Every morning, I drop my son at preschool after sending my daughter off on the school bus. In the hustle and bustle of getting everyone prepped, organized, fed, and washed up for the day, caffeine is often the last thing I get around to (and probably the first thing I NEED).
Thank goodness, there’s a solution: Starbucks has got me covered.
You see, there’s a Starbucks IN THE PARKING LOT of my son’s school.
I kid you not.
It’s brilliant and so convenient for busy parents. This Starbucks has a primed audience full of under-caffeinated moms and dads who need an extra jolt to move through their day.
Starbucks meets us where we are.
It’s almost comical to watch all the parents drop their kids off and immediately pull into the drive-through line!
Starbucks chose an incredible location right in front of their ideal client (busy suburban parents). Not only did they pick a good physical location with high traffic and visibility to attract their ideal audience, but they also considered several other factors related to the lifestyle and needs of a typical parent.
When you meet both your audience and your clients where they are you can:
Be where your PEOPLE are!
Meeting your audience where they are means ingraining yourself in their reality. It’s about spending time where they do, consuming similar information, listening to their concerns, familiarizing yourself with their industry, and tending to their needs as REAL people with unique challenges, goals, and preferences.
It also means continuing to meet them where they are once they make the leap from audience member to paying client!
When you actively fit yourself, your business, and your offers into the lives of your audience and your clients, you’ll see tremendous benefits for everyone involved each step of the way.
When it comes to marketing and engaging with your audience there are so many benefits in store for your business when you meet your people where they are in every sense of the phrase.
Your offers will sell better when you meet your audience where they are. Stop throwing offers out there, and crossing fingers and toes wishing something would stick! Instead of expecting people to stretch to meet you and the offer you’ve created in a vacuum, get on their level!
When you listen to your audience and spend time in their world, your marketing will feel more aligned, and your offers will convert. You’ll never feel like you’re talking down to your audience because you’ll be able to empathize with them and offer tangible solutions.
As a result, the people you’re trying to reach through your messaging will hear you loud and clear. You’re “speaking their language,” appealing to their pain points and goals, and actively choosing to get in front of them on their own terms. Rather than expecting them to seek YOU out, you’re meeting them where they already are.
When you frame your offer to fill a specific need, you’ll find more alignment with your clients and repel those looking for something different or at another stage (those you can’t serve as well with this offer). Stop fielding questions from people who aren’t suitable for your offer. It’ll save you a lot of time and energy!
Plus, your efforts to meet your audience on their level can extend beyond your marketing and engagement strategy. You can also pull this approach into your client work. I highly recommend you build your customer experience and offers this way.
In your client work, you can expect advantages like this:
When you take the time to understand and serve your clients, you’ll genuinely understand what they need. You can confidently create programs with them in mind, better anticipate obstacles so you can clear them effortlessly, streamline their experience with you to create an intentional client experience, and ultimately set them up for success. How you guide them through the journey can be the difference between your client feeling entirely frazzled and entirely supported.
Say you’re a website designer. A client comes to you for some help with their website design and programming. They are outsourcing this project and requesting your help because they are already OVERWHELMED!
While a lot goes into building a website, it wouldn’t make sense to bombard them with 72 different tasks, 50 new resources, and a bucket full of to-do items right off the bat! They came to you to DITCH the overwhelm, not acquire MORE! This immediately cripples the relationship!
We’ve all been guilty of this at one point or another!
You’re probably tempted to send a bajillion items and tasks for several reasons. Maybe you want to show your value and give them the tools that demonstrate you know your stuff. Or, perhaps you want to be efficient and get the ball rolling by sharing everything upfront.
While your intentions may be good, this will probably backfire.
Instead of being impressed by the breadth and depth of your knowledge and expertise, your already-overwhelmed client will probably feel paralyzed, sinking them further into their overwhelm instead of alleviating it.
When you meet your audience or client where they are (overwhelmed in this case), you can guide them through a journey with both skill and intention.
I recommend you drip out requests and assignments to your clients so you can both prioritize what you need and when. Remember, they have so many other things on their plate! Make your requests bite-sized and straightforward so they can complete them promptly and meet your expectations.
