How to Profitably Serve More Than One Type of Ideal Client

Michelle Hunter by Michelle Hunter

The smart way to balance different client types

Profitability

Standard marketing and business logic guides us to align our messaging and offers around the needs of a single ideal client profile. This strategy creates consistency in our marketing efforts and sets the stage for maximum growth and profitability. Why? Because it eliminates confusion and many of the variables that drain a business of valuable resources and energy. 

Great strategy, but one that is difficult for some people to implement because they want to serve more than one type of ideal client and struggle to choose just one. 

Do any of these situations sound familiar?

  • You have two or more great ideas that don’t seem to fit together, but are equally exciting and full of potential. 
  • Your product or service benefits more than one group of people or is helpful in situations that are not well-aligned. 
  • You enjoy serving clients in multiple ways as a “jack or jill of all trades.”

If you’re struggling to align your business around a single ideal client profile, you’re in the right place. I have suggestions to help you handle a bit of variation both profitably and efficiently so you can get the best possible results.

Select ideal clients on a similar business journey. 

One option for protecting your efficiency and profitability is to select ideal clients who are on a similar business journey. Rather than narrowing your ideal client down to a single industry, focus on the business model or structure. 

Freelancers, for example, have similar business needs regardless of the services they provide. A freelance web designer serves clients on a project basis. So do freelance IT support people, freelance copywriters, and even freelance business consultants and coaches. All these people need accounting services, marketing strategy, and even administrative services delivered in a way that aligns with a project-based business. 

Similarly, those who make products and sell them online or in local shops share certain needs your business might be prepared to address – regardless of the type of products made or the way those products are sold. The key here is to expand the ideal client profile to look beyond the demographic detail of industry and personal profile to consider the business model, buying cycle, and context for the work you do. 

Align your offer (product/service) around a common point of need shared by more than one industry or ideal client. Then streamline your delivery to fit all the clients you serve in a profitable way. 

Create offers that naturally lead into one another. 

One of my favorite strategies for serving multiple ideal clients in a profitable way involves creating a growth path for clients within my business. This approach serves the same ideal client at different points in their business life… from new and growing to established and solid… and offers value that speeds the progress from one level to the next. 

In my business, for example, my signature offer is 1:1 marketing strategy, delivered virtually over a period of weeks OR delivered in an intense 4-5 day workshop on-site at a business or organization with the assembled team. This is a great fit for an established entrepreneur or organization who has reached a type of plateau and wants to break through to a higher level of revenue, market share, or impact. It’s a great offer… but it’s not for everyone. 

New businesses have different needs. They need systems for generating leads, creating content, or getting noticed online. They need refined messaging for their websites and marketing material. They benefit from business strategy to create profitability and help them develop new offers. Realistically, they aren’t ready for my signature offer… they have some growing to do yet.  (They are a slightly different ideal client profile.)

So, I offer services to help them grow and develop- things like blog strategy creation, offer development coaching, and basic marketing strategy or sales funnel creation. These offers are positioned for people in this audience… and they help these clients grow into the right fit for my signature offer. 

You can likely implement a similar strategy in your business. Start by asking yourself how you might help someone who isn’t quite right for your main offer to develop into your ideal client? How can you guide them and nurture them with offers that meet their current needs and help them grow into a need for your current offers? 

Same solutions applied differently based on ideal client.

Typically, we think efficiency comes from serving the same type of client over and over. This is true, but there’s a variant that can be equally effective – – > applying the same process, method, or service offering to different clients with no modification (or only minimal adjustment). The efficiency comes from the repetition of the process, rather than a deep understanding of a particular client type. 

For example, a client of mine has a proven process she uses to streamline operating systems for the people she serves. The process works seamlessly, regardless of the business type. She is efficient at delivering her work and the process is profitable. This allows her to serve all kinds of clients without any disruption. The client type changes, but her process is the same every time. 

So, what does this do to her marketing conversation? She handles the variation in client type by adjusting the starting point of the conversation (the felt need) to account for the various needs of her audience. Not sure what I’m talking about? Learn more about the marketing conversation here. 

In this case, her process is designed to streamline operating systems. In order to market to multiple types of clients, she brainstormed ways individual clients might feel when dealing with complex operating systems. A creative entrepreneur might feel overwhelmed and concerned that he is missing important details. Traditional service businesses (such as plumbers or mechanics) might feel they are spending too much time on administrative work and too little time on the more profitable work that generates revenue. 

Once she speaks to the pain point (the opening part of the marketing conversation), the rest of her message is identical – – > Your operating processes are costing you time and money. You need a streamlined system. My proven approach can simplify things for you and save you time and money. Let’s talk. The complexity in this model is in the marketing messaging, not in the way she serves her clients. Once they agree to work with her, things are easily repeatable and extremely profitable. 

Can you apply this to your business? Possibly. Think about the work you do with clients. Do you have a repeatable system? Could you easily create one? 

Protect your profitability by removing variation wherever possible. 

Think back to the early days of your business. In the excitement of serving clients, you likely created multiple offers based entirely on the needs of the people who reached out to you. After a time, however, this flexibility actually hinders your ability to generate sustainable revenue.  In order to protect your profitability and build consistent, sustainable revenue, I recommend you reflect on your business model and remove variation wherever possible. By shifting your business model (and your mindset) in this way, you’ll set yourself up for increased revenue generation and growth. 

Interested in making your current growth rate sustainable? Let’s talk about how you can refine your marketing message to increase lead generation and revenue. 

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