One of the things I see a lot of freelancers struggling with (and I did too at the start) is getting their marketing all wrong because they don’t know who they’re talking to.
Remember, as freelancers, we are business owners, and there’s one thing I always do for businesses before I start creating content for them: get a better understanding of who they’re targeting.
When you fully understand the person who’s at the end of your marketing, you can serve them a more aligned message and position yourself in the best way as the best solution.
Get it wrong, and the prospects you’re reaching out to are going to think you don’t “get” them and, therefore, aren’t the right freelancer for them.
The easiest way to do this is to create a client person. While this might sound like a buzzword (I’ve seen it touted around a lot recently), it’s actually really useful.
There are three steps involved in creating a client persona.
1. Research Your Target Client
First of all, you have to have at least some kind of idea of the kind of clients you want to target. This might be clients that fall into a specific industry, like finance companies or SaaS brands or ecommerce companies, or it might be a certain sized business. For example, you might target independent high street stores, like florists, homeware stores, bakeries, etc.
Once you’ve got this top level idea, you can then start to dig a bit deeper.
One of the most powerful ways you can start to understand their wants and needs is by researching and researching a bit more.
Ideally, you could interview 3 or 4 of your best clients, but if you don’t have any clients or don’t want to reach out to them and ask this of them, you can research in other ways.
- Put together a survey on SurveyMonkey that asks how big their business is, how long they’ve been in business for, what kind of customers they target, and other questions that shed some light on their situation. You can then share the link to the survey on social media or via email to people you know that fall into your broad client radar.
- Do your own research by trawling websites of multiple different clients that you’d love to work with. Make a note of the kind of services they offer, what they’re talking about on social media, and any facts you can glean, like how many staff they have and the prices of their offerings.
- Hang out where these clients are hanging out and listen to what they’re talking about. For example, if you’re targeting small local businesses, you might join a local Facebook group for small businesses. While in there, keep an eye out for posts where they share their struggles or challenges.
2. Use Psychographic Information to Dig Deeper
The first part of the process involves getting to know the facts about the clients you’re targeting.
The next step is digging further into the mindset of these clients. Lots of people make the mistake of limiting their client personas to age, sex, location, and business type, but there’s so much more information you can uncover than this.
Think about it:
Want to target finance companies? Are you targeting traditional banks or startup money apps?
Both fall into the finance industry, but they will have very different visions and will want to be spoken to in very different ways. They’ll also have a very different set of struggles and challenges they need help with.
So, while it is good to know the facts about the businesses you’re targeting, you also want to know what makes them tick and what they really need help with.
- What is the biggest challenge in their business right now?
- Where are they now and where do they want to be in one year, five year, and ten years?
- What are their morals and do they support any particular causes?
- What do they enjoy doing in their spare time?
- What publications do they go to first thing in the morning?
- Which celebrities do they admire?
- What’s the most important thing to them?
These questions worm deeper into the mindset of your target clients and it means you’ll be able to position your messaging to align with the answers to these. As soon as you do, clients will be like “oh WOW, this persons “gets” me so much! I have to hire them right now!”
3. Create Your Client Persona
The final step is putting together your client persona. You’ve got all the valuable information you need, now you just have to wrap it all up in a neat little persona.
The best way to do this is to create 1 or 2 different personas that tackle different client mindsets. When I say “persona” here, I mean you really have to create a detailed description of one person. Give them a name, a job title, and even grab an image from Google to accompany it.
Then, whenever you create any kind of communication, whether it’s a social media post, a cold email, or your website copy, you’ll have this specific person in mind and you can treat it as if you’re speaking directly to them.
If you need help, HubSpot has a great persona creator that lists out some template questions and lets you pick an image for your personas.
Mission: Get Better Clients
This post forms part of my mission for March: to help freelancers get better paying, higher quality clients.
Here’s what you can do next:
- 👉 Join in the conversation over on Creative Freelancers Unite, a 4,500+ member strong community of freelancers from all walks of life.
- 👉 Grab your free 80+ page guide to becoming a successful freelancer