Why some people almost always attract their dream clients (and you don't)

why some people almost always attract their dream clients and you do not

One of my readers, Selina, asked an excellent question last week. She asked:

“I'm wondering why you say to only write in the first person.  I have seen other people say that it is better to write in the third person to convey a sense of professionalism.  You suggest writing the homepage in the first person.  Would this also apply to the about page, and the whole website?”

Firstly, great question, Selina. And I have very strong views on this subject.

I’m going to assume that because you’re reading this blog, you’re the kind of person who cares about the outcomes that you deliver for your clients. You want to help them overcome something (or many things) that’s bothering them and live a better life or have a better business.

You also want clients that you enjoy working with, so you need clients that genuinely like you, your work & your particular style of working. In other words, you need to feel (and have) a connection to the people who enquire about working with you; you need them to already be primed to work with you because they know, like & trust you.

Now that we’ve got that sorted… I most definitely do not recommend that you write your website in the third person.

Here’s why: your dream clients aren't going to leap at the chance to work with you if you talk in the third person.

The third person distances you from your audience

The third-person uses an objective narrator who tells the story without describing your thoughts, opinions, or feelings. It sounds like the story is happening to a distant, far-away person.

It’s very hard for your readers to feel a connection to you if you put a narrator in between you & them because they can’t get a sense of your thoughts, opinions, or feelings that define you as a business person.

And if your audience can't get to know the real you through your website, then you'll have a much harder time attracting the right clients for you.

Third person copywriting is all about you, not about your customers

Generally, third person copywriting is done by big, bland, corporate companies who are not known for caring about their customers.

Let's take a look at Microsoft. The Microsoft Australia’s About Page starts with:

Established in 1985, Microsoft Australia is the Australian subsidiary of Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq "MSFT"), the worldwide leader in software, services, devices and solutions that help people and businesses realise their full potential.

Does that make you feel connected to or interested in Microsoft & their work? No.

Do you feel any loyalty to Microsoft? Probably not.

Are you excited to share their website with others? Definitely not.

Why? Because all they’re doing is talking about themselves, instead of showing you how their products can transform your life. They write about how awesome they are & how great their product is, instead of focusing on you & what they can do for you.

Think about it: when you visit a website, do you think about how your money will help the business increase its revenues & let the owner take more holidays? Of course not. You want to know how the store's products & services can help you reach your goals & make your life better. 

You need to make your audience feel understood

Your audience is on your website because they want you to solve their problems & improve their life. That means they need to feel like you actually understand their problems.

The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood.
— Ralph Nichols

The fastest way make your audience feel like you understand them is to talk to them like a real person. That means not writing in the third person. 

When you talk in the first or second person, instead of the third person, it allows you to focus on your audience & shows sensitivity & understanding of their needs & problems. And that helps you build a strong relationship with your audience that makes them feel understood.

And that feeling of understanding triggers an emotional response - it creates connection.

And connection creates loyalty.

And loyalty brings repeat customers.

Writing your website in the third person puts a barrier between you & your dream customers.

On the other hand, writing in the first or second person lets you build a genuine connection with them, show that you understand them & are able to solve their problems. If you want to be one of the lucky ones with dreamy clients that you love working with, it's the best way to go.

6 free ways to get to know your dream clients

 6 free ways to unlock your dream clients needs and wants for better copywriting. The last tip and is best (and most unknown).

Your business is built on the people you serve and the person you are.

You (hopefully) already know enough about yourself, but how well do you know the people that you aim to serve? How intricately do you know their needs, wants and absolute must-haves?

It's a huge part of your entrepreneurship puzzle and lots of people haven't spent the time learning about their dream clients. Yes, it can take some time to figure it out. But this time is an investment in your business that will pay off tenfold once you get it done and action what you learn.

When you have boat loads of information about your dream client, then you can write web copy that attracts her, post during times when she'll see your content, create products and services that help solve her problems and so many other great things that this list may never end.

The goal is to get more information about them so that you can learn how to attract more people like them.

