My parents used to live near a famous fishing stream, the Yellow Breeches. Over the years, I noticed that on certain days, there would be a lot more fisherman out there in the water, decked out in their waders, waiting hopefully.
Turns out it wasn’t coincidence. They stock the stream periodically, and the fishermen know when that happens, so they show up to fish when there is a newly stocked stream.
(This seems like cheating to me, but whatever.)
The point is, fish where the fish are biting.
It’s so important to find out where your ideal client likes to hang out.
Once you have established a strong picture of the person or business that will absolutely love and benefit from your service, go out and find where that person spends time.
How to find out where your ideal client hangs out
1. Ask Them
This seems obvious, but many business people forget to actually talk to their customers.
Either do a formal survey of your existing customers, or do it more casually. Next time you’re in conversation with a prospect who you think fits your ideal profile, ask them what their go-to social network is, what magazines they read, what association they belong to, what conferences they attend.
2. Look at Available Data
There are resources online that will help you sort through the demographics and composition of most of the social networks. Check out the Pew Research Internet Project for yearly updates on social network usage. Edison Research has a wealth of information on social habits.
3. They Gather in Pools
If your ideal customer’s industry has a trade association or magazine, this is a good place to find them congregating.
Look for the association website and see if they have an online community. If it’s open, you can join the community and be helpful (no promoting, just be useful). See if they accept guest posts on their association blog.
Don’t ignore print magazines–many associations have print materials that present an opportunity for articles or advertising.
Another offline opportunity is the time-honored trade show. You don’t have to drag an exhibit with you, just attend and form some relationships. Seek out the chance to be a presenter if the show includes sessions or workshops. Just keep your “knowledgeable expert” hat on and leave the “sneaky marketer” hip waders at home. The more helpful you are, the more leads will naturally flow in your direction.
And then maybe you’ll land the “big one!”