What are some new ways to find ideal clients? Women entrepreneurs, life coaches, and business consultants constantly ask me this question.
Next, these purpose-driven women business owners explain their frustration this way:
- I just need to know where my ideal clients are.
- I wish I knew where my dream clients hang out.
- It’s freaking hard to figure out where my ideal people spend time!
- What’s the secret to discovering where my folks are?
- How do I create content that engages my dream clients?
Do you ask yourself these questions?
I sure did when starting my business.
My first mistake (of hundreds) when starting my business in 2002, was not being specific when claiming my ideal client. (More on how you can avoid this pitfall in a moment.)
One thing I’ve learned after nearly 20 years of being my own boss, finding your ideal clients is one (exciting?) set of experiments.
- First, you envision the exact kinds of clients you want to fill your business.
- Next, test your assumptions (vision).
- Talk directly to your people, your dream, ideal clients in your content and marketing.
- Test your educated guesses (assumptions) on where your clients spend time online.
- Create and share content focused on your ideal clients’ top problems.
How do you come up with assumptions about ‘your people’?
Glad you asked! You have lots of places to start: study your past successful clients. What characteristics, values, and attributes do your successful clients share?
If your content and messages don’t engage the right clients, shift your approach.
Continue shifting, pivoting, and adjusting until you have the right combination of content creation/marketing strategies, practices, and tactics to reach your dream clients.
We’ll explore examples of content creation and marketing practices you can experiment with to help find ideal clients, in a moment.
First, I’ll share (a few of) my gruesome missteps about finding ideal clients when I started out.
My Gigantic Target Market Mistake
As a newbie marketing consultant/mentor, I decided to serve ‘small business owners’.
That’s how I answered the question, “Who is your target market?”
I actually said, ‘small business owners’. Sheesh. (This was definitely the wrong track back then!)
I can see clearly now, ‘small business owners’ is a boatload of people.
My so-called target market of ‘small business owners’ was vague, to say the least. It didn’t accurately explain who I served.
By making the massive mistake of choosing a ‘target market’ and calling it a day, I shortchanged myself big time.
I wasted energy, time, and money by attending networking events popular with small business owners. Turns out, few of my ideal clients were at those events.
If you’ve ever attended events or zoom meetings with dozens of people, and yet no one asked to hear more about your services, you know what I mean.
After months of connecting with too few prospects, I finally sat down with a glass of Pinot Noir and reviewed my dismal client-attracting results.
Three main aha insights hit me like a ton of bricks.
) Precious few people said, “Tell me more!” after I gave my self-introduction at networking events.
2) My self-intro wasn’t clear or specific. Painful as it is to admit, my elevator pitch was boring, generic, and general.
3) I sounded like lots of other marketing consultants. Because I made the classic mistake of trying to appeal to *all* small business owners!
After seeing the error of my ways, I threw out my so-called target market and focused instead on getting to know my ideal client. And while it wasn’t the perfect elevator pitch, I became more specific when introducing myself like this…
Small business owners who valued marketing as a strategic tool to increase their customers and income.
Here’s the thing: Your business is different from others who do similar work as you.
So it follows that your ideal client is unique from the ideal client of other entrepreneurs who offer services similar to yours.
To help you ferret out how to find your perfect, ideal client, I’m sharing 21 new and not-so-new strategies you can try. Not only that, you’ll find questions to ask yourself so you can get clear about two principles for your business:
1. Who, exactly, are your ideal clients?
2. Where do you begin looking to find ideal clients?
21 Ways to Find Ideal Clients (Plus Engagement Ideas!)
1. Tap into what’s worked for you before to find ideal clients.
Have you forgotten places and tactics that were previously effective in reaching dream clients?
No worries, it happens to all of us and now’s the time you can recharge your creative juices!
- Recall client-connection strategies that were previously successful.
- Jot down methods you’ve used before to meet folks who became happy clients.
- List every place/group where you’ve found wonderful clients.
- On which social media sites have you had interactions with dream clients?
- Examine successful emails you’ve sent to your list when you made offers.
Get all of the fruitful places, people, and groups out of your head. To be sure you don’t leave anything out, go back to when you started your business.
- Was it association meetings, industry events, or local groups where you successfully connected with clients?
