• Aleya Harris

How to Find Your Ideal Customer Online

Getting more catering and events clients is about more than posting a few times on social media and hoping for the best. Instead, it involves a set of strategic steps whereby you get to know your ideal customer and then find them online.

That leads us to the question, “How do I find my ideal customer online?” It begins with defining your ideal customer avatar and then creating content for them. Then, you'll move forward to optimizing your website and using social media to deepen the engagement with them. Finally, you'll figure out where your ideal customer hangs out online.

In the following article, I’m going to show you how to get better clients by understanding who your ideal customer is and how to reach them by developing the best content. These are the steps I take when I want to figure out how to make my catering business more profitable.

Defining Your Ideal Customer

I know you're excited and want to create content for your target audience. However, before doing that, I want you to take a breath and think about your ideal customer.

Who are they?

What do they like?

Is it sliders for dinner and fried ice cream for dessert? Or, is your ideal customer trying to solve a different problem? Like, for example, are they planning a lunch for seventy-five executives and they have no idea how to set a budget.

When you think about your ideal customer, this is a person who is receiving precisely what they need from your business when they need it.

I know. That sounds incredibly simple, but that's because it is.

You'll need to niche down even further to develop a comprehensive understanding of your ideal customer avatar but, essentially, that's the concept.

Creating Content for Your Ideal Customer

Once you define your ideal customer, it's time to create content specifically for them. That way, you're capturing their attention and delivering the message they want to see.

Develop a Content Plan for Your Site

As you define your ideal client, part of that is analyzing their behaviors online. That means you're paying attention to how they're using the Internet to solve their problems. How can your company's blog provide them with solutions?

Define keywords or keyphrases that your ideal client will use during a search when attempting to solve their problem or ease their pain point. Use these keywords as the basis for each piece of content you feature on your company's blog.

Set Up Your Blog for Success

Let's say your ideal client is looking for solutions regarding kid-friendly catering ideas. You could create a blog title like "How to Plan Amazing Kid-Friendly Dishes" or "Top 7 Amazing Dishes Kids Will Love at Events!"

You might be wondering why the word "amazing" in both of those titles—and that’s a great question! I use CoSchedule's headline analyzer and, when you experiment with different "power" words, the score rises.

Interlinking Your Content & Lead Magnets

Make your content easier for current and potential clients to find by interlinking it together. What I mean by this is using the pillar and cluster system.

  • Pillar Posts: these pieces of content that are the “meat” of your idea. They support the main idea or main keyword, you’re writing about within a series.

  • Cluster Posts: each of these pieces of content support the pillar. They’re subtopics of the main idea and help flesh the topic out even further.

Interlinking these posts create a system of organization that not only allows your target audience to find your content quickly, but it also helps them continue on their path down the marketing funnel.

Your lead magnets must also be part of your content creation. For example, when I’m trying to figure out how to make my catering business more profitable, I turn to my lead magnets. Are they reaching my ideal customer avatar the way I want them to, or do I need to restructure them? Am I placing them in my content, so they make sense? Both of these things are critical for their success.

Optimizing Your Website for Your Ideal Customer (SEO)

We touched lightly on keywords and keyphrases regarding developing content for your blog. However, this is also a critical step regarding optimizing your website for your ideal customer. What that means is, you must research the keywords they’re looking up when trying to ease their pain points.

Yes, this is a step you’re already taking when writing your content. However, you must bring it a step further. Search engine optimization (SEO) includes much more than the content you’re writing on your blog.

You’re also optimizing your:

  • Images

  • Meta descriptions

  • Social media

  • Videos

  • Webpage content

  • Any other content on your site.

How do you do this? I’m so glad you asked! First, check out Neil Patel’s article about selecting the right keywords. Not only is it comprehensive, but it also suggests an incredible tool.

Next, we’re going to make sure the rest of your site is set up optimally.

  • Website content: make sure you’re featuring vital information, including your business’s physical address, contact information, an updated menu, and how to book.

  • Domain name: select something simple for your target audience to remember. For example, if your company’s name is “Carla’s Catering,” then your domain should be carlascatering.com.

  • Imagery: use as many high-resolution images as you can find featuring your menu items, events, staff, and so on. Remember, your target audience eats with their eyes!

  • Mobile optimization: if your target audience can’t use your website on their mobile devices, then you’re missing out on how to get more catering and events clients.

Using Facebook Ads to Target Your Ideal Customer

Facebook is making it insanely easy for us to reach our ideal customer using its advertising program. They're doing all the legwork for us and, as a result, we're figuring out how to get better clients. I love this tool because it saves a lot of time, and it's not intrusive.

Before beginning, I suggest using the Facebook Audience Insights Tool. That way, you can learn how to target your audience more effectively and build your custom audience based on their:

  • Behavior

  • Demographics

  • Interests

  • Likes

  • Location

  • Relationship status

  • . . . and so on.

You can save the information you collect in this tool for future ad campaigns, as well as whenever you want to boost. Depending on your marketing goals, you may create several custom audiences in this tool.

The first thing you'll notice when working with a custom audience is you're prompted to enter a page name. That way, Facebook can target people in that list or others who may be interested. Why do I love these features?

  • Non-connections: they receive introductory information until they learn more about my business, and we can build trust.

  • Connections: these people already know my brand, so they're ideal targets for special offers and email incentive offers.

  • Website visitors: they're already interested in what I'm offering. So, I target these connections with right sidebar general awareness offers and special offers.

Remember, non-connections are just as crucial as your connections and website visitors. They're part of feeding your marketing funnel because they match up with your ideal customer avatar.

Going Where Your Ideal Customer Hangs Out

We’re going to swing back to our ideal customer avatar again. That’s the best way to determine where your ideal customer is hanging out. When you know who they are and what pain points they’re trying to ease, it’s simpler to find these individuals.

For example, when I’m trying to figure out how to get more catering and event clients, I ask myself:

  • What services am I currently providing, and what problem does it solve for these potential clients?

  • What are the features of these services? What are the different benefits of each feature? How can these benefits solve my ideal customer's problem?

  • Who, in my target audience, experiences these problems?

Then, I dig a little deeper by looking at what the competition is doing. Who are my catering competitors? I look at their audience and try to discover any gaps. Then, I observe where they're successful and make a note of their failures.

Conducting this research is vital because it will help you articulate how you're business differs from others. Plus, once you do that, you can analyze how your target audience is finding you. By looking at things backward like this, you'll understand your ideal customer's behavior.

For example, if you're featuring a lot of videos and images of your catering company's events, you'll have better results reaching your ideal customers on:

  • Instagram

  • Pinterest

  • Tumblr

However, if you prefer featuring a wide variety of content, then Facebook and Twitter are optimal platforms.

Now that you’re on your way to finding your ideal customer online, it’s time to get to work! I can’t wait to discover how you use this information to enhance your business!

If you need help throughout your journey, I suggest signing up for our weekly Success Recipes email. In it, you’ll receive my strategic insights and know-how for taking your business to the next level.