working exactly with those clients that you really want to work with, but also want to add a new service and, hence, a new ideal customer avatar to your portfolio.
Evaluating your business situation is essential to know what steps you must follow to target ideal customer avatars. Set a long-term SMART goal, for example:
“I want to work with 15 legal firms and 15 marketing agencies in a one-year period of time.”
Now it’s time to split these big goals into 12 small goals that you’re going to work on during the 12 months of the year. And you are going to split each 12 small goals into 4 smaller goals for each week of the month. Following the last example:
Month 1: I’m going to focus on legal firms during the first month. I’m going to analyse my ideal customer avatar and set a plan to action to contact 7 legal firms during this month.
Week 1: I’m going to focus on three types of legal firms: X, X and X. I’m going to set their ideal customer avatars profile, evaluate their needs and implement and market research to identify at least 20 that match their characteristics.
4. What risks am I going to take to target ideal customer avatars?
I always say that embracing risks is part of our careers as freelancers. Every step we take will have consequences and we are the only ones responsible for them. Sometimes we’ll win, and sometime we’ll lose, recover and restart. And in my opinion, losing is the best way of learning which methods work and which ones don’t.
I’m sorry to burst your bubbles now, but if we really want to success here, we will have to do some sacrifices. Maybe you’ll have to go from a full-time job to a part-time job to devote more time to your freelance career, maybe you’ll have to sacrifice a couple of working hours every day to implement your strategy, or maybe you can even consider hire an assistant to do this task for you.
Planning a change in your business means making sacrifices, which leads us to…
5. How is my back-up plan helping my goals?
Of course, it’s great to have a back-up plan just in case things don’t go exactly as planned. But think about it: is this back-up plan helping me to achieve my goals, or is it preventing me from achieving it?
Some back-up plans can make our lives easier… Too easy I’d say. That’s the case, for example, of full-time jobs that aren’t exactly what we want to do in life, but keep us going on. It’s hard to quit them to start an adventure that we don’t know where it can lead us. However, sometimes we need to get out of our comfort zone if we want to achieve our goals.
For example, in my case, when I first moved to Edinburgh almost a year ago (time flies!), I didn’t have a job on the side of my freelance career. All the contrary, I had a masters that I have to devote time to and pay for.
Probably the most reasonable and easy option would have been to find a fixed job that would allow my to combine both work and university. However, in my mind, this situation meant: “David, you really need to do something with your business to be success in a different country to cover your expenses and pay for your masters, otherwise you’ll have come here for nothing.”
What I want to say with this is that pressure and getting out of your comfort zone pays off, and risks will make us grow our career if we know how to plan our strategies and achieve our objectives. Try to have a back-up plan that helps you to establish your business and don’t look for comfort.
What strategies do you use to target ideal customer avatars? I’d love to hear more opinions about this topic!