- Do these groups now hold virtual/Zoom meetings?
- Were you a guest speaker for an association or event?
- Have connections in Direct Messages on Instagram, LinkedIn or Facebook worked?
Don’t stop here, use the list to inspire yourself to reach out to generous colleagues, business owners, friends, and contacts who previously referred clients to you.
You’ve heard it a million times: in order to develop a solid marketing strategy that engages and helps you find ideal clients, you must…
- Create *great content*
- Publish *great content* on your website/blog
- Use social media to share *great content*
But here’s the thing, what exactly do we mean when we say “great content”?
Every life coach, consultant, and business owner has different ideas on what constitutes “great content”. And this is totally okay.
Your benchmark for great content is this: Does it help you jump start engagement with your dream client audience?
Great content helps you find ideal clients because it…
———> Discusses your ideal clients’ challenges and aspirations
———> Shares suggestions for solving the urgent, painful issues your clients obsess over
———> Educates, inspires, causes aha! moments, and (sometimes) entertains
———> Provides baby-steps to guide clients to become the better person they want to be
———> Puts you on the radar of clients seeking help for the problems you coach about
Great content helps you find ideal clients when it leads potential clients to become aware of you, your services, and how you help folks just like them.
3. Dump what’s not bringing in new clients.
The fastest way to win back “extra time”, is to decide which business activities you’ll stop doing.
- Is there a networking group you’ve attended and never gotten any clients from it?
- Where else can you invest time that puts you in the same (Zoom) room with ideal clients?
- Are you spending hours on Facebook scrolling, and it’s not helping to grow your email list or engage potential clients?
- Are you trying out new shiny objects (apps) that don’t result in attracting clients?
- How many email newsletters land in your inbox that are time-sucks?
- Which activities are you doing only because you feel you “should”? If they aren’t providing results, dump them.
Pinpoint each activity that’s sucking up your time without providing positive outcomes, and…
…Quit doing it.
When analyzing how you spend client-generating time, be brutally honest with yourself.
Happily, you can delegate some tasks to a virtual assistant. For example,
If you’re like me, graphic design is not your jam. I’m terrible at design and it takes me way too long to create a blog post or social media image.
Here’s what I do: delegate graphic design and image creation for my social media, website, and blog posts to a talented virtual assistant. Whew, that’s one giant weight off my plate!
4. Before you can find your ideal client, clarify who she is.
This, as you may guess, is my favorite topic. In my book, She Markets, A Guide for Women Entrepreneurs, I explain how to become clear about your perfect clients.
Before you start new client-attracting projects, become crystal-clear about the types of clients you want to reach.
Check out this post for more on why it’s important for you to gain ideal client clarity.
Truth be told, in order to get clear on your perfect people you must refresh your view of your ideal client. That way, you can document exactly who is your ideal client.
Make no mistake: gaining clarity on who is your perfect, ideal client is job #1 as a life coach, consultant, or solopreneur.
In your marketing messages, are you talking to clients who are *ready* to solve their problems? If the person you’re looking to attract doesn’t want to solve their problems, they aren’t your dream clients.
After you first get crystal clear on who you specifically want to serve, you’ll make better decisions about which client attractions strategies and tactics to apply next.
Experts say cash is king. Content is king.
Yet, in our busy, noisy online world you must show up and share snippets of your genius.
Setting aside the importance of cash and content for a hot minute, there’s no substitute for showing up.
When you are intentional about showing up, sharing your content, engaging your audience, and starting conversations with potential dream clients, you’re going to engage with the right clients.
However you wish to share: blog posts, podcast episodes, live streaming, or recorded videos—commit to where and when you intend to show up.
What doesn’t get scheduled, they say, doesn’t get done. It’s time to put your own best productivity hacks to the test!
You must treat yourself, including your marketing and business goals, with the same care that you provide your coaching clients!
Carve out time on your calendar for these client-finding actions:
- Creating new (or revised) content each week
- Publishing this new (or reworked) content on your website each week
- Showing up on social media sites where your dream clients are active, to share snippets from your content
- Engaging with current clients, potential dream clients, referral partners on their fave social media sites
To inspire yourself to commit your time, answer these questions:
- What’s worked for you before when you found the space/time to complete a new goal?