I've created this list to help get you started learning about your dream client. Everything listed here is free, fast and super effective.

Hang tight, this is a long + thorough post.

1. Think about your favourite current or past client(s)

You know that super inspiring, dream woman that you've worked with in the past? Your favourite clients that you could work with over and over again?

There are probably links between all your past clients - characteristics, attitudes, goals, ambition, working style, communication style, willingness to invest in working with you.

Think back to working with these women and make a list of reasons why you enjoyed their company. These might be:

  • you like them - they've got the same values as you
  • they pay you - they don't try to bargain your prices down
  • they need you - they get the most value out of your offering
  • they appreciate you - they tell their friends about how awesome you are.

You're most likely listing intangible things - things that you should feel when meeting with your dream clients. And that's ok. You'll learn more tangible things about them in the next steps.

2. Look at your Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a free tool that can quickly and easily give you mountains of information about the people visiting your site. You can learn:

  • which countries your readers come from
  • how they found your website
  • how long they spend on your site
  • what type of device they use to view your site
  • whether they're a new or returning visitor
  • which pages that get the most views

The trick is knowing how to use it without getting overwhelmed.

If you're not yet confident using your Google Analytics, check out this Skillshare course: Master Google Analytics In 1 Hour for Beginners. I learned a lot from this course. I can now open Google Analytics without flipping out and understand what the information is telling me. Highly recommended. And you get a free month of membership if you use this link.

3. Ask them questions

Surely there's no easy way to find out more about your dream clients than to go straight to the source and ask them.

You have two options here: you can ask everyone on your mailing list some questions or you can target your favourite clients.

I'm going to assume that you'll choose to target only your favourites, but the process is the same if you want to email everyone.

Start by writing out a list of your awesome clients - the ones that you could happily clone and work with over and over. The more, the merrier. Or, in this case, the longer the list, the more responses you'll get.

Next, think of 6 or more questions that you'd like to ask them. These might be something like:

  1. How old are you? (Though you can get general info like this from Google Analytics, it's good to know the age of the people who are responding to your questionairre.)
  2. What's the biggest struggle you have with website building / getting fit / eating healthily / dealing with grief / _____________ [whatever it is that you help your clients achieve]?
  3. What attracted you to my website?
  4. What interests you in my products / services?
  5. What is preventing you from purchasing / hiring me right now?
  6. Are there other people or businesses that you're considering buying from / working with?

Once you've got your questions prepared, create an online form to gather answers from these questions. Google "free online form" and you'll find lots of options.

Finally, email your favourite clients (or whole list), ask them to fill out your online questionnaire and provide a link to it. HINT: If you actually ask people to do you a favour – use the word “favour” in your subject line – it can boost your response rates for practically zero effort. 

4. Talk to people in real life

Traditional businesses and start ups often pay tens of thousands to some market research company to hold focus groups and send them some data about their findings. Poor schmucks.

We're smarter than that. We know that we can do that on the cheap.

Let's say that you're a one-woman bakery and you sell mouth-watering cupcakes at your local farmers market. You could ask each buyer if they'd be willing to chat to you for a few minutes and in exchange, you'll throw in an extra cupcake of their choice.

Have a few questions prepared, so that you get comparable information from everyone you talk to. You might ask:

  • What grabbed their attention and made them wander over?
  • What about your cupcakes made them buy, instead of getting a muffin or something else at a different stall?
  • How many of the flavours grabbed their attention?
  • Was there any flavour that they were hoping to find, but didn't see in your range?
  • Do they think they'd come back again?
  • Would they recommend your cupcakes to others?

The secret benefit to this approach is that you’ll get to have real conversations that build relationships with your buyers. Plus, you'll get more memorable information than mere data. 

5. Go where they hang out online

Maybe, like me, your dream clients are other women entrepreneurs who do soul-charging, world-changing work. It'd be a safe bet that you can find thousands of these dream clients hanging out in Marie Forleo's private B-School Facebook group.

