How to define your ideal client to understand their motivations

I hate to say it, but you’ve been defining your ideal client all wrong!

Yup, I said it.

I see it all too often in Facebook groups with ongoing threads about creative business owners struggling to speak directly to their ideal clients. These entrepreneurs think they have the right messaging in place, but something isn’t working, and they haven’t been able to identify why.

My one-on-one clients tell me they are booking clients, but the type of clients they are booking are all over the place; they aren’t seeing any consistency.

Well, friend, if you are struggling with this, I’ve got 3 tips to help you define your ideal client.

Your ideal client (or avatar) is absolutely necessary in building an intentional brand.

But I notice business owners are trying to define their ideal clients without vetting their actual clients’ or customers’ thoughts. They create a persona in a vacuum and don’t validate the wants, needs, fears, and desires of the people who are actually buying their product or service.

As business owners, we often think we know why people need our services or products, but the reality is we’re not our ideal client! In reality, our ideal clients have different wants, needs, desires, and fears than we do.

We may understand some of their feelings. In fact, you might have even created your business out of frustration and developed a solution to a problem you were experiencing. If that’s the case, you’ll have more insight than the average business owner.

But to really define your ideal client, you need to know a lot more than where they live, how much money they make, and the type of professions they have.

You need to identify their wants, needs, desires, and fears.

This allows you to craft messaging that aligns with what they are thinking. You know, the kind of content you read and wonder: “how the heck they were able to read my mind?!”

THAT’S the type of messaging you want to craft for your brand, but it only happens when you intimately know who you’re talking to: your ideal client.

RELATED: Your Logo is Not Your Brand

So, how do you begin to define your ideal client and get to that level of spooky mind reading brand messaging?

You have to start asking (and listening!).

Which comes back to why you’ve been doing it all wrong–because you’re not validating!

Define your ideal client by validating and vetting your findings with your actual customers or audience.



Before you can truly identify the wants, needs, fears, and desires of your ideal client, you need to listen to your actual clients.

So, if you are just starting out, focus on serving all the clients that come your way and collect data for the first year. You’ll want to analyze that data after you have a solid year’s worth of clients you can look back on.

I did this with my business and it was soooo helpful in fine tuning my messaging and tweaking who my ideal client really is.

When you listen to what your current or past clients are saying, you’ll be able to pull their exact words and use them in your messaging.

Why work harder to write content that speaks directly to your ideal client when they’re already doing it for you?

You just need to pay attention!


If you’re not gathering the information you need to fully understand your ideal client from listening to them, don’t be afraid to ask!

Sometimes, just listening isn’t enough to uncover the four pillars (wants, needs, desires, and fears) of defining your ideal client.


If you’re stuck wondering what type of questions to ask your audience or what you should be listening to, here are a few things to keep in mind:

✔ Why did they work with you? Or why would they want to work with someone who offers what you’re offering?
✔ What obstacles were they facing before deciding they needed your help?
✔ What made them decide they were ready to move forward?
✔ Why do they want your service or product?
✔ What is it allowing them to achieve or do?

You can ask these questions to your clients during conversations, or you can send out a survey (I recommend using Google Surveys) to your past clients or social media audience to gather the insight you are looking for!


Once you get their feedback for their wants, needs, desires, and fears, take their words and use them in your brand messaging.

It’s important to keep it simple.

Don’t change their words to convey the same sentiment. The way to achieve that level of crazy mind-reading brand messaging that helps you talk directly to your ideal client and grow your business is by using messaging that aligns with their thoughts.

Once you know their pain points, you can incorporate them and your solution to those problems in your brand messaging, which gets you ahead of their thoughts.

If you stay ahead of their thoughts, you’re able to minimize the question: “Should I hire her or purchase her product?”

By listening, validating, and leveraging the feedback of your ideal clients, you’ll be able to craft messaging that propels your business forward and helps you serve your customers and business better!

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