Know your audience.
You probably heard this a million times before. It’s what they tell you when you’re writing or prepping for a speech. It’s a basic tip in almost all industries, especially in the fields of sales, marketing and advertising. Yup, though it’s cliché as heck, it’s a sage piece of advice that has stood the test of time. And the same rings true when it comes to the coaching business.
Does the term Ideal Client Avatars (ICA) or Buyer Personas ring a bell? In the coaching industry, as in any business, it is crucial to understand your clients and prospects deep down.
Coaches use ICAs as guide to learn more about the people they are marketing to – their wants, needs, joys, pains and struggles. ICAs are fictional entities that characterize the behaviors, challenges, needs and goals of a coach’s ideal customers. ICAs are a combination of market research, psychology and empathy to get to know an ideal client better.
So what makes ICAs so important to your coaching business?
If you’re someone who is new to the coaching business, you might be wondering why you need to make ICAs. ICAs help coaches niche down their target market. You might think you know your clients but making assumptions without hard evidence and relying solely on gut feeling can cost your business a fortune.
You need to nail down your niche so you can set your business apart from competitors.
What makes your business or your services so special and unique that clients and prospects can relate to? Simply telling your clients “you’re the best” and asking them to “just trust me on this one” doesn’t exactly sound convincing.
You’ll only be able to figure out what makes your business special and unique once you know your customers well.
Still need more convincing before you finally start working on your ICAs? Here’s a list that I personally found helpful when I was just starting out in my coaching business – a list that gave me a better grasp of the values of ICAs.
All my apprehensions on making ICAs were wiped out because of these reasons:
Build long-term and sustainable business relationship with clients
Because ICAs try to dig deep into the behaviors, feelings and thoughts of ‘perfect’ clients, coaches are able to intimately understand them better.
As a result, this allows the coach to build a deep level of trust and confidence from clients that ultimately lead to more meaningful and long-term business relationships.
According to a research done by HuTrust®, here are some of the findings when it comes to trusting a brand:
- 83% will recommend it to other people
- 82% will use its products and services frequently
- 78% will give its new products and services a chance
- 50% will pay more for its products and services
Improve customer engagement
ICAs give clients and prospects an avenue to tell you who they are and what they hate and love. You can use the information you’ve collected to create content that provides a sense of connectedness and relatability that inspire positive engagement.
ICAs also help improve customer service experiences by bringing in more “personality” to it.
So instead of having a boring and one-size-fits-all approach in helping out customers, you can create a more personal approach that really understands your customers’ needs.
Help you stand out so you can sell out
In a world full of coaches that offer a ‘similar thing’ to what you do, your uniqueness is what will set you apart.
As I’ve mentioned earlier, if you’re trying to sell to everyone, you’ll sell to no one.
What ICAs do is they help you find your core clients and their core problems.
From there, you can build solutions that specifically address their needs and desires. Digging deep into your ideal clients’ problems can help you craft solutions that these ideal clients are exactly looking for.
In Eugene Schwartz’s Classic Breakthrough Advertising, he mentions something very powerful when it comes to clients’ desires:
Let’s get to the heart of the matter. The power, the force, the overwhelming urge to own that makes advertising work, comes from the market itself, and not from the copy. Copy cannot create desire for a product. It can only take the hopes, dreams, fears and desires that already exists in the hearts of millions of people, and focus those already existing desires onto a particular product. This is the copy writer’s task: not to create this mass desire – but to channel and direct it.
Put simply, it means you can’t change what the crowd wants. You can only tap into the desires that already exist in your customers’ minds and amplify it. So the better you know your ideal customer, the easier it is for you to channel these existing problems and desires, and create a product or service they truly want.
Create highly targeted content
ICAs guide you in the writing and designing process. Knowing your ideal clients deep down will help you tailor your writing and designing styles to your specific clients’ needs.
In terms of writing, ICAs can provide keywords that you can include in your writings to make the contents more personal, conversational, powerful and effective.
Take out the bad apples
These are the people you want to avoid like a plague and don’t want as customers.
Now, I know that may be the last thing you want to hear, especially if you’re a new coach who’s just starting out, I can already hear you yelling at me from the other side of the computer screen: “but I neeeed clients! I just want to work with absolutely anyone who’s willing to pay me!”.
Before you get upset at me, please hear me out.
ICAs help you segment customers which in turn help you decide whether you would want a certain group as a client or not.
Maybe your core values are not aligned to theirs, maybe your products and services would not work for certain types of personas, or maybe you find some types of people draining and difficult to work with, just because you two are so different and well, incompatible. It’s like going out on that awkward first date and despite best efforts from both of you, the conversation just didn’t quite flow and you two just didn’t click. And it was neither one’s fault (yes, we’ve all been there!).
ICAs help you identify what they look like, so you can spot them from a mile away.
That way your marketing efforts can be much more focused, and you can avoid spending too much time, resources and energy trying to create content or build products and services based on personas you don’t want to attract.
Improve brand recognition
ICAs help you get recognized immediately after clients see you.
What’s on your mind when I mention Apple, Uber and AirBnb? You immediately know what these companies are and who they cater to, right? They are so popular that even if you don’t use their products and services you still know who they are and what they do.
You’re aware of their brands because they have effectively niched down their customers by creating unique products and services that are most likely based on the ICAs they made.
Are you ready to finally develop your ICAs? Before ditching the idea of making ICAs and thinking it’s just a waste of time and energy, think of the things you’ll miss out on. The more you understand your customers and prospects, the better your message will get across the right people because it’s targeted, which ultimately leads to greater customer loyalty and retention, and prosperity.
Need any help building your ICAs? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to get your free PDF guide on how to build your perfect ICA today!