There are groups and forums like this for every industry + every niche. You just need to go hunting to find them + join.

Once you're in, listen to what members have to say and take note of their pain points - what are they finding difficult, what don't they understand, what frustrates them, what keeps them up at night?

6. Take advantage of Amazon

You're in luck. Amazon is a secret hideaway for all sorts of copywriting gold + now I'm sharing that secret with you.

Amazon houses some amazingly in-depth book + product reviews written by everyday people. These people are essentially testing out the messaging attached to those books + products and letting you know their feedback.

They’ll tell you what they like, what the product doesn’t do and doesn’t achieve. If you're lucky, they'll even tell you what they wanted but didn't get – and this is pure gold when it comes to creating messaging + positioning against your competitors. It's basically a free test audience.

If you sell products, you'll want to search for competitor products on Amazon + read their product reviews.

If you sell services, you'll need to find authors that your dream clients follow + read their book reviews.

Look at multiple reviews for multiple products in your niche. (Looking at one review won’t give you enough information to really make a difference to your business messaging.) Seek out the reviews that others' considered to be helpful - luckily, these are the ones displayed at the top of the reviews section.

What are the common themes in these reviews? What do most people want + aren't getting? What needs are already being satisfied?

For example, maybe you're a life coach who helps your clients transition out of boring corporate jobs + into self employment. Your dream clients probably read Pamela Slim's book Escape from Cubicle Nation.

After reading through the reviews, you find this gem:

Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 7.21.05 am.png

This review is written by a Top 500 reviewer and is considered helpful by 27 of 27 people. You can quickly see that these people want:

  • realism, not just inspiration
  • the truth about the risks of following your passion
  • tips on protecting yourself financially.

The reviewer is also very specific and detailed about the things that she doesn't like about the book.

Lather, rinse, repeat. Look at multiple books and multiple reviews for each one to get a thorough look at your dream clients wants + needs.

Now you're in an excellent place to start meeting your dream clients needs - including a better idea of how to phrase your offering to appeal to those needs.

Your next step

Take action.

There are 6 simple, but stellar ideas in this post.

Whether you implement one or all of them, you'll be in a much better position to tailor your offerings & your message to those that you most want to work with.

8 questions to clarify & articulate your purpose

 Getting clear on your brand message is an extremely important part of attracting the right people to your business. But it can also be a bit stressful or overwhelming. These 5 questions will help you get clear on your Big Why in the least complicated way. Check them out.

What's your core brand message?

What makes your business different to all the others out there?

Don't know?

You're not alone. Not knowing keeps you feeling stuck & uncertain because your message is the foundation of your business. 

It's perfectly normal to second guess "your message." It's a sign of growth that you're needing to refocus on this. So congrats!

It happens at every stage of business, whether you're just starting out or getting ready to uplevel.

It's an evolutionary process. You don't have to know it all, right now.

I have an ongoing file of ideas for ways to grow & improve my messaging. It helps make sure my message isn't going stale & I'll continue to attract the right clients. It never ends (and I kinda like that).

But there's always a few fill-in-the-blank questions that help you laser in on why you do what you do, no matter where you're at in business. 

These 8 fill-in-the blanks will help you get clear on your Big Why, without overcomplicating it. That's how you will get to the heart of what you do & why. 

Get a pen and paper. And get going.

But first...

keep your eyes on your own paper

Your core business message has nothing to do with anyone else. It's all about you, what you're passionate about & how you help people.

It doesn't matter if there's other people out there with a similar message. You will put your own spin on it.

So don't go searching for something "unique" just for the sake of being unique.

@@The thing that comes most naturally & seems most obvious to you holds the secret to your brand message@@

Your 8 BIG, fill-in-the-blank clarifiers...

I started this work because ______________________________.

It breaks my heart when _______________________________. As a ____________, it's my job to _______________________.

If there's 1 thing I want my clients to know it's: ________________.

I want to make a difference to __________ by _______________.

Everything I do is really about ___________________________.

My hope for my clients / readers / listeners / customers is ________.

