If you Google “how to make an ideal client profile”, you’ll find thousands of articles on the topic. Some of them are helpful, but many of them are misleading. Curating your ideal client profile takes mindfulness, intention and frankly — it’s a lot of work.
This task that has always overwhelmed me – and I would venture to guess it overwhelms you, too. As business owners or aspiring entrepreneurs, I don’t have to convince you of the importance of this task — but instead, I want to help you identify who your ideal target client is so that you can start attracting them. More below on that.
Creating my ideal client profile is something I put off for years. I’ve read many articles, and tried my hand at piles of online templates and worksheets – but most lacked the luster I was craving. They tended to focus on identifying basic demographics like age, gender, marital status – and maybe touched on other aspects – but not in any depth. To be honest, the results left me with more questions than answers.
While understanding these basic demographics are valuable – I was craving (as you should be) to dig into learning the attitudes, fears and life values of my clients. As business owners – this is really where we need to be focusing our energy because these characteristics are the bridges that connect us with and speak directly to our target market.
But that’s not all. Here’s the truth: We can’t stop at the client. We need to look inward. As photographers, we have a unique opportunity to connect with our viewers simply by showing them our portfolio. That’s why it’s so important to showcase and share the right photos. Ones that appeal to our target market as well as keep us inspired and reminded of why we got into this business in the first place.
The exercise below will answer two very important questions:
- Who are your dream clients?
- What do you love to do?
Combining the information you get when answering these two questions will give you the insight and direction you need to start attracting clients who inspire you and are excited to work with you!
Who They Are + What You Love = Your Ideal Client
Scroll down to start. This is the exact exercise I crafted and completed when going through the steps of identifying my ideal client. Remember, this is just an activity – so don’t over think these questions! Your ideal client will change over time as your business grows — and so will your responses. Do your best to answer them in the here and now.
Are you ready? Grab a cup of coffee, print out my FREE IDEAL CLIENT WORKSHEET, and let’s dive into these questions together! Dream big, and don’t be afraid to write down the first thing that comes to mind.
WHO ARE THEY?
List Age, Location, Marital Status (single, married, etc.), Income, Education, Occupation.
What sort of lifestyle do they have? Do they eat out at expensive dinners, are they saving for a home, or planning their next international vacation?
What do they value most in life? Family, their career, living life on their own terms?
What do they do to have fun? Hiking, going to the movies, drinks with friends, tailgating at a football game, etc.
What stores or clothing brands do they buy from? Will you find them at big name stores like Apple, J.Crew or West Elm? Or are they more likely to be found thrifting or browsing local artist markets?
What are their guilty pleasures? A full-fat latte, sleeping in till noon, regular spa treatments, etc.
What do they lie in bed at night worrying about? Money, their never-ending to-do list, their kids, etc.
Where do they get their information? TV, blogs, Facebook, newspapers, CNN, etc.
What do they need more of in their life? Are they searching for simplicity, more time with their family, or space to explore and just breath, etc.?
What do they want from you? Beyond photography – do they want you to capture their family before they forget how little and precious they are right now? Do they want to feel like their photographer is a friend? Or do they just want you to expertly guide them through the biggest day of their life?
NOW, LET’S TALK ABOUT YOU!
How would you describe your style? You don’t have to put yourself in a box (photojournalistic, traditional, etc.), but rather how would you describe to someone who’s never seen your work what your pictures look like?
What type of photography do you want to specialize in? Be specific! Luxury winery weddings, in-home motherhood sessions, etc.
What are your favorite types of photos to take? Details, candids, epic landscapes, intimate moments, big laughs, etc. Write down whatever fills your heart and keeps you coming back for more!
What makes you different than other photographers? Be really honest with yourself – highlight your strengths.
How do you want your clients to feel when working with you? Think about what they would tell a friend after having you photograph them.
Phew, you made it! Now, what do you do with this information? My advice – use it as a checklist. I do this regularly when choosing photos to include in my portfolio. I make sure the images I am selecting are in-line with my answers. Typically – that will ensure that I’m highlighting (and therefore attracting) the ideal client I’ve curated.
Are you finding this process a little more difficult than expected? I offer a variety of services for photographers including portfolio curation and consultation. Contact me for details!