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021: Nail Your Niche: How To Identify Your Ideal Client Avatar

Download your FREE copy of my Nail Your Niche Guide - a workbook that accompanies this podcast episode to help you identify your perfect client avatar so you can create irresistible content and offers for them! Click here to download

Do you really know exactly who you serve, who you design your irresistible offers for? It sounds so simple, but rarely do new coaches, course creators or entrepreneurs get it right first time.

The fact is that nailing your niche and truly understanding what motivates your prospective clients, is perhaps the single biggest driver in creating a successful business.

In today's episode, we're going to look at why it's so important to nail your niche and the ways that you can go about it.

Well, do you know your ideal client avatar or, as it’s sometimes shortened to, your ICA?

Why is it so vitally important to get it right before you develop your offers? If you get your ICA right all the rest will fall into place. Your offers, your communications, your content, your social media, all of it suddenly makes sense when you really, really understand what your prospective clients, your ideal client avatar, really cares about. So why is it so fundamentally important to get this right? Well, imagine you're in a room and somebody comes in - it's a big crowd and they shout, ‘hey everyone’, how many people are going to turn around? Chances are that’ll be none, because ‘hey everyone’ is so generic - it certainly doesn't apply to me as an individual. And it's just like that.

When you start calling to people in social media or via email, or any communications, they have to understand immediately that you are calling them and that what you're saying is absolutely relevant for them. They need to feel like you're literally inside their heads. We know how great it feels when you read something that's literally designed for you. Maybe at the moment when you're building your business and you're scrolling on Instagram, you suddenly see something that calls to your exact pain point, the exact way you feel. Perhaps it says ‘would you like to grow your Instagram following? Are you finding it hard posting every day and thinking of content?’ and you think, yeah, that's me. That's exactly how I feel today. I really do want to read what this person has to say because it seems they totally understood my frustrations.

There are two key things that you absolutely have to know about your avatar.

The first one is what are their pain points and what are their problems relating to your area of expertise?

Let me give you an example. I was working with a wellness coach who was offering a fantastic program to help busy mums improve their wellness, including their diet, fitness, accountability, and so on. She obviously assumed that what they really wanted to do was lose weight so, when she went to market, she would talk about how the program that she offered would help them lose weight. When she really, really looked at her ICA, spoke to them, found out what exactly they thought their problems were, although they did sometimes want to lose weight, they were talking a lot about things like bloating and fatigue. Now, once she knew that, she could use that language to talk to them and say ‘are you feeling bloated? Are you tired? Are you fatigued? How do you feel when you wake up in the morning? Have you got a fuzzy head?’, and people were leaning in and saying, yeah, that's exactly how I feel, and I'm exhausted by this. How can I make a change? Suddenly her program felt so much more relevant. Although the content wasn't significantly different, the way in which she approached it was, so people understood what she offered was really different. This made all the difference to how she then went on and sold her program.

The other side of the coin to understanding their pain points and problems, is to also understand what their needs wants, and desires are.

What is it that they actually want to achieve? Like the example I just gave you, is it that they want to lose weight, or is it that they really want more energy? Or clearer skin? What is it that your avatar really thinks they want to achieve? Bear in mind that there is a difference between what they want and what they need - what they want is what they think the result should be and what they need is – and as the expert you will know this - is something that will actually give them longer-term benefits.

Let's look again at the example that I've just spoken about, the wellness coach. Their ICA might think that they want to lose weight. They might think they want to fit into their jeans again. What they really need is a long-term sustainable eating plan that will give them vibrancy, good health, and energy for years to come. You can offer them what they want initially and say, if you join my accountability program you could lose a few pounds, but actually when they get on your program, you're also able to deliver what they really need. You've spoken to them at length, and you understand that there's more to it - that it's a deeper process. This is where you're going to add phenomenal value as the expert, because you're going to give them long-term tangible results that they can feel phenomenal about.

