Why you should create an Ideal Client Profile before designing your new website
Before starting any web design project, I put my clients through a discovery phase where I learn everything about their business, competition, and target market. The more I know, the more acquainted I can get with their brand and business goals. My job is to make their vision come to life on the web and the only way I can do that is to get into their minds, step into their shoes, and not only understand their needs and desires but, that of their target market as well. That's why one of the first pieces of information I’ll typically ask for is their Ideal Client Profile, also known as an Ideal Customer Avatar or Buyer Persona.
If they don’t already have an Ideal Client Profile ready to go, I’ll send them my
workbook (which I'm giving away as a free download, Yay!). Once filled out, they’ve got a powerful marketing tool that can help guide and inform all of their business decisions from here on out, including how to approach designing a new website that speaks to their target market, and more specifically, their Ideal Clients.
Before hiring a web designer, it would be worthwhile to have your Ideal Client Profile fleshed out, tested, and ready to go. Your web designer will thank you for it. If you’ve never heard of an Ideal Client Profile or have resisted creating one, then read on below. I’ll discuss what an Ideal Client Profile is, why you need one, and how to create one.
01 // What is an Ideal Client or Ideal Customer?
Your Ideal Client (also known as an ideal customer) is a single person who represents your target market. She loves your product or service, is willing to pay what your worth, and is the perfect customer for your specific business. Think of her as your “dream client”.
Your Ideal Client Profile can be based on an actual client you already have—someone you love working with or a mix of all your favorite clients that, when combined, create your dream client.
You may find that your Ideal Client ends up sounding a lot like yourself, and that’s totally fine, especially if you’d fall within your own target market. This might even be a good thing, since you’d easily be able to get into the mind of your Ideal Client.
02 // Why do I need to create an Ideal Client Profile (ICP)?
In order to genuinely influence and inspire your target market, you must build trust. Your clients and customers need to know that you really get them, understand their point of view, and actually care about their needs.
Preparing an Ideal Client Profile allows you to get clear on who this person is. As you craft new content, products or services, you’ll do so with this person in mind—enabling you to create powerful messaging that speak directly to the type of clients you want to attract.
The fact is, you can’t sell to everyone because not everyone wants what you’re offering. Without knowing exactly who your Ideal Client is, you will most likely attract less than ideal customers—those who will never truly value what you have to offer.
Taking the time to create an Ideal Client Profile allows you to step into your client’s shoes and see life through her eyes. This will help establish a true emotional connection with the people you hope to serve. You’ll create opportunities that will nurture and motivate your clients and customers to engage with your brand and move them to purchase your product or service.
03 // Creating Your Ideal Client Profile
Now let’s get down to business and create that Ideal Client Profile! It’s important to note that the most effective profiles are ones based on actual data and research. At some point you’ll need to interview real people—those who could embody your Ideal Client. In the meantime, however, it’s OK to make assumptions, so just do your best and keep moving forward. Once you’ve completed your Ideal Client Profile, you’ll have a solid 1st draft that you can put to use immediately.
If you are ready to get serious and craft your ICP, then make sure to download my Ideal Client Profile Workbook and get started today! Read on below for a high level overview of what’s included in the 4 part workbook.
In this section, you’ll list out all of the traits that your Ideal Client would possess, both demographic - age, gender, income, marital status, etc. and psychographic - values, beliefs, lifestyle, interests, hobbies, etc.
You’ll also want to give your Ideal Client a photo by searching for one online or using a photo of an actual client. This, combined with the information above, will help bring your Ideal Client to life and allow you to easily step into her shoes.
In this section, we will explore the business motivations of your Ideal Client. It will get you to think about her specific business goals in relation to your product or service. You’ll find out what business challenges she faces - so that you can fine tune your offerings to help in these areas, where she gets her information from - so you’ll know where she hangs out online and possible places to advertise, and what might stop her from purchasing your products - so that you can address those concerns.
This is where you’ll have the opportunity to establish that emotional connection we were talking about earlier. You’ll answer the questions in this section as if you actually are your Ideal Client. You’ll get into her head, consider her deepest fears, and discover her dream solution. You’ll then have the opportunity to determine exactly how your business can help solve your client’s needs and concerns.
You’ll imagine that you are your Ideal Client and write a short story as if they are journaling their experience. As you do so, you’ll describe the business problem they’re having, how it makes them feel, how they discovered your business, and what made them purchase your product or service.
This might seem like an interesting task but it’s one that will make you to think through the journey that your clients and customers actually take. It could help you discover holes in your approach or spark ideas that may not have been so apparent.
Creating an Ideal Client Profile is not a quick an easy assignment but the information you gather will prove to be extremely valuable time and time again. It will help you stay emotionally connected to your clients and, in turn, you’ll have the insight needed to create powerful and effective products, services, and content. Do this exercise for every new product, service, or offering that you create and you’ll set yourself up for success from the start.
Be sure to follow me @sarahlunadesign on Instagram where I share daily tips, tricks, and resources to help you design and build an online presence that's worthy of your special sauce!
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