It’s June 2021, and for some of the world, it seems as though we are “done” with COVID, and “ready to get back into the studio with real, live people. Problem is, some of us don’t want to go back in-person, now, or ever again. If you’re in that boat, I’d like to share with you some considerations on how to transition to an online-only voice business by reviewing your ideal client.
Depending on how effectively you were able to deliver your service over the last year, this may or may not be a lot of decision-making and changing. I find that many people have to reframe what they are used to doing and being in order to be successful at this transition.
Starting June 3, I began giving itty bitty bites of info on each of the concepts noted below in the bullet list. My hope is that you’ll have some time to chew on each concept and gain some headway in how you approach your transition!
These blogs will not be a “this is exactly what you should do” checklist. Think of them more as “here are some things to consider as you move forward”, because essentially, you are opening a new type of business.
When you choose to remain online, you’ll want to reframe your mindset around a few things:
- Your offer(s)
- Your business delivery model (and perhaps the entire model) – last week
- Your ideal client profile – THIS WEEK
- The inquiry and onboarding process
- Your marketing needs and strategy
Shall we begin? Today, let’s talk about your ideal client profile.
Trust me: Ideal clients are Essential
We talk about ideal client a lot in The SpeakEasy Cooperative and other programs. Ask any member – if they ask a question about offers, marketing, branding, pricing, ANYTHING, one of the team is going to respond with “who is the ideal client?” I’m sure it’s annoying. Still, it’s absolutely necessary.
The idea of an ideal client can be a confronting concept for people because many client-centered businesses have what I call “warm body syndrome” – packing their businesses with whomever they can get, rather than taking the time to truly discover who they can best serve.
This particular blog isn’t here to convince you of the value of an ideal client. I am going to assume that you, dear reader, are smelling what I’m stepping in. And trust me: just like brand, you have an ideal client already, even if you haven’t been intentional about communicating it.
For today, just go with me, and this definition: an ideal clientele are specific, repeatable, person(s) who find the perfect solution to their needs in the services you provide. They need what you got, and you got what they need. Ideal clients are the people who you understand and serve so well that working together is painless, profitable, and full of mutual respect. (Note: if you work with kiddos, the combo of the guardian/parent and the kid is the ideal client – not one or the other.)
Look at your current clients to re-examine fit
Let’s call it like it is: pre-pandemic, most people who chose in-person lessons in the first place either didn’t want to take online lessons, or had no idea such a thing was even possible.
If you started out with a large in-person studio, then transitioned to online because of Covid 19, and had not used online options until then, your current client base may be anxiously assuming you’ll be back in person as soon as you have a chance. They are “holding out until it’s back to normal.”
It’s time to take a good look into your current clientele to determine if they still truly fit the business model you’ve chosen.
In some cases, your current clients are no longer your ideal clients, because your solution – online connection and voice training – does not truly solve their need – in person connection and training in the voice. They were just doing online lessons in the meantime.
It’s now time to do some spelunking and figure out just why singers, speakers, voice users, etc would choose to be online or in person.
Good news is: You may find that some of your current may have found that having the online lessons were more convenient, less intimidating, easier on the life schedules, exciting, rewarding, more impactful due to comfortability. These students will begin to give you a better picture of who your revised ideal client is.
Who wants online lessons, anyway?
Here are some reasons why people prefer online lessons… take note, because these kinds of people and their needs are part of your new ideal client avatar:
- Wants to study with a teacher who is a perfect fit in terms of personality, regardless of location.
- Cannot find the type of teacher, in terms of skills set and knowledge, in their local area.
- Loves the feeling of safety or control of being in their own room/space.
- Take lessons from anywhere! Maintain a traveling lifestyle (this is especially true for clients who have touring gigs lined up!)
- Students LOVE the convenience – hop onto Zoom instead of in the car
- Parents LOVE the convenience – “I can finally get everyone where they need to go when we four kids and four different places to be!”
- Less invasive of an experience.
- More fun tools (screen share, mics, Goodreads, etc)
- Enjoy using backing tracks, even prefer it – karaoke rockstar, anyone?
- Plays multiple instruments and prefers to have them accessible rather than lugging them to lessons.
- Wants a more realistic “self-tape” experience.
- They are moving, or you are moving, and the relationship is so strong, it’s worth keeping online.
- Ability to have multiple people/coaches in sessions
- Reduction in drive time opens up availability
- Not having to find childcare in order to take lessons – kids can be asleep or watching a show, or whatever, while the parent is in lessons.. (THIS IS MY FAVORITE ONE!)
You’ll notice that the ideal client here isn’t only looking for “quality training.” They are looking for convenient, practical, “make my life easier” quality training. They value time spent differently than you may be used to!
They probably have similar vocal goals as those who prefer in-person… they just want to get to those goals in a way that works better for their lifestyle and specific needs.
Be careful of assumptions
The last thing I’ll leave you with is that you’ve got to dig deep to see if you can uncover any biases you may have about the type of people that take online lessons.
Thumbtack or Lessonsdotcom can lead us to think that only dabblers or beginners take online lessons, or that online lessons are cheap.
YouTube can lead us to think only fame hungry people take online lessons, or that online lessons are expensive.
The implicit biases we have around online lessons can sometimes make or break us. Now that we’ve all got a good schooling in the fact that it’s ACTUALLY POSSIBLE, we’ve got to dig out some those old thoughts and deal with them.
Next week, we’ll dive into the inquiry and onboarding process, and how that will change when you’re now working with people you may never meet in real life.
How has YOUR ideal client changed? Did some of your students develop an “online only” preference? Which ones? Tell us about it!
All my BeastyBoss,