This work I'm doing is important because ___________________.

When I'm on my soapbox, I could talk for hours about __________.

look for key themes

If you can complete these sentences, then you're halfway there. Now, look for themes & similarities in your answers.

What message is repeated in your answers? That is most likely your core brand message -- the thing you're most passionate about that forms the foundation of all your work.

Don't forget - it's ok if you don't know the answers just yet. It takes time to bed down your message at each new level of your business. Keep coming back to these questions every month or so & see what new things come up for you.

P.S. If you liked this post, you will also my post about how to explain what you do in one sentence. It will help you piece it all together.

This is why your marketing feels pushy

 You know you need to market & sell your wares to pay your bills. BUT! You hate the idea of being a pushy, sleazy salesperson.  Don’t we all. “When I grow up, I want to be a marketer!” said no one ever.  Icky self promotion is no one’s idea of a dream marketing system. So how do you market your business without feeling pushy?

You’re a difference maker. You started your business to make a difference to the people you can help.

And while you know you need to market & sell your wares to pay your bills, you hate the idea of being a pushy, sleazy salesperson.

Don’t we all.

“When I grow up, I want to be a salesperson!” said no one ever.

Icky self promotion is no one’s idea of a dream marketing system. So how do you market your business without feeling pushy?

First, let’s start with…

Traditional sales techniques WERE seriously pushy

For centuries, the greatest marketer or salesperson was someone who knew his product (or service) inside out and could persuade someone who knew nothing about the product (the ignorant buyer) that it could solve a problem that the buyer didn’t even know they had.

Hence the ultimate salesman cliché: “I could sell ice to eskimos.”

Umm… eskimos don’t need ice, buddy.

That shiz has been going on for centuries and we’ve all caught on to the saleman’s game now. We’re hyper aware of the tricks of the trade.

We haaaaate being sold to.

The game has changed.

We’re too cynical for the same old tactics to work on us. We’re sick of having things pushed on us & just want someone to LISTEN to us.

@@Listening to your client is now the starting point, NOT your offer@@

Your marketing feels pushy because you’re not listening to your clients

You’re assuming your dream client knows something that they don’t.

Your entire marketing strategy rests on your dream client’s awareness of their problem. Your offer is secondary to the client’s perception of their problem. You MUST know their level of awareness.

You’ve got to meet your clients where they’re at. Then you help them get where they want to be.

If you assume they’re somewhere they’re not, your marketing begins to feel pushy.

If you misunderstand their level of awareness, you’re talking into the wind. They won’t hear you, no matter how much you try to convince them.

Trying harder won’t turn them into converts. It’ll make them want to run away from your pushy self.

You’re someone who wants to work with clients in a win-win scenario where you both get a lot of value & satisfaction out of the business relationship. You want it to feel good.

But it doesn’t feel good to your potential client when you don’t know your their level of awareness & you think they’re better / faster / different than they really are. That’s when your client begins to feel like you’re being pushy.

Let me give you an example.

Imagine you’re marketing gum that helps people quit smoking. And imagine you’ve found a magic time travelling portal & you’re talking to Jane from 1960.

In 1960, smoking was all the rage. There was hardly any evidence to suggest that smoking would be harmful – it was just plain cool, ok Mum!

In other words, Jane have a very different mindset & perspective about smoking than you do. Jane has zero awareness that her cigarette habit is a problem that needs solving.

But you happen to know all the important, scientific information that we know now. Smoking = bad.

You can’t simply assume that 1960s Jane will believe you, especially not when everything else she hears contradicts your message.

The marketing conversation with 1960s Jane might go something like this:

You: Check out my gum that’ll help you easily quit smoking without the withdrawal symptoms!
1960s Jane: Quit smoking? Why would I want to do that?
You: Smoking is bad for you. You’ll feel so much better if you quit. Trust me!
1960s Jane: Pfft.

You could then turn to your fancy pants science and try to tell her what smoking does to her lungs or how it makes her age faster… but you’ve got her awareness level wrong, so now you’re just trying to force her to see your perspective.

