As small business owners, it is important to know who your ideal customer is and understand what exactly it is they need. We hear it all the time, but do we really understand what it means?
Luke and I have recently been working on building the profile for our ideal client for our education side of the business. This client is obviously different from our brides and grooms, and we recently had to clarify regarding our marketing demographic.
We are still in the process of building our avatar for the education platform. However, we are taking the same approach as we did when we built our avatars for our photography business.
The wedding industry as a whole focuses hard on the bride. This makes sense because the bride is doing most of the planning; she has been dreaming of this day since she was a little girl. When you think of weddings, the bride is usually one of the first things that comes to mind.
We knew though that we wanted to give the groom an identity as well. We didn’t want to focus on one and not the other. This is why we built a profile for our ideal couple. While doing some research, I would find simple questions to ask yourself while building your ideal client. FStoppers has a great article on How To Discover Your Ideal Photography Client. It is a very informative article, but I wanted to take it a little bit farther.
While thinking about who these people were, I began to think of some of our favorite couples. The ones whom Luke and I related to on a level where we were not just a hired, trusted vendor, but also friends. The ones who were so excited to have us capture their day and be there to celebrate their union. I began listing our favorites, and after analyzing the couples I saw many similarities: similar professions, attitudes, and hearts of generosity.
We wanted more clients just like the ones we had on this list. We wanted more client interactions that were fun, exciting, and genuine. So we began to mesh these personalities and stories together and BAM! This is what we came up with!
( Yes we did create bitmojis for them! )
Disclaimer: This is a fictional story with fictional characters. We created this story to help us put a face and identity to our ideal customers.
Ryan and Kayla have been dating for three years. She is a full time nursing student at the local hospital and he is working on his MBA. Their time together is precious, since they do not get much of it due to their hectic schedules. When asked how they met, they both recall it was at a mutual friend’s BBQ get together. It was a gorgeous summer day that had a nice breeze blowing in. Everyone was having a great time. Little did they know that their friends, Alyssa and Jake, who were hosting the BBQ, were convinced that these two had to meet! Ryan was a long time friend of both of them, and was the best man in their wedding. Alyssa had met Kayla through their nursing program. Kayla was genuine, driven, and the kindest person Alyssa had ever met. When she met Kayla, Ryan immediately came to Alyssa’s mind, because their personalities and demeanors were so similar. She convinced Kayla to come to the BBQ where she knew Ryan would be, and the rest is history…
The recollection on who made the first move is pretty blurry but…
Ryan fell hard for Kayla. He remembers when he first saw her, with her beautiful blond hair and very flattering summer dress. He says he almost dropped his drink when she walked onto the back patio.
Kayla remembers Ryan approaching her, and immediately their conversation felt at ease. She remembers this cute guy making her laugh, and she felt like she was with an old friend.
Ryan knew right away that Kayla was “The One”. He knew that he had to hold on tight to this girl because she was driven, focused, and determined to achieve her dreams. She was also passionate about his dreams and encouraged him as he finished his MBA.
Even though Ryan knew that Kayla was the one, he didn’t want to rush things. With her in nursing school and him pursing his degree, he didn’t want a wedding to be a distraction. So he cheered her on and waited oh so patiently. In their three years of being together, they took the time to travel, go on adventures when time allowed, and even rescued two pups from the shelter together! These experiences drew them closer together, and their love only continued to grow.
It was the week after her graduation. Ryan was so proud of her. All of her hard work had paid off, and she had gotten her dream job right away! He knew that she was a force to be reckoned with, and he wanted to be along for the ride for the rest of their lives. He couldn’t wait any longer.
Knowing that even though Kayla has an amazing personality, she thrives on quiet time and introspection, Ryan knew that she would much prefer a quiet proposal rather than a big celebration. This fit him as well, since he is not one to be the center of attention. With her parents’ blessing, he began to plan the perfect proposal for the love of his life.
Thinking they were going to have dinner with Alyssa and Jake at their house, Kayla, unbeknownst to her, was on her way to meet all of them for a night of relaxation and fun. When she arrived, the door had a note that said, “Come on in, we are in the back.” It was quieter than usual, and as Kayla made her way to the back, she could hear soft music coming from the yard. As she turned the corner, twinkling lights embraced her from all sides. She remembers it being so beautiful and how it immediately felt so romantic. As she looked around, she found Ryan standing there looking at her with a smile on his face. As she approached, he slowly bent down and professed his love for her. She said it was the perfect night and one that she will always hold dear.
The two of them are now knee-deep in wedding planning. They have decided on an outdoor local venue overlooking the water. Their biggest desire is to create an atmosphere where all their friends and family will have a good time. Ryan and Kayla are searching for a photographer that can work with their vision and make them feel at ease. They understand they will be spending a lot of time with their photographers, so finding a team that they can relate to and feel comfortable with is high on their list. Both of them know that they want a husband and wife team, because they love the idea of having both male and female represent the day. They also want images that tell the whole story of the day in a timeless way.
I know it’s possible that I took this ideal customer profile a little too far. I mean, creating a whole story takes much imagination and thought process!
As photographers, we are storytellers. We thrive on stories and we relate to stories. Answering a bunch of questions doesn’t really do much for us when we are trying to relate to a person. We needed to create more. This is why we created a backstory. It was something we could relate to. We put a face on our ideal client.
Everything that we share on social media, on our website, and our brand as a whole, leads us to ask ourselves, “Would Ryan and Kayla approve?” With them being the “poster couple”, and them being the kind of couple that we want to attract, we want to be sure that we are actually doing things that would attract them.
The picture below is actually the picture on the homepage of our website. Luke recently asked me why I specifically chose this image. Well, the reason is simple! Our ideal customer LOVES dogs! They rescued two of them and will probably find a way to incorporate them in their wedding. When our couples see this image on our home page, they immediately feel drawn to us.
This is just one example of how we use this couple as a filter for everything we post.
When creating your ideal customer profile, it is easy to have the FOMO syndrome. This means that by getting specific in your targeting methods, you fear that you will miss out on something or someone else. Unfortunately, you cannot be everything to everyone.
However, it is when we focus that we can make a deeper connection with our preferred audience.
It has helped us stay consistent in our branding and our message across all platforms.
We believe that creating an ideal customer profile will help you get focused on who to target and what exactly your brand stands for. I understand that creating a story for your ideal client might not come easily for you. It took some time on our end as well! So, I have created a play by play guide with prompts that will help guide you as you begin to shape your customer into someone to whom you can relate.
As we continue on in our branding series, we would love to hear your progress on your own branding journey! Share below if you have an ideal client, and if so, have you ever thought about creating an in-depth story about them? We would love to hear your thoughts!
And you can also join the conversation in our private Facebook Group!
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