Client Filters: What They Are, Why You Should Have One, and How to Get Started
When was the last time you took a step back from your business to re-evaluate and make sure that you’re making smart decisions about how you’re doing things and the people you’re working with? Maybe it was just a month or two ago, at the start of a new year when you set up your resolutions for your business and your marketing efforts. Maybe you take a big-picture look at things every quarter. Perhaps you go on an annual retreat to work on the business and get a fresh perspective. Regardless of when you do it, whenever you’re making decisions for your business you should always be running new ideas and everyday processes through your client filter to identify if what you’re doing still makes sense.
So what is a client filter, and how I do get started?
A client filter, or an audience persona, as we tend to call it here at LMG, is an imaginary person that you’ve set up as a means for making sure that the way you’re doing business appeals to your ideal client. Going through this exercise to create a client filter is critical, especially when it comes to marketing efforts, because it allows you to know who it is that you’re actually trying to target, and to get a feel as to whether or not your efforts will appeal to that person, so that you’re not wasting time, money and energy.
For example, our personas are Chris and Cheryl. Whenever we’re looking at launching a new product or going after a new market, we always put our ideas through the “Chris filter” and the “Cheryl filter” to determine if what we’re doing would appeal to them. We also do this when we’re looking at ways to improve our internal processes to make things easier and more streamlined – both for us and for our clients. If we run our ideas through the Chris or Cheryl filter and the answer is “no, that would not appeal to him/her,” we either don’t do that thing, or we adjust how we’re doing it until it will appeal to Chris and Cheryl.
To get started, we recommend grabbing someone else that can help you go through the exercise of creating these personas. This person will be responsible for taking down what you’re saying and for prompting you for more details as needed. Then, just start talking. Describe this persona in detail, as if you were describing your best friend. What are they like? What do they wear? What do they look like? What do they like to do? What organizations do they support? What do they drive? Where do they work? What makes them happy? All of these details are important.
Once you have everything written out and organized into a document, jump over to a stock library (paid or free, it doesn’t matter), and find a picture that best encapsulates that persona you just created. Obviously you’re not likely to find a picture that matches absolutely perfectly, but look for one that matches mostly. Drop that photo into your document, so that you have everything together for future reference. Doing this will allow you to put a face to the name, the same way you would when you’re picturing the client you just had lunch with. Once the persona is created, file it away somewhere that you can easily access it, and be sure that your employees have access to it too, so that everyone can run ideas and processes through this new filter.
If you would like our help in creating or reviewing your audience persona, don’t hesitate to reach out!