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What does an I.C.A. have to do with website design?

Do you know what an I.C.A. is? Or what an I.C.A. has to do with website design? Find out the answer to both questions in this post by Shawna.

I.C.A. Have you heard that term before? If not, you may be wondering what an ICA has to do with website design.

 

So first, let’s go over what an ICA is and how it relates to designing a website.

 

What is an I.C.A.?

An ICA is an acronym that stands for “Ideal Client Avatar“. Basically if you could dream up a client that is a raving fan who wants everything you offer, what would they look like? This idea of a dream client has also been called a “buyer’s persona” by  Hubspot. This quasi-fictional person can be out there, they’re just not your client right now because they don’t know you’re here on the interwebs.
Why don’t they know you’re here? Because you’ve not marketed towards them so they don’t see you when they’re searching for what you have to offer. It seems a little counter-intuitive, but keep reading. I promise it will all make sense in the end.
 
When you’re thinking of what your ideal client or buyer persona looks like, you should consider all things, not just physically. Here are some things to consider when you’re thinking of who your ideal client looks like.
 
  • What is their background?
  • Income level?
  • Education level?
  • Are they a parent or a grandparent?
  • Are they adopted?
  • Are they a minority?
  • Do they prefer handmade rustic gifts or minimalistic luxury?
  • Country girl or city boy?
 
Why is this important?
 
If you’re like one of our clients (BWR Supplies – Gift Ideas) and make handmade wooden items, your products are going to appeal to a different audience than another one of our clients who produces custom high-end leather bags (Dodson Designs). The customers looking for what Diane makes over at BWR Supplies; rustic handmade gifts for every day gifting; will be looking for items at a lower price point than the one who is looking for high-end custom leather bags that Don creates. Knowing your customer helps US plan and strategize how we design your website, the words chosen that will appeal to them, and develop a content and SEO strategy that optimizes your website.
 
We are after all in the business of designing websites that work for you. 😉
 
And a hint – YOU may not be your ideal client.
 

How your I.C.A. relates to website design.

So now that you know WHAT an ideal client avatar is, let’s look a little deeper into how it helps us create a website that actually works for you.

Knowing who your target market is (another, more broad way of saying I.C.A.), helps us determine the best long tail keywords to use for your SEO. Remember that all of our builds have basic SEO principles in our design process. Whether you pay for additional content to help boost that search engine optimization or not. We’re going to look at Dodson Designs again for this example. One of the niche markets he markets to is the steampunk community. Knowing this, when we are adding the file information like the keywords and other meta data to the image file, we will use terms like “custom steampunk leather bag” as a keyword  or phrase. We may also use words like “apocalyptic”, “bespoke”, “hand-crafted”, “artisanal”, etc. Diane’s audience on the other hand would likely search for words like “hand-made / handmade”, “gift for house warming”, “rustic gift”, etc.

They both sell hand made products but need to market to two completely different audiences. Knowing who your audience is helps us do this kind of behind the scenes work so we can live up to our promise of designing an accessible website that works for you.

An example of an I.C.A.

So what would an I.C.A. look like? You can write it out in story format or you can use quick bullets to get the basics down. Shawna just tends to highlight the important things, so here’s our bullet list of what OUR ideal client might look like:

  • Small to medium sized business with less than 50 employees.
  • The business is financially secure and looking to improve their profit by utilizing a website to collect email addresses and/or promote their products and services.
  • Has advanced education (not necessarily degree, but continued personal development and sees the benefit of continued growth).
  • Has a growth mindset.
  • Understands the importance of hiring out tasks that they are not proficient in so they can focus on I.P.A.’s (income producing activities).
  • Understands the importance of maintaining an online presence with a secure and up to date website.
  • Appreciates that digital accessibility is our standard.
  • Is between the ages of 30 and 60.
  • Is somewhat tech savvy and knows how to use programs like Google Drive, email, and can navigate the internet.

Now, are ALL of our clients our I.C.A.? NOPE! But that’s why this is called an “ideal client avatar”; it is the type of customer we dream of because it makes the process of designing a site easier. We have clients who are not techy savvy but are amazing to work with because of their personality. We have clients who are older than 60 but are techy savvy. We have craftsmen bringing awareness to their trade, tradesmen bringing awareness to their craft, bookkeepers, information technology service providers, and a few ecommerce stores thrown in for good measure.

Knowing who you DON’T want to work with is just as important.

On the flip side of knowing who your I.C.A. is, by doing this little exercise you also find out who it is NOT. And that’s equally as important. Diane’s ideal customer, for example, is NOT someone looking for black and white plastic products with clean minimalistic lines. Don’s ideal customer is NOT someone who wants cheap faux leather seat cushions that the customer’s cat is going to scratch all to hell. And our ideal customer is not someone who needs a massive e-commerce store that is hundreds or thousands of products deep. Knowing who your customer is, and is not, will not only help US with creating your site but it will help you as you focus on growing your business.

Also – it’s important to mention that it’s okay to say no and to refer people to someone else who is a better fit for what the customer/client wants and needs.

I hope you found this helpful! Let us know who your I.C.A. is in the comments below.

 

 

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