The SJM Bride | Discovering My Ideal Client
Happy Monday, loves! This week, I am continuing to share my brand refresh process with y'all, and today I will be focusing on how I discovered my ideal client. To follow along with this series, make sure to check out my brand refresh design post and my post on how to create a meaningful brand mission.
Throughout all of the creative conferences I have attended, the exercises on finding your ideal client have always been my favorite. There is something exciting about discovering "her" or "him" but it is also an exercise that is extremely important for your business. It will help you to determine what type of person is going to become a loyal customer or client for your brand, and should also help you to determine how to best reach him or her.
Fair warning: this is a semi-long post, but one that is meant to be fun! I'm going to walk you through the exercise I completed to discover the SJM Bride, aka my ideal client.
STEP 1 | ASSIGN ADJECTIVES
To get your creative juices flowing, the first step to discovering your ideal client will be to assign adjectives (or descriptions, if that is easier) to her or him. You can think back to one of your favorite clients you worked with in the past, or think about who you would love to work with in the future. Here are examples from my list:
Attentive, colorful, detail-oriented, flower-lover, gracious, lover of LuLu Lemon, open-minded, positive, trusting.
STEP 2 | ASSIGN PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES
Now, I want you to start thinking about your ideal client as a real person. Give him or her a gender, age, job, etc. I am using a list from a worksheet I received at Stationery Academy. Fill in your ideal client's personal attributes based on the list below, or ones you create on your own.
Income: 50k/year (plus a bonus this year, because she's a stellar employee!)
Job: PR Consultant
Lifestyle: Smart luxury
Eats: A mixture of healthy food she cooks with her fiancé as well as her favorite sweet pastries
Shops: J.Crew, Kate Spade, LuLu Lemon & Anthro
Reads: The book her book club, Reading Between The Wines, is reading that month
Follows: Southern Weddings, Rachel Parcell of Pink Peonies (her fav fashion blogger), and of course Kate Middleton
Wears: Yoga pants around the house, a cute business dress to work, and her favorite feminine but slightly sassy outfit on date nights
Brands: She is loyal to her favorite brands (the shops mentioned above) but also loves exploring cute home decor and clothing boutiques for unique finds
Family: Is so important to her. She calls her mom every day, and schedules trips home more frequently than just the holidays. She can't wait to start a family of her own one day!
STEP 3 | GET INSIDE THEIR MIND
Now that you have a personalized ideal client, you need to start thinking like them. If you have an existing business, this can be based on feedback you have received from past clients, or patterns you have seen across all of your favorite clients/customers. If you are a new business, this is time for you to really think and be mindful of who you are targeting. These can be short answers, but try to be as descriptive as possible.
What is most important to your ideal client? Quality design and something that is unique and personal to her.
When she/he is shopping, how do they prefer to shop (in person, on their computer, on their phone/tablet)? On a lazy weekend morning shopping on her computer while laying in bed with a cup of coffee.
When she/he is shopping, what is the one quality that will make them eager to purchase/invest in a product or service? Custom design - something that is completely unique and can't be replicated.
What brings an extra smile to his/her face when speaking with a shop owner? Clear communication with personal touches, like Skype calls over coffee and sweet client experience gifts that are unexpected but so on-point with what she loves!
STEP 4 | DETERMINE YOUR IDEAL CLIENT'S NEEDS
This step is the most crucial step in the exercise. Once you determine your ideal client's needs, you must make sure that your product or service is able to solve their need, fix a problem they are facing, and/or calm a fear that they have.
What does your ideal client need? A unique stationery design for her wedding that reflects her love story with her fiancé.
What problem does he/she have and/or what does he/she fear most? She fears having a wedding she absolutely loves, and then her best friend copying details from her for her wedding two months later.
How will your product/service fix his/her problem? I never replicate design details for any of my custom clients. I work with them on a personal level to ensure that their designs are meaningful, unique, and special for them and their wedding. All of my designs are hand-painted, so they are impossible to replicate!
STEP 5 | TELL THE STORY OF YOUR IDEAL CLIENT
Once you have given your ideal client descriptive adjectives, personal attributes, have gotten inside their mind, and have figured out how to solve their problems, fears, and needs, it is time to combine everything into the story of your ideal client.
Give your ideal client a name, and describe him/her in the form of a story. Describe what he/she likes to do in their spare time, what his/her friends and loved ones are like, and sprinkle in details about how they would be the perfect fit as a client for your business. You don't have to be obvious in that last detail, but show how his/her lifestyle fits with your brand.
THE SJM BRIDE
Bonnie is a PR consultant in Charlotte, NC. She is engaged to her sweet beau Daniel, who thinks the world of her. She works a traditional 9-5 job, and looks forward to Thursday happy hour dates with her group of girl friends, as well as Tuesday night dates with Daniel to Whole Foods to grab something new to cook together over a glass of wine and their favorite TV show.
Bonnie adores dates to art gallery openings, and enjoys an occasional painting workshop, but jokes about her lack of artistic skills. She has a great appreciation for the arts, and is excited to build her growing gallery wall with Daniel in their first home together after wedding. She can't wait to have her friends over to show off her unique collection!
Bonnie is known as the hostess in her group. She believes every day is a cause for celebration and champagne, and nothing brings her greater joy than hosting parties for her closest friends. You can always count on her to have the freshest farmers market flowers, to concoct a new craft cocktail at each party, and to serve the most delectable sweet treat from the patisserie on the corner.
Since Bonnie is the hostess extraordinaire, she knows she wants to plan the most wonderful, unique wedding of her friend group. Bonnie and her mom will go on a fun trip to New York to visit Klienfelds, but she knows she will find her perfect dress in a small boutique shop close to her home that carries custom dresses. Most importantly, she can't wait to discover all the ways she can incorporate her and Daniel's personal love story into the intricate details of their wedding.
Though she has a deep appreciation for all things pretty, Bonnie knows that the most important things to hold onto in life are her faith, family, loved ones, and friends. She wakes up every morning with a smile on her face and a dance party to her favorite playlist because she cherishes every day to live her life.
photos by zipporah photography
Do you see how I took all of my details of my ideal client from above and turned them into a story? Through the story, you can tell that Bonnie enjoys quality time with her loved ones, and that celebrating with them is of great importance. Detailing that she collects art, wants to have the most wonderful wedding of her friend group, and wants a custom wedding gown shows her appreciation for the unique elements of life, meaning she would be perfect for a custom wedding invitation suite. And, since she values faith, family, and friendship, she has a heart of gold and will be a very gracious client to work with.
I hope this exercise has been extremely helpful to you! If you complete it, make sure to link your blog post in a comment below so I can read along with your ideal client journey! And, if you are a bride and feel like I just described you perfectly above, I'd love to chat! Feel free to send me a message, I can't wait to get to know you better darling!