Chances are, if you’re reading this blog, you’ve made a promise to improve your communications this year. Or perhaps you made a conscious effort prior to 2015’s fireworks? Whether New Year’s Day sparked this revelation or you’ve been committed to a consistent writing practice for a while, clarity and authenticity might just be two of your core words for this year.
I place an emphasis on these words (with Pinable print outs. See – I’m really serious!), because without clarity and authenticity, it’s really rather difficult to communicate who you are and what you do.
And I don’t just mean fine-tuning your elevator pitch (although this is a helpful exercise in itself, if geared towards your customer's wants and needs). I’m talking about getting clear on how you help people, and particularly who those people actually are. And then including it in your website copy.
Because without getting clear on your ideal audience, you’ll attract waves and waves of wishy-washy shop-arounders.
If you’re struggling with making clarity and authenticity a core focus this year, it’s time we had a chat about writing an identifiable, cognizant and useful statement about who your ideal client is, and then incorporating that within your website content.
I staunchly believe in explicitly identifying your ideal client, and I always recommend this to my clients, too. I’ve placed this within the body of my own About Me page, but it can also be a whole page unto itself.
Of course, I can often be met with hesitations when I suggest finding a niche. The most common belief is that in singling out a particular demographic, we advertently leave a whole group of people in the dark. People who could clearly benefit from a client’s services and products.
We don’t want to do that, but that doesn’t mean trying to be the people’s everything is a solution. Why?
When you try to dilute your message, you essentially show up as a diet version of yourself. Your uniqueness is watered down, your values murky and muddled, your voice a vague mimicry of all those you admire.
So what sort of things should we be incorporating in to this all-important statement? How do we go beyond gender, employment, education level, nationality and income? How do we correctly identify our ideal customer avatar, and communicate that effectively and efficiently?
The following is a list of attributes you should include in your statement, you can include in your statement, and those you should stear clear of for the sake of clarity.
How to clearly communicate your ideal audience
Customer journey position
Are they ready to make a deposit, sign a contract or work with you tomorrow? Or are they still testing the waters, perhaps wanting to initiate a complementary consultation before they commit? Are they at the start of their purchasing journey, or are they nearing the end? Do you want to work with them tomorrow, or are you happy to let them get a feel for you and your business?
In practice: Hiring a copywriter isn’t easy, so I speak to people who are still shopping around. I don’t assume that they’re ready to purchase my services after reading my website once, so that’s why I give people the option to explore my services and sign up to my email newsletter.
If you’re offering a high-value service, you might want to consider getting your audience to engage with you first via your blog, email newsletter, or a free consultation. These can all be implemented as calls-to-action at the end of your website page.
Level of comprehension
We’re talking about subject depth here. Are they well acquainted with your particular field, or are they complete novices? Are your services tailored towards beginners or intermediate persons? Are you teaching or assisting the newly converted, or are you helping people expand upon their already comprehensive knowledge?
In practice: Not long ago a super popular blogging workshop came to Australia (I won’t mention the name because I do hold the teachers in high esteem regardless). I had a handful of friends who attended, all who were disappointed with the experience. It wasn’t that the program was disorganised, or too short, or not there weren’t enough bathroom breaks. The major gripe was that the program was for beginners, and the girls behind the program hadn’t marketed it so. The result was boredom with course material they were already well acquainted with, and a feeling that they’d all just wasted $900 on content they’d discovered online months before.
Always make sure you identify your ideal audience’s level of knowledge.
If you’re a service-based business (a life coach, a psychologist, or any kind of creative), you more than likely have strong core values. It goes without saying that working with those who don’t align with your own mission, beliefs and purpose will ultimately drain you and leave you feeling unmotivated.
In practice: Do you thrive when working with goals-oriented and deadline driven people? Or do you enjoy assisting those who respect the creative process?
This is a super common distinction you’ll see on many a website, particularly on the websites of those who work one-on-one with clients. Perhaps you prefer working with introverts, and want to narrow this down to their Myers Brigg’s personality type? For example, I’m an INTJ, and these personality types allegedly work better with ENFPs. That’s not to say I rule anyone out based upon their Myer’s Briggs results, but if it’s an important part of your methodology, you might want to consider this hallmark of personal attributes.
In practice: There’s a multitude of personal typography assessments out there. Because these assessments aren’t concrete, I recommend using these attributes as secondary markers. Keep at the end of your statement as an afterthought, rather than placing in the first few sentences.
Do you prefer to work one-on-one? Or are group situations more your jam?
In practice: Working with a large organisation is a completely difference experience from working with a start-up. Similarly, coaching a group of people requires a different set of skills and personal preferences as opposed to individual consultations.
Or, if you’re a creative, you might prefer working directly with your clients over working with agencies who outsource. Do you want to be the leader, or are you happy to be someone’s support system? Do you feel energised when surrounded by a team? Or do you prefer the straight-fowardness of one-on-one interactivity?
Gender, age, marital status, employment, income, education level.
In practice: Is your ideal client avatar a female in her 30s on the cusp of motherhood? Or is your audience more than likely a career-driven woman in her early 20s with a large amount of disposable income?
Vague descriptions not even worth mentioning
- "Ready to level up"
- "Wildly anything"
- "On a budget" (isn’t everyone?)
As you can see on my own About Me page, I’ve incorporated a few of the above attributes. For me personally, I chose to include this statement on my About Me page because, contrary to what might be popular belief, your About Me page is actually not about you. You might find it worthwhile to create an entirely separate page for this purpose, or you might want to put it on your brand philosophy page (if you have one). It's up to, but make sure it's prominently placed.
Now it’s your turn.
When you get clear on who exactly it is that you want to be working with, you’ll be able to filter out the inevitable mismatched enquirers to make way for progressive, beneficial and enjoyable business relationships. Relationships that mirror your core values, and help you improve your own practice.