Brand & Marketing Strategy

Ideal Clients: How to Define & Attract them to Your Small Business


One of the first lessons we learn as small business owners is that not all clients are created equal. There are always some that we enjoy doing business with more than with others: Our ideal clients!

Their values and goals are aligned with ours, they appreciate our work the most and are happy paying our rates. On time.

So how do you get more of those ideal clients for your small business? You can get started with the 4 simple steps below!

The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

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We all know clients who need several reminders to pay up… four months after you delivered. Or those that always try to drive down your price, apparently not seeing the value of your services. There are also the micromanagers, who check on you and the project every single day.

Any of this sound familiar? If these sorts of clients are causing you stress, let’s get rid of them. Focusing on your ideal clients helps your small business grow in the right direction and saves you the hassle of dealing with the “less ideal” kind!

Step 1: What Makes Them Different?

Look at your client list: Which ones are good? And why are they good? Whether it’s because they pay higher fees, value your services or are well-connected and likely to recommend you to their extensive network depends on your business and your goals.

Write down what these clients have that the others don’t and look for a pattern. This gives you an idea of what you’re looking for in an ideal client and what you want to avoid.

Find out how I found my ideal client and what I learned along the way.

Step 2: What Are They Looking For?

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Just like the process of defining your target group, have a look at the services or products these ideal clients went for. What triggered the need and when? Why did they choose to do business with you and not your competition?

Examine their values and challenges and how you helped those clients with that. Then narrow down the benefits of doing business with you.

Looking to engage with these clients earlier in their journey? Check out this post for my top tips.

Step 3: Where Did They Come From?

Now see how these guys found out about your small business: Is it a certain marketing channel producing most of your number one clients? Was it a special offer or campaign you were running? Write down what marketing efforts resulted in your ideal clients coming to you.

And don’t forget to do the same with your high-maintenance customers: Knowing how to avoid dealing with testing clients is as helpful as knowing how to get more of the good ones!

I have a whole post dedicated to reviewing your marketing strategy. Keeping track of what’s working and what isn’t will make life easier in all areas!

Step 4: Adapt And Apply

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By now you should have a good idea of what your ideal clients look like and how you got them in the first place. The final step is adapting your marketing accordingly. For example:

  • Concentrate on the marketing channels most likely to attract your power clients and see if you can use the insights to create new marketing campaigns.
  • Readjust your marketing communications to the new customer profile. That includes the copy on your website, the keywords for your on-page SEO and your elevator pitch for networking events.
  • Share these insights with relevant team members and collect ideas on how to generate new business based on this list.
  • Make sure to ask every happy client for a review or testimonial for your marketing material.
  • See if any of these clients have recommended you in the past and make sure to thank them for it. Encourage all of them to spread the word about your business, possibly with a referral scheme.

Depending on what client you’re looking for, changing your prices might be another way to avoid troublemakers in the future. You could, for example, raise your lowest price so that more cost-focused customers know what they’re getting into, and increase your top fee to a price that is above the average your clients were willing to pay, in order to attract the bigger fish in the sea.

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Defining your ideal client is a really personal process. This isn’t something there is an industry-specific answer for – it all comes down to what works for you! Ultimately, figuring this out will not only make your business more successful, but it will make work more enjoyable. So take the time to do it – you’ll thank yourself later.


To read more about this topic, have a look at these:
How I Found My Ideal Client & What I Learned Along the Way
How to Market Your Small Business With Customer Reviews
Do You Know Enough About Your Target Groups?
How to Use Your Existing Customers to Grow Your Business


Denise Strohsahl brand and marketing consultant for small businesses

Hello, I’m Denise from sandstonecastles, a brand & marketing consultancy based in Edinburgh, Scotland.

I help small business owners like yourself to find the right marketing that’s in line with your brand and values.