They can obviously then tell lots of other people about your program and your offer via testimonials or word of mouth, so your business will continue to grow. Bear in mind that between the pain points and their needs and wants is where your offer exists. Your offer is the vehicle that takes them from point A, their pain point, to point B, which is what they want and what they need. Understanding your avatar and understanding their two positions, their point A and point B, is going to enable you to craft an offer so elegantly that sits between those, that they will see it as irresistible. When you do your research and you really understand your avatar, it enables you to design your offer to meet their needs, rather than the other way around. It's too frequent a mistake that people starting out will take an offer that they've conceived in their minds. They say, ‘well, you know, I'm going to do this program’, and then they'll basically try and shoehorn that into an avatar they think fits, rather than really understand what their avatar wants and needs and what they say are their problems, before then ensuring that their offer is designed to solve that problem for them. A

Underlying all of this is that you must get to know your avatar really, really well. The next question that often comes up is, ‘well, that's great, but how can I get to understand them and really get that level of insight that enables me to craft my offers brilliantly and create resonating content? Well, you have to dive in to researching your ICA.

I'm going to give you a few tips and tricks about how you can do this really easily.

First up Facebook groups. You must be familiar with these even if you're not using them for business. They're a phenomenal resource for community.

Some of these groups have thousands of people in them, so we know that people do really identify with Facebook groups from an interest point level. People like to join groups where there are other people just like them - people that have the same problems, people that have the same desires, people that have the same interests. The first thing you need to do is to go and find Facebook groups that are relevant to your niche, to the sorts of people that you know will need what you're going to be offering. It's really simple to search for Facebook groups, just use the sorts of words that are completely relevant to your expertise and niche and start looking around and seeing what groups exist.

You can see how large they are, and you may not want to join really, really small groups because they might not have enough people for you to research. However, there are advantages in some more intimate groups. Equally there are some really, really big ones that are going to be incredibly valuable for you, as you will be able to see exactly what people are talking about. Join a mix at first. Go in, have a look, and see which ones are really right for you and your area of expertise. Then I like to think that there are five steps to how you behave once you actually find your Facebook groups. Step number one is to find them, which we just talked about. Step number two is to join them.

Now, when you join them, make a note somewhere - I like to use an Excel spreadsheet. Write down which Facebook groups you're joining, perhaps record how large the group is, and maybe the URL so you can click on that link and just go back into that group whenever you want. If you're anything like me, certainly if you're using Facebook for business, you may well be a member of several hundred Facebook groups - I probably only use five with any regularity. That means that there's a massive number of Facebook groups I've joined that actually I've forgotten and might be incredibly valuable for me and my business and I might want to go in there more frequently. Start to record the ones that you know are going to be useful to you. Indeed, if you find they're not great when you get in there, you can leave. You don't have to belong to every single one, just join the ones that are going to be incredibly valuable for gaining insight and make a note, so you know which ones they are. The next thing you do is listen and watch.

When you get in there start to follow along with what people are talking about - scroll down in the feed, find out what sort of conversations people are having, how responsive people are in the group.

Is it a thriving group with lots of conversation or is it a bit of a cricket zone, possibly not one that you want to spend much time in if that's the case?

Just get a real sense of what people are talking about and see what their problems are. What are their pain points? What is it that they desire? As you see what people are talking about, try and pinpoint the answers to some of those questions. Another really cool way that you can find out more about what people think about your area of expertise is to do some keyword research. Now, not everybody knows this, but inside your Facebook groups towards the top on the right, you've got a little search bar. It’s a little magnifying glass symbol and you can type any word into there. It will bring up wherever that word has come up in any conversations in that Facebook group.

Let's say you wanted to see if people are talking about nutrition, you could type the word nutrition in the search bar and suddenly all these conversations will come up where people are discussing it. People may be chatting about all the different aspects that you have written for your course and you'll be able to see what exactly they worry about. If you're in a group for healthy eating mums and you want to find out what they say about nutrition, just put that word in - you're going to get all sorts of stuff coming up that might give you valuable insight into what they really worry about and therefore how you can provide a solution to their problems. Test lots of different keywords; really use your imagination. Type lots of different things in there and see what people are coming up with. You could even type generic words like ‘problem’ directly, particularly if you're in a Facebook group where people are only talking about your area of expertise, to see what they're describing and what their problems are.

The next stage when you're in these Facebook groups is to interact and give value.

