How to Figure Out Who Your Ideal Client Is

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When you start a business all anyone ever talks about are “ideal clients.” Making content for your ideal client, marketing to your ideal client, and defining your ideal client avatar. 

In the first few months of my biz, I heard this advice so much, it made me want to scream because honestly, I had no idea what people were talking about. 

(Now that I do know, I’ve become one of those people who won’t shut up about marketing to your ideal client.)

So, if you’re wondering what the heck an ideal client is, how to appeal to your ideal client once you figure out who they are, and why any of it even matters, you’re in the perfect place. 

What is an ideal client/ideal client avatar?

An ideal client avatar is the person your business is made for. They’re the person who is encountering the exact thing you help with and the type of person who is ecstatic to find you and pay whatever prices you charge.

(Sometimes ideal clients are referred to as dream clients, soulmate clients, and buyer personas.)

And as your business evolves, so will your ideal client. 

Why does an ideal client even matter?

You know the saying, “if you try to appeal to everyone, you appeal to no one”? That’s why it matters. 

In business, the magic happens when you can get clear and specific and pinpointing exactly who you want to attract is the first step.

Your ideal client is your business’s BFF because they’re the person you need to get to know intimately so you can understand what they’re struggling with, how they’re feeling, what they care about in life, and the types of messages that will appeal to them. 

In other words, your ideal client is the key to everything. 

The better you know this person, the more specific you’ll get, and the more specific you get, the better you can sell because you’ll be speaking to one person directly, and when you speak to one person directly, they know it’s for them. 

So, how the heck do you identify who your ideal client is?

1 – Begin with the basics

  • How old might this person be?
  • Where do they live? 
  • What do they do for work?
  • What’s their gender identity?
  • How much money do they make?

Bonus point: Give your ideal client a name. Let’s call ours Wild Wilson—she’s a she.

Do all the classic demographics stuff. And then…

2 – Get more specific 

  • Does your Wild Wilson buy all of their groceries at good old TJs or a classic Safeway/King Soopers/Whatever Generic Grocery Store kind of gal?
  • Is your Wild Wilson a Converse girl or do they exclusively wear high heels?
  • Does your Wild Wilson spend their weekends chugging beers at divey bars, getting a nice sunburn on the beach, or spending quality time with their kids? (I think the answer’s pretty obvious for our Wild Wilson… wholesome weekends at home, sipping celery juice of course.)
  • What kind of TV shows do your Wild Wilson enjoy watching? What kind of TV shows does your Wild Wilson like watching but only as a guilty pleasure?
  • When your Wild Wilson opens up their Instagram or TikTok, what does their feed look like?
  • What’s important to your Wild Wilson? What are they passionate about? Why?

As you get to know your Wild Wilson, you want to connect their behaviors and their desires back to your offer and…

3 – Think about where they are at when they come across your brand

  • What does your Wild Wilson like about you? What caught their attention and drew them in?
  • What do you two have in common? How can you relate to what your Wild Wilson is experiencing?
  • What even is your Wild Wilson experiencing when they come across your brand? 
  • What problem is your Wild Wilson having? What roadblock are they facing that they’re trying to overcome?
  • What is your Wild Wilson struggling with and—this one is UBER important—how is it making them FEEL?

Also, I’m not saying to think about the answers to these questions, you should be sitting your butt down in a chair, or on a bed, or any place where you can actually type or write your answers out. Your Wild Wilson deserves to be taken that seriously.

A helpful example for you:

(This is completely fictional.)

Sam is a 28-year-old who lives in Brooklyn with her dog named Mocha. She loves visiting local coffee shops, trying out new vegetarian restaurants, and spends a lot of time reading about artists. She works as a photographer and makes about $120,000 a year. 

She likes watching trashy reality TV, but also cinematographic shows like Chef’s Table, and she prefers spending her weekends making food at home and hanging out with friends rather than going out to bars. 

She knows her business is in desperate need of a rebrand because it’s been two years since she started and it just doesn’t feel aligned anymore. She wants a new website and visuals that represent how far she’s come and reflect the professional she is now, not where she was two years ago. 

When Sam comes across Orizon Studio, she instantly falls in love with the websites they’ve designed given how photo-centric they are; the more she reads about the way they approach design and branding from a place of deep diving into personality and storytelling through design, the more she knows that this is the studio for her.

What we can conclude about Ms. Sam:

  • Visuals are incredibly important to Sam 
  • She enjoys learning about other artists 
  • She’s young and makes around 6-figures per year
  • She values taking time to connect with others 
  • She’s solution-aware meaning she knows what problem she has and what she’s looking for, but hasn’t found the exact person she wants to work with yet
  • She values depth and is looking for a web and brand designer whose work involves an emotional process and not just over-and-done with design 

(Bonus tip: write a story about your own ideal client avatar that includes who they are, what their daily life looks like, and what they’re doing when they come across your brand!)

Getting to know all of this information isn’t only a fun exercise, but it also helps you with all of your marketing. Instead of creating graphics or writing copy for your “buyer persona,” you’re writing it for Sam, a real person. This adds another layer of depth and specificity because you’ve spent time getting to know Sam including, what she is looking for, how she feels, and how she wants to feel and that makes the job of marketing to your ideal client so. much. easier. 

4 – Once you have a good feel for what your ideal client is like, go out in the real world—or at least, the online world—and find people like them

I’m serious. Get to stalking. 

If you know your ideal client is a brand designer, go on Instagram and look up brand designers. Find someone whose vibe you jive with. See what kind of content they post. How they write their captions. Who they follow and who is following them.

The key to a really, really good ideal client avatar—excuse me, a good Wild Wilson—is to know them inside and out so you can speak their language. 

Once you’ve found them, talk to them. 

Get to know them even better through having actual conversations with them. I’m not talking about cold DMing them and pitching an offer, I’m talking about good old-fashioned (online) conversations where you get to know more about each other. 

5 – Last but not least, continuously reassess who your ideal client is

As you grow and your business changes, your ideal client will change too. It’s natural! 

(You also can have different ideal clients for different offers, so that’s something else to keep in mind too.)

Over the course of your business, you’ll continuously revisit who you want to work with based on who you’ve enjoyed working with. Whether that’s refining who your ideal client is or changing them up entirely, don’t be afraid to rework it. 

Your ideal client is the dreamy person you can’t wait to work with, the person who is happy to pay your prices, and who loves your personality, that’s bound to evolve. 

Bottom Line

If you read this and felt a tad overwhelmed, that’s totally okay. Take it step-by-step. Your ideal client avatar doesn’t have to be something you decide on, figure out every detail of, and stick to forever. It’s more about getting particular about the type of person you’d like to work with so you know how to market yourself in a way that connects with that type of person.

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