This blog is super important if you want to understand exactly how to target and attract your ideal client.
Early on in your career, you might think that any client is a good client. And that’s not entirely wrong – many of the clients you book will be brilliant, even if they’re not quite who or what you expect. But it’s absolutely vital that you know who your ideal client is.
So, what exactly do we mean by the ideal client? Basically, this is the perfect human being you would utterly love to have phone you up. The person who, if they got in touch and said they loved your work and wanted to book in a shoot, would have you doing a happy-dance around your kitchen. It doesn’t need to be anyone in particular, but this person should fill a certain brief that only you can decide on.
Take five minutes, grab a piece of paper, and let’s create a blueprint for this mythical unicorn of a client. In true Blue Peter style, here’s one we made earlier…
· Between 40-60 years old
· Fairly glamorous
· Lives in a sprawling country home
· Has a disposable income
· Reads Town and Country magazine
· Drives a 4×4
· Has a second home in London, where she enjoys trips to theatres art galleries
· Has children, who have their own ponies
· Keeps the horses – and the ponies – at home
· Employs a member of staff to take care of them
· Values quality photography and art
· Values and respects the time and skills of the creatives she works with
This is the level of specificity we’re going for – so don’t skimp while you’re working this out! Jot down anything and everything that your perfect target client might embody. Now, with the essentials hammered out, ask yourself a few questions…
· What magazines do they read?
· Do they attend equestrian events? Which ones?
· Do they like to eat out?
· Are they a member of a professional body?
· Do they attend Pony Club rallies or competitions?
· What does their friendship group look like?
· How do they fill their spare time?
· What would their perfect birthday present be?
What’s the point of all this, then? Well, once you’ve figured out your perfect client, you’ll find it a lot easier to target your marketing so that it not only reaches them, but so it connects with them, too. Plus, you’ll be able to put yourself in front of them – are they art exhibition visitors? Do they always go to Badminton and Burghley? Can you find them sipping champagne at the polo in the summer months? Brilliant – now how do you make sure your work has a presence there?…
For example, maybe you live near a gorgeous high-end country pub. This place tends to attract people with a disposable income who are happy to – and able to – drop £100 on an impromptu Wednesday dinner. Great! Now what are these people doing while they’re there? Do they sit on the armchairs by the fireplace, sipping a glass of red and browsing the magazines on the coffee table? What magazines are they? Can you get an advertisement into them? Or could you supply the pub with some gorgeous framed prints, and ask them to keep your brochure or your card on the side?
All it takes is one person to see your work, pick up your card, and take it home. Then, they end up on your website, browsing your images or your social media and connecting more and more with what you’re doing. Perhaps they tag a friend in an image they love. Maybe they give you a follow and a couple of likes, which pop up on their friends’ timelines. Perhaps they don’t buy just yet – or maybe even ever – but with very little effort, you’ve maximised your passive marketing and broadened your reach to include more of your ideal clients.
Maybe, a couple of weeks down the line, that same person – or one of their friends, who saw their ‘like’ pop up on Facebook – spots your work on a stand at the local point-to-point. They feel a little rush of familiarity, which stops them, and they wander over to your stand for another look. Now, you’ve made a connection – your work is suddenly familiar, and it’s married with a place that’s comfortable and welcoming for them. Bingo.
It’s so important that throughout your business – your website, your social media, your marketing – your tone speaks directly to that client. Want a golden nugget of truth? In speaking only to your ideal client, not only do you entice and encourage them – you also naturally weed out those clients who won’t be a good fit for you. And that’s a great thing – and a huge time-saver and stress-remover for you.
The truth is, you’ve got tonnes of opportunities to speak to this mythical perfect client. You can use your own platforms, you can head to the places that are important to them, you can visit livery yards and tack shops, you can collaborate with influencers who they’re likely to follow – the list goes on and one. But throughout all these outlets, you need to make sure your voice remains consistent and targeted to them.
A final thought…
What’s the collective noun for a group of ideal clients? We’re not sure – but what we do know is that they often do come in groups. They might be on a luxury livery yard together, or part of the local hunt, or the mothers of children at the local Pony Club. By advertising to these groups en masse, you can become the go-to photographer for them. Speak to yard owners, hunt secretaries, Pony Club secretaries and so on to see how you can work with them – and don’t be afraid to start with a promotional deal to get the ball rolling.