Start becoming a member of the community. If you see people talking about their problems and you know that you've got value to give, give it. Give it away for free, answer their questions, tell them how you made a transformation for yourself or for clients. Tell them anything that can help them in some way and give them value. Please don't think that you should be jumping into these Facebook groups with the purpose of selling. I've been asked several times, how do I get into the Facebook groups and sell my program or get people to join my coaching? How do I do that in a Facebook group? Let me be clear. We're talking today about ICA research. We're talking about an opportunity for you to learn more so you can craft your offers and all your communications around really understanding your avatar.

We're not talking about jumping into Facebook groups and immediately posting that people can click on a link and buy your program or book a discovery call with you. That isn't what your initial objective is when you join a Facebook group; it is really about learning as much as you possibly can and giving value. You can ask questions. If you're not getting enough insight from the methods that I've just described, or you just want to become somebody in the group that poses really thought-provoking questions, make sure you ask them something that will give you some insight. Using polls is incredibly valuable.

You can ask people to vote on which one is appropriate for them in their personal circumstances, or you can ask people to just give you free flow comments. For example, what would you say your biggest problem is with X? Just keep it simple and make sure that you reply to people when they do respond to the comments. You reply to people for two reasons. Firstly, because it's the right thing to do if people are going to make the effort to actually comment on your post, because it's about creating community and creating relationships. Secondly, if you reply particularly promptly to when people put comments, the algorithm is going to favour you and it's going to bump you up, so more people will see your question. If you're after more responses - which you should be because anybody that knows about research knows that the more responses you get the more you can trust your research - you should be giving your algorithm that nudge so you get more people responding and therefore get the best possible insights from asking the question.

That's about Facebook groups. There is another way of finding out what your ICA is worried about, what they're thinking about, and that's Google and YouTube searches. If you've ever typed a search into the search bar in either of those places, which I'm sure you have, you're going to see that as you type, Google or YouTube basically anticipates what you might be typing next, and it gives you some auto suggestions. Let's say you type in money manifestation - as you type it comes up with money manifestation meditation, then money manifestations sleep, then frequency, affirmations, music – and it goes on.

The point is that these are the searches that multiple people have made to the point where the algorithm on Google or YouTube has bumped these to the top because it's anticipating this may be a question that you're asking. So, for somebody - for example - who's coaching about money manifestation, understanding that people are really interested in meditation is going to be something very valuable to them because they might create an offer that includes a special meditation to help your money manifestation. Think about it in those terms and if you head into those search areas you can get a good take on what people might like to see for your area of expertise. If you want these exact steps, I have created a workbook and guide to nailing your niche and you can grab your free copy in the show notes link.

The next thing you can do is a bit more of a deep dive.

It's great to do the forms of research that I've just described, but if you can take it another step further, you're going to get even more insight. The way to do that is with a Google form. Now, perhaps you've not heard of Google forms, but it's a really simple survey tool and it's absolutely free. If you go into Google and just type Google form it'll come up with all the explanation and instructions. What it does is enable you to design your own questionnaire so you can ask people specific questions and learn more about your avatar. What types of questions should you ask? Keep it simple. Nobody wants to trawl through 20 or 30 questions - they're just not going to do it for you. In my experience so far, I would say about six to eight questions is about right, with a good mix between multiple choice and a few longer free form questions where people can actually write in their answers and you can hear what they say in their own words.

Design your questions to really come up with the answer about what their pain points are and also what their needs, wants and desires are. Make sure that you ask questions such as, ‘what do you find a problem in this area?’ You can share your Google form in Facebook groups where you're allowed and the rules permit. You can certainly share it on your own Facebook groups, on your social media, send it out by email or even send it to specific people on Facebook messenger, asking them personally if they would help you by filling in your survey. You can even take it a step further and have real conversations - jump onto a Zoom and have an in-depth conversation, perhaps only lasting 15 minutes, where you can ask your potential ICA a lot more questions about what they really struggle with and indeed what they want to achieve. Now, let me be clear - this is not a sales call.

