B2B Writers International

How and Why to Clarify Your Ideal Client Profile

4 minute read

Imagine, for a moment, that you own a brick-and-mortar shop that sells sandwiches.

How would you get people in the door?

Since your shop sells sandwiches to anyone, you might simply locate your shop in a busy area… and hang a sign outside that says “sandwiches.” You’ll certainly attract the attention of anyone who’s hungry.

Unfortunately, it’s not that easy to bring in the right clients for your B2B writing business.

You don’t sell a commoditized product or service with universal appeal like sandwiches. Not everyone needs or wants your product.

What you sell is premium writing or consulting services. And if you want to sell your services at a premium price, you’ll need to find the specific people who need your services.

This is where your ICP — Ideal Client Profile — comes in.

Clarifying your ICP is the best way to start leveling up your business. So today, I’m going to share strategies and tips for you to do this.

Types of ICPs

I’ve worked with three main types of clients in my own B2B business:

  1. The founder
  2. The marketing manager
  3. The marketing agency owner

These three are just a few of the possibilities, but let’s use them as an example.

Notice how different their needs are:

The founder might be a one-person business, or a business owner with a small team.

They may not know much about marketing themselves… or know what they need. They’ll often be looking for someone who can guide them as well as implement the basics.

The marketing manager is most likely educated about marketing and tends to be solution-aware. They probably have a specific marketing need they’re looking to fill, like a white paper writer or a content strategist.

The marketing agency owner is looking for reliable contractors to fulfill client work. They’re looking for someone whose work both meets their quality standards and that they can sell for a higher price than what they’re paying for it.

Of course, these are generalizations, and your own findings may vary. But the point is that different types of clients will have different needs. The more you understand the needs of your ideal client, the more you can tailor your services and messaging to them.

Five Ways to Clarify Your ICP

So how do you clarify your Ideal Client Profile? These five techniques have worked for me — and can for you, too.

#1. Pick an Industry

I’ve come to believe that choosing a single industry is one of the best things you can do for your B2B business.

As entrepreneur Alex Hormozi teaches in his book $100M Offers, it almost doesn’t matter which industry you choose. (Just stay away from dying industries, like newspapers or CD manufacturing.)

Pick a niche that makes sense for you, and then focus on it relentlessly until you start getting traction.

For instance, my own industry is “climate tech.” It took me months to identify this industry, but now that I’ve focused, I’ve been getting more inbound leads in my business than ever before.

#2. Study Profiles on LinkedIn

If you’re stuck, study profiles of people on LinkedIn. Type an industry and role into the search box (i.e., medical marketing manager), then filter the results by “people.”

You’ll see a list of possible prospects — and you can study their profiles. (You can use the “all filters” tab to refine this list further.)

How and Why to Clarify Your Ideal Client Profile

Another way to study profiles is to search specific companies. On the company LinkedIn page, click on “people” or “employees.”

You’ll be able to see a list of people who work at that company and can study any interesting positions. Here’s an example:

How and Why to Clarify Your Ideal Client Profile

Once you start finding profiles that look interesting, take note of:

  • Their role in the company.
  • The way they describe their job in the title and about section.
  • What they post about and share.

These are all clues as to how you can help them.

Don’t be afraid to go down the LinkedIn “rabbit hole” in this step. This type of exploration will give you all kinds of ideas and insights for your business.

#3. Learn from Agencies and Other Freelancers

You can also research the industries established freelancers and agencies are targeting.

If their messaging is clear, they’ll call out their target audience on their website, LinkedIn marketing, and more

For instance, I know other B2B writers who work in SaaS, fintech, hospitality, tourism, mental health tech, and more.

This is how I came across the “climate tech” niche. A consultant I was working with was targeting this niche — which gave me the idea to explore that industry further.

#4. Identify Where Your Target Audience Hangs Out

In your research, pay attention to where your audience spends time online and offline.

Is there a big industry conference or trade show everyone attends? An online community or membership that’s particularly active?

This will take time to discover, but you can keep adding to your list as you discover new events, conferences, and networks.

You can also ask people directly. I started asking people, “What industry events are you excited about?” when I connected with them on LinkedIn, and I learned about multiple relevant events in my region.

#5. Attend Industry Events

There’s no better way to clarify your ICP than to show up at industry events and talk with people.

By talking with people in your industry, you’ll gain deep insights into trends, types of companies you could work with, and so much more.

You may not have much budget for events early in your business. If that’s the case, get as scrappy as you can. Look for free trade shows, inexpensive virtual events, or even YouTube videos posted by the conference.

Always Be Clarifying Your ICP

Clarifying your ICP is not a one-time thing. It can take weeks and months to evolve and fine-tune — and that’s okay. So don’t feel the pressure to get it right on day one. And once you have a foundation, you can continue to refine it.

As you understand your ICP better, everything will become easier, from your marketing, to your pricing, to your service delivery.

Clarifying your ICP is such a helpful step for leveling up your B2B business. And as you’ll see in our next installment, it’s the basis for your marketing plan.