What is an “Ideal Customer”?
We have heard the term “Ideal Customer” in many environment and before knowing exactly how to call it, we referred it to the “Perfect Client”. Names aside, an “Ideal Customer” is exactly what you expect: the customer you would like to have in front of your camera every day of your life. One of the most important thing to understand is that your “Ideal Customer” most probably won’t be our one, because our business are different, because the stage of our careers are different, or simply because our liking are different and the traits that make a person “perfect” to us, are not those you may love. Copying it from another photographer is like copying your friend’s favourite food: it is wiser to have opinions and personal taste, otherwise you may end up with a dish you may not like!
How can you define your “Ideal Customer”?
Defining yours should be a fun and creative process, that involves a lot of details and some daydreaming. Where to start? I always find that giving her a name is highly beneficial: it makes her more real. Is your Alice, Helen or Irina? Now that she is someone you can relate to, you can start defining who you would LOVE to photograph. Do you like to photograph models with perfect bodies, or are you more into customers with gentle curves or maybe you want to attract women who are interested in being photographed with their partners?
We believe that the key elements to identify your “Ideal Customer” lie in understanding who you are. Do you like few selected customers to pamper and on whom to invest a lot of time, or would you rather have many different ones who need less attentions?
Be Specific, write (yes, you have to write it down) about her daily routine, what flavour of ice cream she likes, what she loves reading and what she does in her mornings, afternoons and evenings. Write to yourself what she does for living and why she would love to be photographed by you.
Be realistic and draw her as detailed as you can, in order to know her as she was your best friend.
Always aim at the moon; even if you miss, you will still be amongst the stars!
Identifying your “Ideal Customer” is of key importance for your marketing, because from the moment you will have realised clearly who she is you will be able to start writing to her from the pages of your blog, you will be able to start showing her the photos she likes, the outfits she dreams and the experience that she is ready to invest on.
…but there is something much more important than that…
Knowing where she spends her money (because if you have spent enough time defining her you will know this) will allow you to approach those businesses and start finding a way to create a venture to better serve those customers together!
Don’t ask where you can find new customers: go in the places you know they go.
Why should you always talk to your “Ideal Customer”?
You may have noticed that on our website we speak to two separate persons: on Tuesdays we speak to photographers, while on Thursdays we speak to women. This is because our business is split between photographing women and teaching photography. For this reason we have two different “Ideal Customer” but whenever we write something we have in mind either one or the other. Do you know why is that?
Imagine you want to talk about what you are doing, but you are blindfolded and you have no idea who your interlocutor is. I imagine you would not be very confident and you would not be able to address specifics in your talk. What if you are talking about the physical difficulties of pregnancy to a “bloke”, or if you gave for granted what ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed are with a dentist.
To know how to better focus your work, you need to know who you want to talk to.
How can you attract your “Ideal Customer”?
Knowing and talking to her will make sure that your blog will start getting known for your content exactly to her. If you are talking to Alice about the fact that having insecurities about her body is something natural and that your photography never focus on those, but on the features she loves about herself, then the first of the Alices who will find your blog will start reading it with interest and will not bounce away. She will be the recurring reader on you blog because she will feel you are talking to her and she will be much more inclined to become one of your customers, not just a reader.
Something else to remember is that she have friends, and because people tend to befriend who is similar to them, then they will be other “Ideal Customer” and she will talk about you to them.
What you have to realise is that you draw the definition of who your “Ideal Customer” is! You will then be able to take an informed decision on where to focus your efforts, stop shooting in the dark in the hope of finding new customers.
How to deal with customers who are not your “Ideal Customer”?
Of course we don’t always land customers who are similar to our “Ideal Customer” and when it happen we think carefully if to bring her in front of our lenses. Yes, we decide who our customers will be. If we feel a customer will not enjoy the Experience with us, it is better for both that she finds another Boudoir photographer. We want our customer to speak highly of us, and if they will not be satisfied by our Experience, they will not speak highly of us. Some of them may even transform in the opposite of an “Ideal Customer”, in a “Client from Hell” who will not respect your work, who will hassle you forever for every reason and that will make you regret taking her money.
Be wise, Be yourself and remember that you can’t be the perfect photographer for everybody, so keep in mind that if someone wants to hire you despite they don’t love what you do… saying “Sorry, I am not the right photographer for you” may be a smart move.