How do you determine who makes a good prospect? How do you communicate your offering to them? Where do you spend your resources to promote your business?

You start by determining your ideal client profile(s).

You may have already decided on a target audience but if they do not align with your ideal client profile, it is most likely that your products/services will not meet their needs and they will not be returning customers.

What is an ideal client profile?

In short, an ideal client profile is a composite or an aggregate of the qualities, values, demographics and behaviours of your best customers, including their current challenges, frustrations or problems, developed to better understand who you are serving. This can be imagined if you are just starting out.

The ultimate goal of an ideal client profile is to provide clarity of  how your solution (product/service) addresses their challenges and how you might assist them in meeting their goals and solving their problems.

Indeed, you may have more than one ideal client profile depending on the types of services or products you offer.

Why is an ideal client profile necessary?

First of all, it helps you focus on who you need to be targeting, not just who you’d like to be targeting and it keeps you and your team on track and motivated towards how to best serve this specific group of people.

It also focuses and helps you customize your marketing investment and allows you to then further segment your customer base for more effective results. This can include email campaigns, product offers, social media campaigns, etc.

How do you create an ideal client profile?  

The ticket is to identify high spend customers and pinpoint similarities and trends. We suggest interviewing a few returning customers that you feel comfortable with. From there, conduct surveys to see what your customers like and appreciate about your business. Talk to your sales team and determine what is working from a analytics perspective and why.

It’s also important to understand negative personas.  A negative persona is one that you do not want to attract or work with. This might include people whose values and desired outcomes do not align with what you offer. Sometimes it’s easier to consider what you don’t want to build what you do want.

Here’s an example of a profile for a personal trainer who offers in-home or online services:

Jane is a 35 year old mother of two toddlers who works fulltime in an office, and sits in front of her computer for most of the day. She wants to feel better about herself (getting back to pre-baby shape), be able to keep up with her kids and not feel so tired all the time. She would like to start working out but doesn’t have a lot of time, nor does she know what to do on her own. She is overwhelmed by all of the different programs on the internet. Jane has tried the gym but prefers being in the comfort of her own home, especially with COVID. She knows she needs clear direction, a plan to follow and a workout buddy or someone to hold her accountable. She is willing to pay between $100 and $200 per month towards achieving her fitness goals.

The personal trainer may indeed have other ideal client profiles. For example, a 65 year old man named Larry who’s doctor has prescribed exercise and a healthier diet in order to live a happy life. Or perhaps a 23 year old athlete named Lucy who is training for an upcoming competition and whose parents have offered to hire a coach for one on one training.

Each ideal client profile should be targeted differently, according to their needs and their budget. This means developing specific plans and specific marketing strategies for each. We suggest starting with only a few and then branching out slowly as you do not want to confuse your audience or dilute your mission statement.

By recognizing your ideal client profiles you will then be able to refine your product or service offering, build clear messaging and create a strong engagement campaign for that client type. 

How do you build your ideal client profile? Here’s a step by step.

First, as mentioned above, collect your customer data. Again, this can include customer interviews, surveys and meetings with your sales team.

Second, find patterns in the data in the following categories: background, demographics, values, goals, challenges.

Third, put this data into an easy-to-read template or table. Group the data according to similarities.

Fourth, identify which of your products or services fit with the each group – each persona. There may indeed only be one.

Fifth, test it with prospects or clients. Compare to make sure that you have the right definition.

Last, make sure to communicate your ideal client profiles to all of your employees and anyone who handles your customer engagement responsibilities, including social media managers, graphic designers, website developers and writers.

From here, a future article will explain how to use your ideal client profile to develop or refine marketing messaging and identify where to spend your time and budget.


Looking for a little support in determining your ideal client profile? We are here to help! Contact us at