You’re now coming off pushy.

You tried to capture her attention with the wrong thing (“this will help you quit smoking”), so she quickly lost interest. When you keep trying to persuade her, you turn into that pushy sales person you hate.

@@Your marketing feels pushy because it IS pushy@@

You need to meet your dream clients where they are

Meet them where they are, then guide them towards the realisation that your product or service will genuinely help them. You can’t force them to believe you. But you can guide them.

Imagine how different 1960s Jane's reaction to your quit-smoking gum would've been if you asked her a question like, "Are you worried about ageing too fast?"

She probably would've said yes & then you could've started explaining to her how her cigarettes are making her age faster. You could acknowledge that her "little smoking habit" may seem harmless, but there's lots of damage it's actually doing to her body behind the scenes.

Now, you're having a conversation and moving her from completely unaware to problem aware.

Then, you can take steps to get her from problem aware to solution aware. Once she's at that level of awareness, she knows she the results she wants, but not that your quit-smking gum product offers it.

Next, you can start to introduce her to your product and all the ways it will benefit her.

And that starts with getting to know your dream client & meeting them where they’re at.

4 podcasts by (and for) entrepreneurial women to put in your ears right this minute

I’m a podcast fanatic.

Working for yourself can be surprisingly isolating. I spend far too much time at home on my own, so I love listening in to awesome conversations & hearing people’s real voice and real opinions. It feels like I'm really making friends with & getting to know these people (so that I don't have to talk to my imaginary friends so much).

On top of that, I get so many genius ideas from listening in to other people’s ideas & understanding other perspectives on business building. And I get them while plugging in my headphones & pulling weeds or doing the dishes or something equally mundane. 

Podcasts are magazine subscriptions for your ears. You can subscribe to podcasts on your iPhone, have it synced between all of your devices & listen to them while you do your boring household chores or driving in the car. 

These are my top picks to put in my earbuds. Enjoy!

The Get Paid Podcast

Ever wondered how other people make money in their businesses? Claire Pelletreau did too, so she started a podcast about it.

The Get Paid Podcast asks the hard questions about what goes on behind closed doors in business and how people really make money (including exactly how much they make).

Her podcast is super practical and I often listen with my pen poised. It’s so interesting to hear the behind the scenes of how people make a profit in their business. I take lots of notes!

Click here to listen. (Claire has also been a guest on my podcast too.)

Raise Your Hand, Say Yes

Tiffany Han’s podcast, Raise Your Hand, Say Yes, is so freaking spot on. Tiffany is a business coach for highly creative women (including me) & she invites amazing guest on the show to inspire you & I to realise that it’s ok to do things that are scary.

You’ve got to raise your hand for the big, shiny opportunities you want, even if it’s scary. That’s why this is a podcast about the creative adventures of (extra)ordinary people.

Full disclosure: I got sidetracked while writing this post because I went to listen to more Raise Your Hand, Say Yes episodes… You should do it too.

Click here to listen.

Being Boss

Being Boss is a podcast for creative entrepreneurs with Emily Thompson & Kathleen Shannon. If you haven’t heard of Being Boss by now, you must be living under a rock. Kathleen and Emily have dominated the podcast world for the past year since they launched Being Boss. They even interviewed Brene Brown.

This podcast is equally inspiring and practical. It’s full of ‘you got this’ confidence, and ‘let’s get real’ advice on how to help you be boss in your own life & business.

Click here to listen.

Confessions of a Female Entrepreneur

I couldn’t create a list of awesome podcasts without listing my own, Confessions of a Female Entrepreneur podcast – because I’m so proud of it and want to share it with you. 

Unscripted & uncensored, the podcast interviews successful female entrepreneurs who talk openly about all the scary moments that add up to "success" – however you define that word. 

The goal is for you to recognise your story in their words & realise that if they can do it, so can you, even if it means breaking the so-called "business rules" and making your own.

Click here to listen.