- What are 5 ways your coaching has a positive impact on clients?
- In addition to earning income, what do you love about working with your clients?
- How does the expertise you share in your content help you connect with clients?
Bottomline: Determine how much time you can commit to your content development process by evaluating your life and business responsibilities.
See #3 above: what low-return activities can you dump or delegate?
6. Become a reliable referrer.
Provide value by helping your business owner friends find their ideal clients.
By being of service first, your referral partners will keep you in mind when it comes to sending you folks who are likely to be your ideal clients.
Consistently ask your business besties, Who is a good referral for you?
7. Ask for referrals.
Once you get into the habit of uncovering opportunities to refer others, it will become natural to ask for referrals for yourself.
Make a list of everyone you feel comfortable calling to start a conversation about sharing referrals. This is a relationship-driven activity, so don’t expect quick results.
Don’t forget, you can email friends, family, current and former colleagues when you’re introducing a new program.
Emailing your business and personal networks is a savvy strategy when you’re just starting out too!
If you’d like an example of an email asking for referrals, click here to this blog post: New Life Coaches: 7 Marketing Mistakes You Must Avoid
8. Are your search engine results up-to-date?
What comes up when someone searches your name online?
The truth is, even when referral partners send you potential clients, those folks are going to first check you out online.
They’re going to search for your name or the name of your business. To get prepared, Google yourself regularly.
Do you like the search results that come up?
- Will ideal clients be excited to click on your blog posts, podcast episodes, and videos?
- Does your content use the words your dream clients use?
- Is there anything that you don’t like?
- If you have a blog on your website, has it been updated in the past month?
- Do your *google* results reflect your current programs, products, services?
If you’d like more about what is the right content, click here for my post on how to create marketing content your clients are looking for.
9. Offer one of these to grow your email list.
Since you only want to find ideal clients, being intentional about growing your email list is a prime way to accomplish this.
The reality is, once you focus on your ideal clients and create content specifically about their dreams, desires, and problems—you’ll begin to attract the right clients back to your website.
Once potential dream clients arrive at your website, they’ll become motivated to pour through your blog posts, podcast episodes, and services pages that are created *just for them*.
After all, you’re speaking your dream clients’ language in your content. Alleluia! Am I right?!
Whether it’s on your website or on your social media, offer a valuable content piece to entice people to subscribe to your list.
Make sure to offer a piece of content that represents your greatest work, as it’s how you’ll quickly gain readers’ trust.
Are you stumped as to what kind of freebie content to provide? You have a lot of choices.
- How about a printable PDF that includes a checklist as your first opt-in freebie?
- Your checklist can share a tried-and-true solution to one of your dream clients’ pressing issues.
- Checklists can include: resume tips, meal plans, common mistakes to avoid, insider tips no one else shares, styling tips
- Record a video (or video series) sharing your best tips to solve one of your dream clients’ pesky problems.
Clients appreciate *quick and dirty* lists of significant things they can put into action right away, which is why checklists are so darn useful.
When producing an opt-in (freebie) in exchange for your future clients’ email addresses, include practical, valuable, proven content that will help them take small steps toward solving their problems.
10. To find ideal clients, you must do this 5 to 12 times.
They say, the fortune is in your follow up.
Find a method that you’re comfortable with and follow up several times.
Change it up! Use a few different methods to connect with each potential client you’ve met in person, or online.
- Send prospects an email, place a call, or text a cheery message
- Go retro and share a juicy piece of old-school snail mail, like one of your articles
- Email a link to one of your blog posts, podcast episodes, or videos
According to Calldrip.com:
Numerous studies have found that it takes at least five ongoing follow-up efforts, after the initial sales contact, before a customer will say yes. FIVE! Nearly 80% (yes, 80!) of all sales are made on the fifth through the twelfth contact!
11. Be intentional about showing up virtually.
Find as many ways that work for you, to *get in front of* folks who may need your services, but don’t know you yet.
For example, make it a priority to get yourself booked for speaking gigs in front of groups of your ideal clients.
These days, it’s all about showing up virtually. Zoom networking meetings of your dream clients are your new client-connection tool of choice! Still, be picky about the groups you choose.
>>> Only apply to speak with groups where your ideal clients gather.
