Question - When did you last Google yourself?
We’re not narcissistic creatures here at A&D, but we are realists. And in order to have a realistic understanding of your brand’s online presence, you need to pop your name and your business into a search engine pretty regularly. So go on, take a deep breath and prepare yourself for the good, the bad and the downright ugly. Fingers crossed there’s nothing that falls into that last category, but you never know - or rather, you don’t unless you Google...
Don’t forget to log out of your Google accounts and don’t look past page two (when was the last time you did that in real life?) OK, now it’s time to rationalise your findings. What have you found that’s good - and by good, we mean representative, high-quality and consistently on-brand? And what’s not so good? Remember, no news is not necessarily good news for a small biz - OK, so there might not be any dodgy photographs of you falling out of a club in Magaluf or your cringeworthy emo poetry online for all to see, but turning up no relevant search results also means that you’re invisible to your target market. Doh!
And here’s a related point - when judging what’s ‘good’ and ‘bad’, you need to not only use your own internal gauge, but also the imagined yardstick of your ideal client. In other words, how does your business measure up in the eyes of the people you want to promote yourself to? Because at the end of the day, it’s their view, not yours, that really counts.
So let’s think about that client - the one you dream of, the one you see snippets of on Instagram, Twitter accounts, in the supermarket and think, ‘YOU, yes YOU, I want YOU to be the person who books my services/buys my product/looks at my website at thinks ‘Woah man, this is GOOD.’ And when I say think about, I mean really think about them. Get under their skin and inside their head. Do the mother of all mind-mapping activities and consider everything about that perfect person, from their age-range and gender to their favourite coffee shop, books and boxset of choice. It might not seem immediately important to know whether the guy you’d like to sell to prefers Game of Thrones to McMafia, but believe me, every little helps.
Now go back to what you found online with your Googling exercise with this ideal client in mind. How do you look to them? How can you adapt and refine your content - your blog, free resources, special offers and so on - to get them sitting up, paying attention and clicking links?
Well, here are some ideas to get you started:
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again - the delete button is your friend. It’s not cheating, it’s curating. Think of yourself as the custodian to your own private collection of artwork. Which ones do you really want up on the gallery wall?
How do your findings fit with your own analytics? Did you get great engagement on an Instagram post scheduled for 7am but weren’t really sure why? Um, could it be that your ideal client includes women on maternity leave who just so happen to have an early morning wakeup call every morning? Investigate connections between the stats that are available to you and the life patterns of the people you’re targeting.
Stick your ‘Ideal Client’ thoughts up somewhere you can see it regularly. Read and re-read it until it becomes an internal script. Everything you produce in terms of content, services, offers and social media posts should have this person at the forefront of your mind.
Be patient and don’t panic. Real, authentic, meaningful growth takes time, but it’s worth it. Also, don’t think that by focusing on one particular ideal client that you’re missing out on swathes of other people who might be interested in your business - you’ll continue to attract non-ideal-but-still-pretty-darn-good-clients through this marketing strategy. We promise.
And a final disclaimer: these exercises are about honing your presence, but they’re not about being disingenuous. Thinking about your ideal client is a way of working out what’s really important to you and your business - figuring out the kind of people that you enjoy working with the most and how to get - and keep them - on board with your brand. You’re placing the client at the centre, which is what all smart businesses should do, but the foundation is you - your talents, your abilities and your desire to work with like-minded folk.