The objective isn't to convert that person into being a client there and then. It's literally to get more insight so you can serve more clients in the future. It's fantastic if the people that you do speak to want to work with you, but please don't go onto these calls or into those Google forms with that as your overriding objective, because it's going to put you in the wrong state of mind to achieve what you really need.

What you really need is insight, because you can get so many more clients in the future if you really, really understand your avatar now.

You can offer an incentive to people who jump on a call with you or fill in your Google form, such as a Starbucks voucher. Indeed, actually offering them a little bit of what your service is for free works incredibly well. For instance, saying, if you jump on a call with me, I'd love to ask you a few questions, but I'll also help you think through X. Of course, if you've got something you're actually able to tangibly give them, you can do that - looking back at the example of the health coach, they could give them their free meal planning guide if they jump on a call and answer a few questions. Make sure that you somehow record these conversations - that you really do take the value of what people tell you in the Google form, what people say in the Facebook groups. Get their own words. Create a little folder where you cut and paste what people are actually saying in their own words, because their own words are what you're going to reflect back at them in all of your content. Think how much it will resonate with people who really need your services when you're able to talk to them in the terms of other people who are feeling exactly the same frustrations that they have or have exactly the same hopes and dreams. Your objective is to get super clear on exactly who your ICA is - even give her or him a name and imagine that you're communicating with that one person.

I know how hard many people find it writing to their email lists, for example - it feels so awkward, and you don’t know what to say - but if you can picture your perfect avatar, your one person with her name, and imagine that you're just writing an email to her, it suddenly unlocks a completely different level of intimacy and ease when you're creating content.

This helps not just with emails, but with all your social media content, and indeed even your offer, your program or your coaching. Start with really, really simple things that you can identify about your ICA. Are they male or female? How old are they? Where do they live? Do they have kids? Do they have pets? What kind of education have they had? You can find a full list of all of these questions in the free guide, which is in the show notes. It's the nail your niche guide and you can literally fill it in with answers to all of these questions and run through them one by one. The next group of questions that I include in the guide that I want to tell you about right now, is what does she really worry about when we're talking about problems and pain points? Really think about what keeps her up at night - what are her secrets? What is it she's embarrassed to tell you?

These are the sort of things that, as you use your imagination and base it on the ICA research that you've done, allow you to really start to get a beautiful character portrait of her that makes you understand really what she needs to hear in order to create her transformation. Whether that's the first point of contact with you via a video you've made or an email, all the way through to her graduating your amazing program or amazing coaching, knowing this stuff about her, and really imagining her and bringing her to life is what's going to make all the difference. Of course, don't forget to really think about where she hangs out online, because that's where you're going to want to reach her.

When we're running an online business, the key there is online. What kind of blogs is she reading? What podcasts does she listen to? Where does she spend her time online? Is it on Facebook or is she more likely to be on LinkedIn or even on Pinterest? Where is she and what's she doing in those spaces? How is it that you could communicate with her to really resonate, by understanding exactly why she’s spending time in those social media spaces?

Understand who she follows online, who she really idolises, and start to understand what exactly about those people resonates and indeed that could give you some great insight about how you might like to communicate with her. Remember all that you do is elevated the more you understand about your client avatar.

Let's have a quick recap. First of all, find them online, ask them questions, hear what they say in their own words, get really familiar with their pain points and their desires. Secondly, understand what really motivates them. Be comfortable reflecting their language back to them in all of your content. Thirdly, design your offers based on their needs. Your ICA research can unlock your offer, literally unlock it, because you're going to make it easier to sell as well as far more successful at actually creating the transformation that you promise. So, make sure that you get hold of my guide - nail your niche, identifying your client avatar - which has all the info that I've gone through in this episode. There's space for you to record your insights on your own avatar research. That's in the show notes.

If you are finding my podcast useful, please can you share it with two other people this week and let them know that I'm sharing content that's really helpful for new coaches and course creators. Please make sure that you're subscribed of course. If you'd like to jump into my DMs and let me know of any particular topic areas you'd like to hear me cover, I would love to hear from you. Have an action filled week. Take care. Bye now.

Download your FREE copy of my Nail Your Niche Guide - a workbook that accompanies this podcast episode to help you identify your perfect client avatar so you can create irresistible content and offers for them! Click here to download

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