Don’t forget about the easy-to-access, virtual speaking opportunities like podcasts. Search out podcast hosts whose audiences include your ideal clients, start a relationship with them, and apply to be a guest.
12. To find ideal clients, always be testing.
Try out different social media platforms, groups, organizations, and associations where your dream clients may gather.
As we’ve said, In today’s mostly-online world, stay on top of new networking groups. They’re forming all the time so if you haven’t searched out recent ones lately, make sure you stay up to date.
By try out, I mean participate in one to three events. If after three meetings, you’re not connecting with potential clients, students, or referral partners—move on and find another group.
This was amazing to me: a woman business owner once told me that she’d attended the same group for five years and had gotten no leads, prospects, or clients. Five years!
I was stunned. She said she’d finally decided to end her group membership.
Are you in a similar situation?
Even if you like the people, don’t waste your time, money, and energy where your ideal clients don’t hang out as you focus on growing your business with new clients!
13. Always, always include one of these in your content.
We women business owners miss out on opportunities when we don’t ask our blog readers and social media followers to take a small next step: a.k.a., Calls to Action (CTAs).
To successfully build relationships with potential clients who engage with your content, you want to employ “Calls to Action” consistently and diligently.
What? I know what you’re thinking: you’re not constantly marketing services or programs. Look at you, such a smarty-pants!
Isn’t it your major goal when creating your online marketing presence to form relationships with your followers?
Exactly. That’s why your calls to action are modest (or large) invitations for your online followers to take the next step in developing a deeper relationship with you.
You have a lot of options here. The following are some examples of small(er) CTAs:
- If you want to get fresh tips right to your inbox each week, subscribe to my email newsletter below.
- As a stylist, organizer, mentor, or other expert, you may say, “I provide [fill in the blank] suggestions.”
- Feel free to leave a comment on my blog. “What did you agree with, disagree with, or what would you add?”
- Connect with me on LinkedIn or Instagram so we can share and learn from each other’s content.
- Know a friend who might benefit from this post? Please forward this link to them.
When you’re launching a new course, book, service, or program, you’ll use strategic, larger calls to action.
These CTAs could look like this:
- Become a member of my next online Masterclass.
- Register for my no-cost webinar masterclass.
- Join my 5 Day Challenge starting next week.
- Now’s the time to purchase your Early Bird ticket for my Spring Retreat.
14. Schedule client-generating actions in advance.
Are you investing enough time in finding clients?
To make sure you’re spending the right amount of time connecting with potential new clients, schedule time in your calendar.
This is crucial. It’s how you’ll build your business.
Timing is key, if you’re seeking out podcast guest appearances and every activity that puts you in front of your people, work to schedule these at least three months out.
Want to listen to (or watch) a podcast I was interviewed on? Click here for one of my podcast interviews: Five Steps to Consistent Content .
15. Always keep this polished.
Is your self-introduction up-to-date with your current offerings?
Or is your self-intro stale? When was the last time you revised it?
Wondering how your updated elevator pitch sounds? Ask friends for feedback.
It makes me crazy when I ask a business owner what they do, and they say, “Well, I do a lot of things”. (This response is feeble on so many levels.)
An introduction that isn’t specific, doesn’t help me decide if I can help you or not. It makes me work too hard to understand if I know people who want your products or services.
Every entrepreneur you meet at live or virtual business events is busy. And they’re meeting lots of other people.
How can you stand out? For starters, you want your self-introduction to be clear, memorable, and unique.
Here’s an example: a web designer specializes in serving clients who want a quality website that reflects their work and value. She introduces herself this way:
“I work with growth-minded entrepreneurs who value customized, professional, one-of-a-kind websites that attract their unique audiences.”
Remember, your self-intro is brief but mighty. Your self-introduction is not a resume or bio. It’s not everything you do.
Your intro is meant to pique the interest of your ideal clients, not everybody in the room.
16. Practice your 2nd most important pitch.
This is much like #15 above. Be ready to answer in one or two tight sentences, when someone asks, “Who is a good referral for you?”
17. Use one of these in 100% of your content.
Let’s talk again about these all-important Calls-to-action, because they’re super important.
Inviting website visitors and social media followers to take the next step to come into your world are referred to in marketing lingo as *Calls-to-action*.
