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If I had a dollar for each time someone stressed over who their 'ideal client' is...
But really, I get it - defining your ideal client is often a sticking point for many new health entrepreneurs, and it was for me to begin with, too.
Maybe you've been wondering 'Who the heck is this so-called 'ideal client'? And why do I have to care, anyway?'
Well, allow me to elaborate.
IDEAL CLIENT 101
Your ideal health client is a profile of your preferred target audience. This is useful information to have because this clarity enables connection with and superior service for your clients.
You can connect better with your customers because you understand their problems and can therefore empathise with them through your services and marketing.
You can create superior products and service experiences because you see them for who they are as a human (beyond their conditions/needs) and the entire experience they desire.
As a health entrepreneur, I completely get that it's your mission to impact people's lives for the better - whether that be by assisting clients through illness recovery, providing spiritual/emotional support or coaching them to make positive change and reach their health goals.
And sometimes, that means you may be tempted to try to help everyone who comes your way. At first, it may seem as though there's nothing wrong with that - you probably can help lots of different types of people with lots of different things.
But after a while, you might start to notice a little exhaustion creeping in. When you're trying to help so many people with so many different conditions, you might start feeling like your energy is being pulled in so many different ways. When it comes to your marketing - writing blog posts, Facebook or Instagram updates and your newsletter and even creating products - there's just so many people to address and so many different things you could say that you feel stuck and paralysed and unable to really say anything at all.
This can also be confusing to potential clients. They're not really sure if you're for them, because there's just not enough resonance in your message. They're unsure: Will they really get me? It's a fair enough concern and something I always factor in when I book in to see a health specialist - do you?
It's at this point that health entrepreneurs often start doubting themselves and their abilities, wondering if they really have what it takes to run a business of their own. Have you ever felt like this too?
If so, let's change that now by getting client clarity.
If clients aren't signing up to work with you - even though it feels like you're doing all the right things - it's not an 'I suck at business' problem, it's an 'I'm not connecting with my peeps' problem.
Here's a few reasons why your target audience isn't right:
1. You're going too broad
By trying to appeal to everyone as a generalist.
'Hey, I'm a nutritionist. Come see me. I can help with... Stuff.
(*Appeals to no one*)
The common (but flawed) logic here is that by being able to help everyone, you've got a wider pool of potential clients to attract, and will therefore attract more people to work with you. Health entrepreneurs often make this mistake for FOMO - fear of missed opportunities.
However, as I mentioned, this logic is flawed and wrong. If you're marketing yourself to everyone, get ready to course correct now and 1. Hone down on a specific niche, and 2. Get clear on the type of person within that niche who you would like to work with.
2. You're targeting the wrong people
Perhaps you haven't researched your market, and you're flying by the seat of your pants. This may have served you for a while at the beginning (and may have even helped you figure out who you DON'T enjoy working with) so the experience here is a lesson.
However, there's a real possibility if you've played Pin the Tail on the Donkey with your target market and didn't research your peeps, that your market's not a viable one (I.e. the audience you're targeting / attempting to connect with are not in a position to buy your product or services right now).
For example, if you're a nutritionist targeting busy moms in their 30's with young children who want to regain their energy, but you're not getting traction in your business despite doing all the right things, perhaps it's because the moms you're targeting with very young children don't have time or money to prioritise their health at their current life stage, as much as they'd like to. They'd rather spend their time and money on their children right now.
Perhaps you'd be better off targeting married/partnered women in their late 20's who have high-flying corporate careers and need to regain their energy in order to keep up with their colleagues.
While the former group may not have the time or resources to work with you, the latter may well do. And if their career is their main life priority right now and it's suffering because of their health, you can imagine that they might be able to make an appointment with their nutritionist a priority, right?
How to find your ideal client - 3 simple steps
1. Narrow your focus
Don't don't need to be all things to all people. In fact, you absolutely shouldn't.
When determining your target audience profile, ask yourself (seriously, pen and paper in hand) who's going to benefit the most from what you have to offer? What experiences have you had that you can share insights from or empathise with? Does your target have the time/desire/money to prioritise buying your product or service?
2. Test and research
Really do your research. I say this as advice to myself too, because my natural tendency is always to assume I know best (spoiler alert: I don't!). However it's very humbling and wonderful to speak with someone of your target market at a deeper level, and hear first-hand what they're experiencing and what would really help them in their lives right now.
If you have an existing audience, create a reader survey and ask questions about their demographic and psychographic information (age, income, profession and lifestyle, hobbies, reading material, leisure activities, fears and desires when it comes to the topic of your offering).
I dive into demographics and psychographics on a deeper level in my Ideal Clients worksheet. Download it here:
3. Get clear on Values
What are his/her values and priorities in life? What are her motivators and drivers? Understanding why your target audience might be motivated to invest in your services is a vital piece of the puzzle, too.
What does she look for in a practitioner? Does she want to feel heard, understood and listened to?
Does she desire an open-minded professional?
What are her obstacles / barriers or reasons why she might not choose you?
It all comes back to connection.
If you can connect with your audience, empathise with their problems (e.g. years of health issues not being taken seriously by other health professionals) and share their vision for the fulfilment of their greatest desires (e.g. Healed migraines, reduced anxiety, conditions in remission = glowing health / return to normal life), you're putting yourself in a good position to welcome in new business.
If you want to dig deeper into your ideal health client, I've created a worksheet especially for you. You can download it here, and tuck into pages of prompts, questions and guides to help you narrow in on your ideal client.
Find your ideal clients
I created a free workbook to help you find your ideal clients. Grab it here!
If you found this article helpful, I'd love to hear from you in the comments about any 'aha' moments you had.