Who’s Your Real Ideal Client?

One piece of advice I always give to designers who want help with marketing and growing their business is to identify their “ideal client” and focus their efforts there. No matter how good a designer you are, you can’t be all things to all people. We all have our strengths and our weaknesses, our preferences and our passions. Decide what you like to do and are really good at, and go after that customer.

Let me make a further distinction. When I say “ideal” client I don’t mean “imaginary” client. Some designers take “ideal” to mean their dream client, the one with lots of money who will let them do whatever they want and shower them with praises in the end. By “ideal” client I mean the one who is most likely to pay for your services. That may not be the wealthiest client or the most extravagant client. It is, however, the client that will keep you in business year after year.

Take some time to reflect on your best and favorite projects. Why did those clients want to hire you? What were you able to provide them with that made them so happy with the result? Are there traits they shared in common, such as age, location, income or project budget, taste or style preference, occupation, lifestyle? Create a composite portrait of your best clients and that will guide you in defining your ideal client. Once you have that, you can tailor your marketing, networking, referrals and other outreach there.

But, you say, I want to attract a “better” client. Go for it, but be prepared to make some changes to “up your game” in order to do so. Take a look at who currently has that business and try to figure out what makes them successful. To land your ideal client, you need to be realistic.

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