For our discussion today, Calls-to-action come in two sizes, small and big:
Small Calls-to-action: join my email list, follow me on Instagram, make a comment on my blog post, leave a rating on my podcast episode.
Big Calls-to-action: book a discovery call, join my email list, sign up for my 7-Day Challenge, get on the waiting list for my upcoming retreat, workshop, or masterclass
When it comes to marketing and business, I’m a big believer in giving first, so that’s why the 80/20 rule fits perfectly here.
In this case, the 80/20 rule is: in 80% of your content, you educate, teach, inform, entertain, or inspire your audience and ask them to take a small step (small Calls-to-action).
In the remaining 20%, you make bigger offers or calls-to-action to your readers, followers, and email subscribers.
How can you begin using calls-to-action in 100% of your content?
18. To find ideal clients, do this in all your content + conversations.
No matter what you’re creating, be it a talk you’re giving, a blog post, podcast episode, or a video, always speak directly to your ideal client in your content.
Consistently share valuable information your specific clients can use.
When you treat marketing as educating, you’ll increase the number of people who click on your links back to your website. Potential clients will learn more about you, self-select by subscribing to your list, and then you can build a relationship with them.
19. Always be list-building.
You can take this to the bank, your email list is your most valuable business asset.
If you think about it, inspiring and inviting people you engage with on social media to join your email list is the best client strategy you can implement. Why?
Because no matter how often the Facebooks of the world change their rules, and make it harder for you to share content with your followers, potential clients on your email list have opted in to hear from you!
Without advertising or trying to satisfy Instagram’s algorithms, you’ll always be able to reach the potential clients on your list.
20. Be Nancy Drew.
Investigate so you can uncover the pain points your dream clients obsess over.
That way, you can scrupulously choose content topics that your ideal clients care deeply about.
It’s true, every expert tells you to create valuable content. And while that’s solid advice, I want you to go one step further.
As we said in item #4 above, clarify your perfect, ideal client.
Because a mere sliver of business owners ever get clear about who their ideal clients are, your content will stand out like a beacon on a foggy night.
After you get to know them, you’ll be able to drill down to your ideal clients’ deepest challenges and dreams.
Once you know your ideal client, like you know your family, this bonus happens:
Developing content topics that clients can’t wait to read, watch, or listen to, feels natural and authentic to you.
Imagine, content creation becomes easy-peasy because you’re discussing your dream clients’ precise problems and highest aspirations.
21. Become consistent with your content.
Consistently devote time to creating fresh nuggets of information, highly practical advice, and educational content for your ideal clients.
Too many women business owners get crazy busy and don’t carve out time to share their knowledge by creating content specifically for their audiences.
Nothing is more important than doing everything in your business for your ideal clients. Just for them. This includes creating and sharing juicy content that makes you memorable with your future clients. Every single week.
Final thoughts to find ideal clients
As the owner of your business, it’s your responsibility to find and engage with dream clients.
Unfortunately, unless you make it simple for your ideal clients to find you, it’s rare that they will!
I promise you this:
Once you have a greater understanding of your ideal client than anybody else in your field, you’ll be able to make smarter decisions about where to find them.
This is why I constantly beat the know-your-perfect-client drum. It’s the absolute first step to make it easier for you to find ideal clients.
Whether you decide to implement one or 10 of these client + content generating ideas, promise me you’ll at least do the review (#1 above).
Remember to be brutally honest with yourself when rating how well your current marketing to find ideal clients is working.
Ditch strategies, habits, and tactics-you-think-you-should-do, if they aren’t providing the results you want.
Why is it so crucial to dump activities that aren’t working for you?
So you can try out new tactics that work for you, because your perfect, dream clients are out there waiting for you.
Please stop wasting time on stuff that’s not getting the results you want, because your dream clients need you.
Want to (finally) understand who your ideal client is?
This free (and highly detailed) cheat sheet gives you 5 simple, step-by-step strategies to help you get to know your dream clients.
(AND gives you a shot of confidence so you can bring in your ideal clients consistently!) Click here to get the complimentary cheat sheet 5 Essential Steps to Know Your Dream Clients. You’ll also get updates to my blog with lessons, insights, and tips. You can unsubscribe anytime.
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