This approach will build wins and momentum in your work together, setting a positive tone for any project! Plus, it’s a win-win for both of you because you will have a happy client who gets the results they were looking for, and you’ll get the information you need to do a good job and deliver on the expectations you set!
We’ve already touched on a few ways to start meeting your audience and your clients where they are in your workflows and communication. But, there are countless ways to do this before, during, and after you work with a client. Here we’ll explore some of my most effective ways to do this in your work as a creative entrepreneur.
Literally, BE where they are! This could be online or in-person. There is power in proximity! These shared experiences, circles, or events will often give you something to talk about or a way to connect! Consider meeting your audience and ideal clients:
“Being there” will make you more visible to your ideal client, and it will also help you stay on the pulse of their needs, industry trends, and relevant topics within the community you serve.
“Where” your ideal client is, isn’t always a physical location. It also refers to where they are on the customer journey and their own professional or personal journey.
It’s crucial that you understand these pieces of the client journey for marketing purposes and as you’re building out and refining your client experience:
Focus your messaging on their current state, not behind or ahead of where they are. If your ideal client has a Squarespace site and needs help optimizing it, it wouldn’t make sense to market an offer about “setting up your Squarespace page.” They’ve moved past that stage. It also wouldn’t be helpful to skip ahead and pitch to advanced coding techniques. You need to meet them smack in the middle!
Message to that. But more importantly, build your offer and customer experience around their current state.
Get really specific! For example, if your ideal client is new to their business, they may have particular pains. They may not be able to pay an upfront lump sum for your services right away. Payment plans help meet clients where they are financially without adding strain so they can access your offer and see the results they need.
This is one of the most fundamental but straightforward ways to meet your clients where they are. While YOU may have non-negotiable ways of working, you should also consider when it is appropriate to be flexible.
For example, I have one client who LOVES ClickUp (almost) as much as I do! She uses it for project management within her own business, so it makes sense that we incorporate it into our work together! She’d rather not have to hop on a phone call due to the unpredictable nature of her week (in fact, she would find regular check-ins on a platform like Voxer really disruptive). Instead, we have set our systems up to work within her preferences and schedule.
Another client of mine, on the other hand, hates ClickUp. She gets overwhelmed by too many tech platforms and prefers to do weekly phone call check-ins and email correspondence. She favors a more hands-on, high-touch approach, so we chat on Voxer often and touch base regularly throughout the week.
I work with each of these clients in a different way that makes sense for them without sacrificing my needs or boundaries. Weaving in these communication preferences and work styles will make your clients much more successful because you seek out ways to serve them where they are.
An often-overlooked way to meet your clients where they are is to take accessibility into account. Accessibility simply means making something easy to obtain or use while also ensuring it can be understood and appreciated.
Here are my favorite ways to prioritize accessibility in your creative business:
At the end of the day, it comes down to inclusivity.
As a business coach for creatives, I customize all of my curricula to the client, their business, and their current stage. I take time early on to define their goals, needs, and skills. We return to these throughout our work together since they may change, grow, and evolve with time.
Yes, I have a framework I use and a set of tools I know all creative businesses need. So while I customize, I do so around this proven framework that offers the structure and support they require. I ensure each client has the essential pieces in place, but the order and pace may change from one client to the next. We may add some things in or skim over the content they already have a good grip on. Plus, I may explain concepts differently or offer various resources to aid learning when I introduce new ideas or approaches, depending on their background or learning style.
When it comes to creative businesses, there is no one-size-fits-all blueprint.
We are all starting at a different place and stage with unique experiences, foundational skills, and resources. More importantly, we all have distinct goals and definitions of success. Because of these factors, I actively choose to meet my clients where they are and walk alongside them to help them solidify and build THEIR ideal creative business.
Now that you understand what it means to meet your audience where they are, why it’s so essential, and the many different ways you can break down barriers and streamline systems for your clients, it’s time for you to take this knowledge out into the world!
Here are a few step-by-step journaling prompts to get you started:
I challenge you to reflect on and implement at least ONE of these options to start connecting with your audience and supporting your clients more intentionally. Then, click here to shoot me an email and let me know how it went! Accountability is KEY when it comes to taking action and moving the needle forward in your business, and I want to be that for you anytime you need it!
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