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Why Targeting “Brides” Does You No Favors

Guest Blog Post by Heidi Thompson, Evolve Your Wedding Business

If you’re like most wedding professionals, you target brides and grooms. And that makes sense, right? But your ideal client is a whole and multidimensional person. Many of the problems that arise when wedding professionals inaccurately market their businesses come from not having an understanding of who their ideal client is as a whole person.

Your ideal client is not just a bride or a groom. He or she is a whole human being with an entire life outside of wedding planning that consists of individual values, hopes, dreams, fears, hobbies, and life experiences. He or she is filling the role of bride or groom at this moment, but ultimately, that is not his or her identity as a person.

We often silo our clients and look at them as just a bride or just a groom, and they’re not just that. Until you truly understand who they are as human beings, it’s very difficult to market to them effectively. Their role in a wedding isn’t who they are as a person, and marketing has to appeal to personal values. There’s nothing value-based that comes from just being in the role of a bride or a groom. So instead of thinking of them as just this weird siloed off demographic, I want you to think of them as a whole person, a unique person, as a friend.

Most professionals in the wedding industry are too vague with defining their ideal client, and that’s why standard, generic ideal client exercise doesn’t work for them. The way they describe their ideal client is broad, and if you are guilty of doing this, it may be because you simply don’t yet have the level of detail needed to clearly describe your ideal client— which is okay because that’s what I’m going to help you figure out.

I want you to identify exactly who your client is.

If there’s someone you worked with previously and you’d like to clone them and work with them over and over again, I want you to dig into who they are. If you went out for a beer with them what would you talk about? What would they say? I want you to describe them like you’re talking about one of your friends. What do they like to talk about? What do they geek out on? That’s the stuff that matters. It sounds trivial, but I promise you that these are the details that will help you effectively define and market to your ideal client.

If you know your ideal client is obsessed with Game of Thrones, you can work that into your marketing, and suddenly you are so much more attractive because they feel like you get them. The goal is to eliminate uncertainty and become specific about who you serve.

An effective way to define and become clear on your ideal client is to identify a few actual people and use their combined characteristics to create an ideal client profile. Why can’t we just go with the vague ideas we have about this person in our heads? Well, as my father always told me, don’t just assume because it makes an ass out of you and me (ass+u+me). Who wants that?

Getting specific doesn’t actually mean that you limit yourself even though that’s what it might feel like. In fact, it can make you the go-to person for your ideal client as well as people who share a lot with your ideal clients.

If you’re just another wedding planner or photographer in your city, then couples are going to compare you to everyone else. Now, if you’re the go-to photographer for tattoo-loving couples who read Offbeat Bride and give the middle finger to tradition, or the go-to planner for couples who are Americans, often the children of immigrants, and they really value their Hispanic heritage and they want to incorporate that part of their identity into their wedding, you put yourself in your own category.

Suddenly you’re not just a photographer or a planner. You’re the clear best choice for your ideal client. There’s the vanilla that is everyone else, and then there’s you.

That doesn’t mean you’re only allowed to work with your hyper focused ideal client. If a prospective client loves your work and you love them back, even though they aren’t 100% on target with who your ideal client is, that’s okay! It’s your business, and you can make the decision to work with them or not.

For example, I went to a conference called The Boss Mom Retreat, and it’s one of the best events I’ve ever been to. I am not a mom, but I love everything the brand, and the founder, Dana Malstaff, stands for. I can relate to the Boss Mom brand and I knew that I wanted to be at that event and I’m so happy that I attended. I may not be Dana’s exact ideal client, but if she hadn’t positioned herself as the go-to mentor for boss moms, a description I kept hearing from my boss mom friends, I would have never known she existed.

If you’re the go-to photographer for tattoo-loving couples who read Offbeat Bride and give the middle finger to tradition but one couple you attract doesn’t have any tattoos, you can decide to work with them if you’d like.

Just like if you’re the go-to planner for couples who are Americans, often the children of immigrants, that really value their Hispanic heritage and a white girl like me wants to work with you because I’m in love with all things Mexican and I know you’re going to fulfill my vision, you can decide to do that.

Setting yourself apart attracts your perfect ideal clients as well as those more fringe but still awesome clients.

So who do you want to be the go-to person for?

When you market your business, you’re going to talk to that person, and as a result, you will attract those perfect clients. Do you see why your ideal client is so important?

All of the marketing in the world can’t for the lack of understanding your ideal client. Who they are and what they value drive everything from the words and images you use on your site, to what you post on social media to how you work with them.

Defining and understanding your ideal client is a critical piece of your marketing strategy. Do not pass go, do not collect $200 if you don’t have a deep understanding of your ideal client. Spending marketing dollars and valuable time on specifically targeted marketing strategies focused on your ideal clients is far more efficient and effective than marketing to no one in particular and hoping that something sticks. Hope-based marketing is a waste of your time and your money.

I know that getting inside the head of your ideal client can be hard work.

That’s why I wrote Clone Your Best Clients. It’s a book that shows you how to better understand your very best clients and attract more clients just like them. If you want to work with more of your ideal clients and take the guesswork out of your marketing, this book is for you. You can get the Kindle version for just $.99 from May 9th-12th and if you purchase the book before May 23rd and forward your receipt to me by email, you’ll get access to a readers-only Q&A with me where you can ask any questions you have. Pick up your copy of Clone Your Best Clients!