Episode 024 – What is an ICA
Ideal Client Avatar
ICA stands for Ideal Client Avatar, so what, well its important because this is a descriptive statement about who your number one client is. Understanding your clients and customers intimately will ensure that you are serving and nurture them to buy your products or services.
Many small business owners feel overwhelmed at the thought of having to complete this exercise, and that’s why today I wanted to try and make it a little easier for you. This really is a crucial step in your business, and one that when completed successfully will see you making money and not scratching your head trying to find clients. We no longer have the simplicity of opening up a shop in our local area and customers walking in the door.
Today our digital landscape means that customers can come from anywhere in the world, and understanding a few basic indicators will help you to design products and services to fulfill their needs, know where to advertise so that your message gets through and most importantly craft the right message to hit them square between the eyes.
Start with ONE!
I want to tackle the biggest objection of defining your ICA, but its only one person! Yes it is just one person, but hang on Carol there is more than just one person that will buy my product or service, right???? Absolutely, but you need to start with defining just one. When so much effort is required to attract just one customer or client you want to make sure that all the energy is being channelled in the right direction. Trying to focus on multiple avatars means you are spreading yourself too thin. My favourite test and measure is back!!!! When you are focusing on one ICA, it means you have greater control over understanding what is working and what might be missing the point. You are able to make multiple small tweaks to create the right messaging and get valid results. Often by focusing on just one person you are halving the time it takes to connect, because it is a targeted approach. A favourite saying, I recently read is “you can’t catch two rabbits”, you need to start with just one! Once you have nailed this first person, it allows you to then expand and start creating different avatars for the different products or services that you offer. Its also so much easier the second time around, you will have worked out where to find the information, what information is important and more than likely have loads of information already from the first avatar! Be aware that having multiple avatars is ok, but you do want to limit it, having too many becomes confusing and can muddy the messaging you are putting out into the world.
Start you search
With that in mind I know you will still have questions. And the next biggest one is how on earth do I find out about them? Initially it feels weird and hard, I wont lie, and if you are just starting out, you don’t have heaps of options to find the information. You need to have a very basic understanding at this stage about them, for example age, possible outcomes, possible life situations. This is so you know what to start to look for, otherwise you will literally be chasing your tail and falling down the formidable rabbit hole!
Social media is the first place to start! Facebook groups are fantastic because you can start reading responses to questions asked by the other group members. Look at what people are asking for and then how people are formulating their answers. This can be done over a couple of weeks, so you can understand how people are asking for solutions to their questions. Giving you a great understanding of how to start asking questions to find out the answers you need. Also, this research is providing the languaging or how your ICA speaks about a problem that you are looking to solve. Why is this important, because using the right words and in the right order is what you need to attract your clients with far less effort, you are speaking directly to them, the way they are used to hearing it in their mind. This creates a win win situation where your ICA feels like you are effectively “speaking their language” removing barriers right from the start.
Create a gold mine
So start joining some groups and create a word document, start jotting down some key points about your prospective ICA. As you are going through these groups and there are comments, words or questions that resonate with you, copy them for research purposes and put them all together into one document. I strongly advocate for you to use this as research only, it is not only very uncool to copy someone else but its bad karma in my books. In saying that, in all seriousness there are only so many words in the English language, but its important that you create this ideal client avatar with your theme and flavour. This document will become a gold mine of information that you have collated, so that at any time you can refer to it and get a deeper look into what people are talking about in your space.
Unicorn Ideal Client Avatars
Many ICA worksheets miss the mark in my opinion and its not something that many address, your ICA needs to be a real person not a unicorn. Its great that we can fantasize about what this person will be like, and if you are just starting out, it needs to start with that, but this person needs to also have objections, problems, barriers to working with you. They are not a mythical creature who floats into your world with bags of cash ready to shower you like confetti!!!! It would be great if this was the case wouldn’t you agree! It cant also be just surface level information, you are literally selling yourself short by not investigating this further. You need to understand them so intimately its scary and creepy! So how do you start to get some real data around these people, by asking questions of people who you believe could be your ideal clients. You are absolutely allowed to ask for people to partake in a quick call online or through a questionnaire. There are many people who would be willing to answer your questions, even narrowing it down to singular questions and asking them in the facebook groups that you join. Remember the more realistic this person is the better your results will become.
Writing your ICA statement
As you are collecting the information you can start to formulate or put together a statement that describes this person for you. I have included to this podcast a worksheet to help you get started but more important than that some examples, because lets be serious its all good to talk about it but we need to see what actually goes into one of these statements! When formulating this statement you need to have your product or service at the centre of your thoughts. When you dig into this persons life, how they feel right now in their current situation, what they want to change, what challenges have they had previously, what is happening in their life right now that worries them, it all needs to revolve around what you are selling. We want to identify all the reasons they want to buy your item and then all the reasons they don’t want to, and all the things outside their control stopping them from purchasing also. Then flip the script and describe the goals that they could reach by using your item and how that can make them feel, where it can change the current situation, they find themselves in. Desires and goals are important to understand, because 9 out of 10 clients I work with are not in it for the money, they want to create a state of being! An example to this could be, by creating my online business it gives me the opportunity to pick the kids up from school and not have to rely on child minding. I just love hearing about their day at school and eating afternoon tea with them. You need to paint the picture for your ideal client, and I know that most parents value this time with their kids far more than any amount of money in the world.
Refining your ICA statement
Testing and measuring your statement is crucial, once you have created a great statement that you are happy with, test it out on complete strangers! Get back into the group, and post your statement and ask for feedback, if you don’t want to post the whole statement, you can post a teaser and ask for interested parties to join you on a call! As you are starting to attract your clients into your business, make sure you are checking back in on your statement through questionnaires as part of your wrap up with your clients. Once you feel you have created a great statement, then put it up somewhere you can refer to it regularly. Everything you put out into the world from social media posts, blogs, podcasts or any other material it should be worded as if you were speaking to this person directly.
Add some fun to the process and add an image you find on the internet or a picture of a client that you have already worked with, give them a name and that is your client avatar! As you can see this is a necessary process, and one that will reward you 10-fold for taking the time to complete. Yes, it takes time, and it takes you talking to real people to make sure that you get the right information. I often find that clients are embarrassed to ask these questions. Believe in yourself and believe in the product or service that you are selling. There is no point building a website, making stock or creating courses until you have done the research, this is the quickest way to be broke and disheartened!
Downloads and additional help.
I have created a FREE download to help you complete your Ideal Client Avatar worksheet, check it out and reach out if you need any help! Please as always share your ideas in the group or ask for help! If you are not part of Plan to Profit community then please check out the link below and join our brand-new community!
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Meet Your Host
From a young age I have been surrounded by business success. Having formally studied a Double Degree of Bachelor of Commerce and a Bachelor of Management, this led to many successful opportunities.
I have been an employee for large accounting firms and international companies. I have run two highly successful businesses, becoming sought after in my industry internationally.
I have spoken nationally on the topic of money management and loved having the quiet coffee making radical changes for my clients. I am not a limelight chaser, just a quiet achiever looking to make a difference in the world.
Thankyou for joining me on the podcast, my dream is to inspire you to take action that will create a difference in your life! Dream no more and live the life that you have always wanted.