If you are feeling disappointed by a lack of inquiries or leads that don’t convert, your marketing strategy might need a boost. If you are like most, you might be wondering where do you start? Well, that’s easy…you start at Step 1 — define your your ideal photography client.
Whether you are just about to launch your dream photography business or you are a seasoned pro, identifying and understanding your ideal photography client is important. It is the foundation for creating effective marketing that attracts your dream client, resonates with them and ultimately gets them to book with you.
This post is packed with a lot of good stuff for laying the foundation for a strong and effective marketing strategy. You will find the following:
- What is an Ideal Client Avatar (ICA)?
- Why is identifying your ICA important?
- How do you identify your Ideal Client Avatar?
- 5 Steps to Create Your Ideal Client Avatar
- How do you use this info to attract your ideal client?
What is an Ideal Client Avatar (ICA)?
Your Ideal Client Avatar is ONE single person that represents your PERFECT customer.
Have you ever noticed a commercial that seemed to speak directly to you? Did you feel like the company knew exactly what you were thinking and exactly what you needed? You were likely their ideal client and that messaging was developed with you in mind.
Effective marketing messaging will do this. It will speak to you, inspire you and it will call you to act. In order to create messaging like this you need to define your ideal customer avatar, or your ideal photography client. You need to understand their pain points, what motivates them and ultimately you need to know who they aspire to be. You need to understand what it is that they are seeking as a solution.
There is a perfect client for you. There are lots of photographers but no one else does it the way you do it…you need to define your client so you can talk to them and attract them
Why is identifying your ICA important?
This is an easy step to want to skip over when it comes to marketing your business. As a family photographer, your ideal client avatar may feel obvious or simple, but challenge yourself to invest your time here. Defining your ICA is very important for the following reasons:
Reason # 1: You need to know how to talk to them! Your ICA will be a reference point for all your marketing messaging.
When it is time to write any copy targeted for your audience, whether it is an Instagram post a website header or an e-newsletter, your messing needs to speak to your ICA directly. You want to avoid generic messaging that could apply to a general audience. It will not attract the type of clients you want.
“When you speak to everyone, you speak to no one.”
If you are just starting out, you may want be anxious to take on all types of work. For the sake of generating income when needed, this is OK, but you do not want to market yourself this way. You want to define what your dream customer looks like, the one that you want to work with year after year. Once you have this information, you use them as a reference to target all your captions, headlines, emails speaking directly to them.
Reason # 2: You need to understand them in order to offer a solution to their problem.
By knowing your ideal photography client, you are able to serve their needs to a higher degree. You know their struggles and their fears and with this, you can tailor your solution to serve their needs completely. It will be as if you read their mind.
For example, if your ICA is a busy mom with very little time, craft your service and messaging to simplify the photo experience for her.
If your ICA is a mom that cherishes the little things in life, offer lifestyle sessions and craft your messaging to talk about how photos preserve little moments in life.
By knowing exactly who your customer is, you can tailor your offering and messaging to serve them best.
Reason # 3: You need to know who your ICA is in order to find them and get your message in front of them.
When you understand who your ICA is, you will also have an idea where to find them. This is invaluable when it comes to marketing your business. In order for your perfect message and perfect solution to be heard, it needs to be seen.
Is your ideal photography client a busy momma with little ones in preschool or daycare? Donating a session to a preschool would be a good investment. It would get you in front of the audience you desire.
Knowing where your ICA shops, where they spend their time online, what groups they belong too all contribute to giving you insight on the best way to reach them.
How do you identify your Ideal Client Avatar?
When you are first getting started, it’s possible that you may have not met your dream client. You may not know what they will look like yet. Here are three ways to begin identifying your ideal client avatar.
Create Your ICA from Scratch: If you haven’t met your dream customer yet, that isn’t uncommon. In this case, you can make them up. But do so cautiously and using your best judgement. Be realistic in your expectations and creating someone that would be a dream client but also a real person. AKA, do not dream up a unicorn!
Use Yourself as Your ICA: Often times, you may find that you or some version of your previous self represents your ideal client avatar. This is pretty common. We all do what we love and it’s usually because it’s something that has aligned with our lives at some point.
I became a photographer as a way to capture moments of my children as they grew. My hobby turned into a passion and turned into a career. My passion is helping other families slow down time and savor the moments that are so meaningful to them, just as I do for my own family. I am my ideal client avatar.
As a family photographer, you may relate to other mom’s that are desperately seeking for ways to slow life down. You can relate to their struggles of feeling like there is never enough time. If this feels like you, define your ICA using yourself as a reference.
Use a Dream Client for Your ICA: If you are lucky enough to be blessed with a client that you feel is your dream client, use this person as your ICA! Having a real person to reference will allow you to visualize and conceptualize your vision more clearly.
4 Steps to Create Your Ideal Client Avatar
Whether you are brand new and creating your first ICA, updating an existing ICA or looking to formally recognize and define your ideal client, the time to start is now. This is an important building block for creating truly compelling messages that will attract more clients.
Before this slips onto the backburner, challenge yourself to set aside some time to start defining your ICA in the next 24 hours. The journey of creating your ICA is a process but you need to start somewhere.
Step 1: Define your ICA’s characteristics.
This skims the surface of creating a profile for your avatar. It will give you some tangible characteristics of what they look like, where they live and what they do. Questions here would include… Are they male or female? Where do they shop? Are they married?
Step 2: What does your ICA fear?
Once you have a tangible description of your avatar, it’s time to start a deeper discovery. It’s time to figure out what it is that they fear most as it pertains to your service.
As a family photographer, so many parents struggle with the fact that life moves so fast. There are so many moments that are gone in a blink of an eye. They will often fear the passage of time and fear missing the moments that are happening now for example.
When you are crafting your headers or writing captions, point out how your photography helps solve their problem. Does your photography allow them to pause moments in life so they can remember them years from now?
Step 3: What motivates your ICA?
Now that you have a visual of your ICA and know what they struggle with, you want to know what motivates them. What would be something that would excite them and motivate them to work with you?
Do you offer lifestyle sessions that are easy for the busy family. Do you capture the in-between moments that parents feel are slipping away in the craziness of life? Identifying this will give you an idea of how to craft your messaging as a solution to their problem.
Step 4: Where do you find your ICA?
And lastly, how do you find your ICA? This will touch on the physical and digital ways to reach your ICA. Do they spend long days at the playground? When they browse social media, are they spending more time on Instagram or on Facebook? This type of stuff will help you navigate the most effective way to reach your ideal audience.
Let’s Get Started!
The process of identifying your Ideal Photography Client will be ongoing and it can and will change as your business evolves. But you need to start somewhere. By creating your ideal client avatar, you will be able to effectively find, attract and convert your ideal clients into paying customers with ease. Creating your marketing messaging will be easier to do, as you will have a person in mind as a reference every time you write copy. Identifying your ideal client avatar isn’t the most glamorous step but it is a critical foundation block in creating effective marketing and a profitable business.
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