In the Workshop Butler How to Scale Your Knowledge Brand series we  are covering all the angles on how to get started with the launch of a  training or coaching company.

Erik Kerr, founder of The Draw Shop, defined marketing as:

What you say, and…
Who you say it to

And this week we’re touching on that very topic: who is your ideal  customer and what are you going to say to them once you’ve found them.  What’s more, how are you going to serve them efficiently once you’ve  hooked them.

Here are our four steps to attracting ideal customers and keeping them happy!

Step 1: Who is your ideal client?

It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, before you start spending  any money on marketing you need to identify your ideal customer. “I want  to attract everybody, everywhere,” is an unrealistic objective. You  can’t be everything to everyone. And marketing for the masses is for the  likes of global brands like McDonalds, and even they know their ideal  customer and market to them.

Doing competitive research can be demoralizing, when you see the  number of trainers already doing the exact same thing as you have  planned, and already rising high in terms of Google ranking.

Don’t be disheartened!

Competition is good. It’s an indicator that your business plan is a  good one. If there was absolutely no competition, you have to question  if there is a market for your proposition.

To make sure that you attract the right customers, you need to decide  on who you want to serve. Because your ideal customers should be just  that. Ideal.

Here are some questions you need to answer to help identify your ideal customer:

• Are you going to offer generalist or specialist training within your industry?

• What is the number one problem you can solve for your clients? How can your product help resolve their problem?

• What is your USP? What do you that sets you apart from the  competition? Sometimes this can be as simple as your personality. Your  clients book training with you because your enigmatic, funny or humble.  Fakers are not welcome in the training industry.

Survey existing customers & followers

One of the best ways to nail your ideal customer is to reach out to  previous customers or followers and ask them what they want. They should  be customers that you have enjoyed working with, because ideal  customers should satisfy you, as much as you satisfy them.

Tell them you are developing content with them in mind and would  welcome their feedback. You can ask for 30 minutes of their time in  return for a discount off future training, or for exclusive advance  access to content. Try it, it works, people love to talk about  themselves.

Step 2: What is the number one problem you can solve for your clients?

One of the most effective ways to identify your ideal customers, is to understand the pain points your training can reach.

Your marketing should always lead with a solution, to your client’s pain point. This is known as the ‘so that’ question:

“We empower employees to make decisions, so that you can get on with running the business.” This might target business owners who have problems delegating to  employees and are too caught up in the day-to-day running of their  business.

“We work with you to develop a company culture, that attracts the people you want to employ, and keeps them there.” This might target a business that finds it hard to employ the right people, and has a harder job retaining them.

1. Diagnose their pain point

2. Tell them what you are going to do, so that…

3. Their problem is cured

Step 3: Where are your customers hanging out?

You’re already doing great things with your horizontal and vertical  scaling strategy, so your ideal customers can reach out to you through  various channels. However, you want to see what they are up to, where  are they hanging out, and how can you reach out to them in their comfort  zone.

Research online behaviour

We’ve already discussed interviewing your existing customer-base to  identify your ideal clients. Why not use that moment to find out where  they like hanging out and connecting with peers? It’s likely that  potential ideal customers are doing the same.

Our ideal customers are often just like us, you can imagine what  their online habits are based on your own online footprint. Then work  strategically on how to reach those people through each channel.

Studying your own web analytics is key to researching the online  behaviour of customers. Finding out where they’ve come from, both  geographically and from where on the web, plus where they land, will  give you knowledge on what they are interested in reading, and the types  of channels they frequent.

Guest blog & comment

Back to our favourite topic: content. Once you know what your ideal  customers like to read about online and where they’re reading about it  (hopefully one place will be your blog), reach out and offer to guest  blog about topics that interest them.

In the early stages of your startup it’s also vital that you interact  on other sites through positive comments and feedback on articles. The  more you offer positive feedback and your own tips, the more your ideal  customers will start to notice you, in their world, and go off to find  out more about you.

Niche online groups

Similar to getting involved in guest blogging and comments on  industry blogs, signing up to a niche online group and getting notice,  can be an excellent way of reaching out to your ideal customers, in an  environment where they are looking for peer-to-peer feedback.

It’s also a cool way to find out what problems they are looking to  resolve, what methods they have used, and what’s failed or succeeded.  Have they worked with your competition — what feedback do they give  about their experiences? Niche online forums and communities are a  really great medium to delve deep into ideal customer reactions and,  ultimately to get people to like you and for you to gain their trust.

Social media

To make social media work for you, you really need to invest in  someone that knows how to get the most out of it. If you already have a  strong personal brand then you will be using social media to maintain  and develop that. Once you have a clear picture of who your ideal  customer is, then reaching out to them on the correct social media  platforms is easy.

Until then, if you want to use social media with any effectiveness,  you should be considering a paid-for campaign and using an expert to  help you identify and deliver the right campaign to hang out in the  right social media circles.

One way to start out without spending money, is to join social media  ‘groups’ and ‘communities’ that target your niche and that already have a  captive audience. As with forums and online groups, you can comment on  relevant posts, and even share your own ‘non-commercial’ content, with  the intention of delivering a message to your target audience.

Just do your thing…

At the end of the day, if you are doing what you do and love, and  you’re doing it well, you’ll be hanging out with your ideal customers  already. Networking after your keynote speech, interacting with peers,  gaining loyal listeners and readers through writing and podcasting. Just  do what you do, and do it well!

Step 4: Creating an automated sales & distribution system

One of the biggest mistakes of startups is starting to market to  ideal customers without having a professional system in place to handle  enquiries, sales and distribution of your product. There is nothing  worse than putting time, money and effort into reaching these people,  only to disappoint them with limited capabilities.

Finding a way to automate customers through their lifecycle is  essential to the growth of your knowledge brand. These days customers  expect to be handled immediately, with minimal communication back and  forth, and with as little paperwork as possible. That’s why finding a  partner like Workshop Butler is essential for any professional training company.

Once your customers contact you to book your workshops or events,  Workshop Butler will manage the customer: handling campaign management  and analytics, customer registration and automating your email response,  and data handling.

So, if we go back to, how to handle your customer’s pain points:

Workshop Butler manages your event administration, so that… you can concentrate on delivering a great training workshop!