How to find your ideal clients
In any service-based business, your clients can be your primary source of income - and when you’re cooped up in your office space for days on end without seeing daylight, they can even be your only form of interaction with the outside world. If you’ve got a professional, healthy and respectful relationship with your clients and you’re genuinely in love with the work you create with them, you’ve cracked it. But a number of problems can crop up when your needs, processes, and communication methods are at odds with those of your clients.
I hear you, I hear you - you’re thinking beggars can’t be choosers. We’ve all been in the position where you willingly accept all work that comes your way because you don’t want to be picky when it comes to sources of income. We’d all like to live in a world where our business is thriving and we’ve got lots and lots of loyal clients with whom we’ve built a long-lasting relationship - but often that just isn’t the case. So where and how do you stumble across those sought-after dream clients?
Do you know what you want?
First things first, before you go on the client hunt, outline exactly what you’re looking for. Make a list and get really specific - what industry is your dream client in? What age, gender, personality type, star sign? It might feel ridiculous, but if you have a very clear vision of your ideal client you’re much more likely to attract them into your life.
Once you’re super clear on this, ensure your branding is completely inline with everything you’re hoping to find. Think about all the means through which your future clients might find you - your website, your Instagram, your Pinterest, your blog? Make sure all your branding is authentically you, and does your business justice. Think about the problems your dream client faces, and how you’re going to solve them. Offer your services clearly, succinctly and in an engaging manner on your site, so you attract only the kind of clients you truly wish to work with.
Stop scrolling and start talking
Once you’ve nailed your online presence, don’t just sit back, pop your feet up and wait for those dream clients to come rolling in - start putting yourself out there unashamedly. Social media is key when it comes to reaching out to potential clients. Make sure you’re putting out valuable content, and stay chatty and engaged with the community rather than just using your profile as an empty shop front. When you stumble across a brand or business you’d love to work with - reach out! The best way to approach them is to just get straight to the point. Get in touch with your ideal clients and express simply why you think they’re so great, and why you feel you could make them even greater.
Step away from the screen
Sometimes it’s valuable to do some real-life talking. Pop along to different industry events (particularly in an industry you’d love to have as clients), with lots of ideas and business cards in hand. Whether it’s businesses in health and beauty, weddings, finance or floristry, do a bit of research and attend events, fairs, shows, talks and more. Networking within your own industry is key, too. Make connections and form friendships with other like-minded business owners who can provide you with plenty of support when you need it. As well as finding meaningful friendships, they might also recommend you for work and projects they hear about, or clients who aren’t quite right for them but are perfect for you.
Another oft-overlooked way of finding your ideal clients is simple - just ask them. Is there a shop whose social media you’d love to manage, or a business whose digital marketing could do with a little love? Go in person and strike up a conversation, outlining who you are, why you love their business and what you can bring to the table. This skips the back and forth emails and cuts right to the chase - and it can be so much easier to sell yourself when chatting in person. Be ambitious and put yourself out there - if they’re not interested, they might still mention you to fellow businesses, pop your business cards in their shop, or get in touch in the future when they need help.
Collaboration over competition
Collaborations are another fantastic way of expanding your reach and attracting your ideal clients. Combining followers with other businesses allows you to organically grow your audience, and you never know whose attention you might grab. Write guest blogs for other sites and publications, star in each other’s podcasts, Insta stories, and vlogs, collaborate on projects and reach out to other people in your industry who you admire.
If you put yourself out there, show up consistently and ask for what you want, your ideal clients have a far better chance of coming across your wonderful work. Fear and imposter syndrome can often stop us reaching out - but ignore your niggling doubts and have a go anyway. If you’ve got some other top tips on finding your ideal clients, let us know!