Have you defined the ideal client persona for your practice?

When you are in the early stages of growth, it’s likely you’ll be operating on a shoe string budget and the responsibility to grow your practice is yours alone. So, it’s important you undertake activities that will reap you the best results with the least effort.

That’s not to suggest that defining an ideal client persona is only for early stage practices. Even if you operate a mid-stage growth firm, one of the most important things you need to do is develop a client persona to help guide your business and marketing strategies.

This is a hypothetical description of your ideal client. It’s not intended to represent all of your clients and it’s not a composite of all your clients. It’s the kind of person you most want to attract to your practice because they’re the one you can deliver the most value to and, in return, will deliver the best ROI.

It goes well beyond the description of a target market – it’s not simply profession or age, and the size of investible assets may not even be a key factor.

The client persona you identify impacts your marketing messages, spend, and communication channels. It also helps you direct your time and energy more productively.

       5-Step process to identify your ideal client persona

Here is a 5-step process that will help you identify your ideal client persona.

1. Identify

Practices that are in early growth tend to have a limited understanding of which clients deliver the best ROI. But you need to start somewhere, so here is a quick exercise:

Think about your current client list and

o   Identify five clients who regularly engage with your services

o   Pick three clients who have used your services for more than one reason

o   Pick two clients who best align with your service proposition

o   Pick the one client who you think will be the most valuable for you in the next 5 years

o   Now write down their gender, age, occupation, location, family status, wealth position

This is a great starting to help with step 2.

2. Develop

Using the client identified in step 1, flesh out the persona. You can make educated guesses for some of these fields or you can conduct research online.

o   Demographics

o   Finances

o   Hopes and dreams

o   Worries and fears

o   Use of technology

o   Media preferences

o   Influences

o   Brand affiliations

Now, give your persona a name – such as Sophia.

3. Messaging

This step involves applying your service proposition to the persona (Sophia).

o   What’s the one thing you do that Sophia will respond to?

o   Which of your values align to Sophia’s?

o   Do you have any testimonials or client feedback that are relevant to Sophia?

o   What is a campaign you could run that targets Sophia?

o   Where is Sophia most likely to see your messaging?

o   When will Sophia be most receptive to your messaging?

4. Implement

It’s now time to see if you can attract some Sophias to your practice.

o   Ensure your website messaging is in line with what you’ve developed in step 3 AND you have a compelling and differentiated value proposition

o   Look for local events that you could participate in that Sophia will see

o   Can you run a service promotion specifically targeting Sophia?

o   If you’re using Google Adwords or other forms of paid marketing, are you targeting keywords that Sophia would use?

o   Update your brochures, signage, email signatures, letterhead, practice bios, social media pages to target Sophia

o   Who do you know who could refer you to a group of Sophias?

o   Regularly stand in Sophia’s shoes to imagine the client experience you provide from their perspective. Better still, ask Sophia what she expects and thinks.

5. Refine

In step 1, you speculated about what type of client persona would give you the best ROI. But as you develop your practice, you’ll need to check this assumption and make sure you’re on the right track. We recommend you review your client persona on an annual basis.

It’s also important to seek feedback from your clients on a regular basis. Learning more about their experience with you provides important opportunities to continuously improve your value proposition and to grow your client base.

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