There is a seemingly endless list of action steps you can take to market your business. From adding content to your website, to growing your email list, from posting on LinkedIn, to following more people on Twitter, from designing flyers, to attending networking events and from blogging to uploading videos, there are never going to be enough hours in the day to get everything done that could be done.

But rather than adding even more to your marketing To Do list, there’s a smarter way to focus your marketing efforts.

There’s one person you need to meet. This one person will enable you to delete items from your list. They will declutter your plans and ensure that even if you did just one thing per week, that action would have high impact.

Can you guess who that one person is?

Your ideal client

If you’re not clear who your business serves, it’s easy to spread yourself thin. Many business owners spend hours travelling up and down the country to attend event after event, or spend hours staring at a screen wondering which Facebook group to join next.

All this effort is wasted if you’re not getting in front of the very person who everything depends on. Your ideal client!

Here’s how to meet them

If you’re already in a public place reading this article, you can do this immediately; otherwise, action this as soon as you get to a café or train or busy shopping centre. (And if you can’t get to a public space for a while, you can play the at-home version via Google images, magazines or TV shows.)

From where you’re sitting, choose someone who could represent your ideal client. This exercise in itself is clarifying; who do you pass over and why? I call this the Tribe Spotting game; you’re asking yourself: Who here could be my ideal client, and why? What are the characteristics that my ideal clients share? What are the common challenges and desires that my business helps with?

I most recently did this exercise in a café in Brighton. From my sofa, I saw out of the window a blonde woman in her 20’s walking past with her boyfriend. I named her Juliet and created a whole life for her. She was a photographer struggling to find enough clients. I decided where she lives and whether she likes her flat. I decided her birthday and where she stands on the whether-to-have-babies dilemma. I decided which university she went to, which breakfast cereal she eats, and where she gets her hair dyed.

Most importantly, I could connect with who Juliet is and why it matters to her to get her business off the ground – which is what I help people like Juliet with. I know why marketing feels so challenging to Juliet and what she wishes someone would just “get” without her having to explain.

Every blog I write is for Juliet. Every course I develop is for Juliet. Every sales email, every Facebook status, every video – I’m speaking directly, heart-to-heart, to Juliet.

As I walk to the loo in that Brighton café, I see the community noticeboard. I ask myself: what would catch Juliet’s attention on this board? It gives me ideas for how to design flyers and business cards. When on Pinterest later that day, I ask myself: which boards would Juliet follow? What is she on this site for?

I notice what Juliet wouldn’t be interested in, which events she wouldn’t attend, which social networking sites she wouldn’t be active on, which words and phrases would turn her off.

But how do I know these things? How can I make all this up from looking at one person walking past my café window?

It’s because I’ve done research. In the early days of growing my business, I chatted with 100 people who I thought I could work with. They helped me clarify my ideal client profile. They told me their deepest yearnings and greatest fears. They told me about their lifestyle, their financial situation and their background.

Juliet is a composite of what I discovered from them. Her fictional life sums up the reality of hundreds, if not thousands, of my ideal clients.

Time and time again, I receive feedback from my blog readers and those I’m connected with on my Facebook Page, saying, “It’s like you read my mind. How did you know I’m struggling with this today? How did you know that’s exactly how the challenge feels in my head?” I’m not psychic; it’s because I’ve asked and I’ve then built up this ideal client profile that all my marketing speaks to.

I invite you to enjoy this Tribe Spotting exercise – and to commit to doing the research, if you realise you need to hear more from real people about what life is like for them, in relation to what you’re offering. From this, you can build up your all-important ideal client profile, and then all your marketing efforts will be focused on the one person you need to meet.

So tell me, have you met your ideal client? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

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