Who is your dream client? It could be one you’ve longed for, or one you’ve been fortunate to work with. What made them so great to work with? Was it their unwavering commitment to the training plan, or enthusiasm for positive reinforcement based methods? Perhaps their dog was a breed or age you love working with, or maybe their busy household looked a lot like your own, and was easy to relate to. If you wish more of your clients ticked the ‘dream’ box, it’s time to develop an ideal client avatar.
Why develop a client avatar?
Here’s why figuring out your ideal client is key to the success of your business.
Identifying and defining your client avatar – an imaginary representation of your perfect client – allows you to tailor your services, marketing efforts, and communication to attract and connect with the people you want to work with. Spending valuable time and energy working with people you don’t click with, who aren’t interested in your training approach, or who drain your energy is a fast road to frustration and burn out.
Understanding exactly who you are speaking to when designing your business helps with:
By defining your client avatar, you gain a deeper understanding of your target audience’s demographics, characteristics, and needs. This knowledge enables you to create marketing messages and materials that resonate with your ideal clients, resulting in more leads from the people and training topics that interest you most.
Thoughtful and tailored services
Understanding your ideal clients allows you to customize your services to meet their specific preferences. Rather than offering a generic training service, you can design programs, packages, and classes which really speak to your ideal clients’ needs. This can also be a lot of fun! Let your creativity fly as you design services which stand out from the crowd and address specific problems. If you know you love working with busy city dwellers with adolescent dogs, for example, you might focus on enriching day training adventures for scatty teenagers as well as workshops on how to enjoy a successful cafe visit with your dog.
Not wasting your most precious resource – your time
Defining your client avatar helps you optimize your time, energy, and resources. Rather than trying to appeal to everyone who ever uttered the word ‘dog’, you can focus on reaching the people who are most likely to benefit from and invest in your services for the long term. These ongoing relationships tend to be where the biggest change happens, so you’re also likely to help more dogs in the process.
R+ dog trainers tend to be highly compassionate people who care deeply about the wellbeing of dogs. This can make it tough to say no to helping people, even when the fit isn’t right or the outcome isn’t favorable. The reality is you can’t help everyone, and spending your time saying yes to the wrong clients and cases isn’t a good long-term strategy. If you’re not enjoying your work or seeing results, your ability to remain enthusiastic and effective may suffer. You may even want to give up altogether. Defining, targeting, and working with your ideal clients is vital to your own wellbeing and happiness.
How do you create a client avatar?
There are a few steps and considerations to pinning down the profile of your ideal client. So grab your favored detective gear – pen and paper, laptop, whiteboard, back of a napkin – and start daydreaming!
Identify who they are
The first step is determining the demographics of your client avatar. Think about your favorite or ideal clients – who are they? What do they have in common? Consider factors such as age, gender, location, lifestyle, family status, and occupation. Examine their psychographics too – their values, beliefs, interests, and behaviors. Identify their motivations for seeking dog training, their attitudes toward training methods, and their level of commitment to putting the work in. This information helps you connect with clients who share similar values and goals.
Identify the problems they are trying to solve
Perhaps you have a sense of who they are, but what do your ideal clients want? What are the common challenges they tend to face? Are they dealing with specific behavior issues, a lack of time for training, or struggling in certain contexts such as when people come over? Consider their potential goals. Is there a type of relationship they really want with their dog? Are there certain activities or outings they would love to do?
Create a persona
Once you’ve done your research and answered the identifying questions, create a persona that represents your ideal client. It can help to give them a name (“What kind of services would Jenny really love this year?”). List their age, occupation, and a detailed description that includes their demographics, psychographics, challenges, and goals. This persona becomes the foundation for your marketing and service design efforts.
Use your avatar to guide decisions
Whenever you develop new services, content, or marketing materials, refer back to your client avatar. Ask yourself, “Will this appeal to and resonate with my ideal client?” Use your avatar as a guide to ensure consistency and alignment in your work. And don’t forget – just like a real human, your client avatar is likely to evolve as your business grows. Carve out time to regularly assess and refine your avatar. This helps to keep your business on track, and ensures you’re doing work you love with clients who are a great match.
Do you have a client avatar? Or is time for a refresh? We’d love to hear about it and how it has impacted your business.