Digital Distinction Strategies by Website Silk: Archetypes, Unique Selling Points and Shoulder Niches can help you succeed on the Internet.


Blog Post written by Ronel Pieterse

Ronel has 24 years corporate experience at senior levels (finance, mining, IT, manufacturing & agriculture), a B.Com degree (Business Management & IT) and postgrad Business Management (Henley). She has also started 5 small businesses over the past 20 years, 4 of which are still operational today due to her expertise in Digital Marketing. Ronel helps entrepreneurs to grow their businesses via a sustainable competitive advantage in the Digital Arena.

POST DATE: 2016-11-26

POST UPDATED: 2020-04-26


Any business or project relies on reaching, and connecting with a specific audience or group of customers; your Ideal Client to be specific; and how you define them and see them, will strongly influence how they perceive your brand in turn.

We will first look at defining your ideal client avatar and then explore how your market sees you as a result. For a more advance take on how you view your clients, the last section will explore how you view competitors for the same clients.

How would you describe your Ideal Client? Is it written down?

We all want more clients, or if we have loads already, we'd like more clients of a certain type (e.g. higher value, more appreciative, with better networks, closer to us etc).

To sell anything requires you to have something worthwhile, to know who to sell to, to get the message to them and to ask for the sale. Here we'll focus on WHO to sell to.

It's critical to know who you'd like to reach, else your marketing efforts will cost you and time will be wasted on the wrong prospects. Your personality, word use and style will also not resonate so there needs to be a match between your brand archetype and your target market. It is equally important to know who your clients are NOT.

Being able to clearly describe your client, is step 1 in your sales planning and critical if your goal is to increase qualified leads!

Here are some guidelines to craft your Ideal Customer Profile (i.e. a quality lead!):

It is critical that you have a very detailed description of your ideal client in mind. Knowing what your Perfect Prospect looks like, helps you create effective marketing material.

1 ~ Geography

You may run a worldwide online business, or you may be a physiotherapist servicing one town. Due to legal differences, you may want to concentrate on your own country. You may offer a service that only pertains to people in a certain area (e.g. rainwater systems in rural areas; or rust-proofing in coastal towns).

2 ~ Maturity (Age, Stage & Process)

You may want to start with young clients who'll grow with you, or only focus on Retirees. You may want customers who are already beyond a certain point (e.g. already graduated, or who are already marketing online) or you may want to guide those with no clue what they want next. If you sell jewellery, you may focus on dating and engaged persons, or those with a special birthday coming up. A hide-away resort may attract honeymooners.

3 ~ Spending Ability

Although obvious, many digital marketers seem to overlook the fact that they need clients who can afford whatever it is that they are selling. More subtly, you want a customer who is willing to spend on what you are offering. i.e. they see the value and they are willing to invest.

4 ~ Sex

A bra fitting service may interest the ladies whereas a boxing app may excite the guys (in general! LOL!). Today, many services and products are gender-blind, because the power of networking and referral is sought. It is also useful to watch over time if your brand naturally attracts more of one sex over another, which can inform subsequent marketing efforts.

5 ~ Culture and Religion

If you specialise in traditional Xhosa weddings, it will be senseless to market to everyone else. Past-life regression therapy will clearly be wasted on devout Christians who do not believe in reincarnation. If you want to market to the youth, you'd better have a social media strategy. Your Carnivore Restaurant will at most get a smirk from vegetarians and vegans. To get into a particularly tight old-boys club, or restrictive socio-political group, however, you may need to meet someone on the inside!

6 ~ Interests

Sports-persons will want to know about your special sports massage technique or training program. Book worms will be attracted to your free e-book. Parents with teens will fall over themselves to attend your seminar on staying connected to your child and keeping them safe in their teen years. Fishing enthusiasts, mountain bikers, runners and water-sport enthusiasts will be interested in your unique sunblock / hat.

7 ~ Mind-set

In a hospitality business I owned, I attracted people who responded well to a very specific set of words that pre-qualified them as appreciating my offering and made them highly likely to rate it well after their stay. This, together with under-promising and over-delivering, resulted in Tripadvisor Excellence Awards for 99.9% satisfaction ratings year after year. For a therapy practice, you may want to target unhappy or depressed persons. If you spend a lot of time with clients (e.g. on overseas guided tours) you may even want to attract people who share your own beliefs and worldview.

8 ~ Empathy

Beware of making the definition too narrow and keep in mind that they are YOUR personal perfect prospect. If you can put yourself in your prospect's shoes and imagine him or her throughout an average work day, your empathy will be engaged which results in expert Buyer Personas.

Hopefully you can craft a very tangible image in your mind; imagine your ideal client's home, weekend schedule, favourite music etc. Really get into the spirit of creating the perfect personality of your ideal customer. Then write out your Ideal Client Profile and place it in a prominent spot where it will influence every digital marketing engine or website development step that you take.

This is what I wrote for Website Silk's Perfect Prospect:

South African Entrepreneurs who are already committed to a venture and who are ambitious, ready for growth and open to learning (i.e. willing to ask for - and pay for - professional digital marketing advice that brings quantifiable results). Must be digitally connected as we often work remotely, and because any digital success requires the implementation at least part of our Digital Marketing Engine. We enjoy working with positive, ethical, self-aware, educated and hard-working persons usually between 30 and 60 who (to be really cheeky!) value nature, family and mutually supportive friendly connections.

If YOU fit this description, you are our model prospect! Please connect with me today or at least subscribe to our occasional newsletters below.

Knowing exactly who you'd like to do business with, will help you connect with more qualified leads, quicker. Write it down NOW! Even better, why not pop us a comment below with your ideal client description and your website address and if approved, we'll place it online for the world to see and give you some free exposure?

How you see your Clients influence how they see Your Brand

We want our clients to notice us, need us and celebrate us once we've helped them solve a problem.

We may spend hours and a small fortune to get a professional custom developed website, SEO our website, post to Facebook, build Google Ad Campaigns etc. But there is ONE element, if overlooked, that will negatively influence all marketing material we create.

Consider the following statements - which one is most true for YOU?

  • My clients are just prospects needing to be moved through a process, only once the sale is made do they become clients
  • I get excited with each email or call! My clients are great people and I love being able to solve a problem for them
  • Clients can be unreasonably demanding, want everything for nothing - I sometimes dread client-facing interaction

Now I am fully aware all the statements may apply for you SOME of the time with SOME of your clients, however the statement that applies for you most often will influence and inform every decision you make in your marketing efforts. It will shine through the words and images you choose for your online presence. It will shine through in the sales process you use to guide your clients to a solution. It will affect how you react to clients who pay late, or who cancel when you've already spent hours on them, or who will never thank you for your efforts. It affects everything.

If you are working very hard at your digital marketing without seeing results - check your 'vibe' towards your client. What you send out is what you get back, generally. I wish for you that your attitude and view of your clients will attract loads of wonderful, appreciative, paying clients!

What you send out comes back: keeping a positive vibe when dealing with clients help to attract great, kind clients back to you.

Have you Hugged a Competitor Lately?

You see a competitor doing something newsworthy, or getting kudos for something you do at least as well, if not better... and your belly clenches - right?

Believe me, my own love-hate relationship with competitors has had to mature over the years! I graduated to where I now believe cooperative competition is one of the secrets of digital marketing success. And no, you don't actually have to hug : )

Yesterday I reached out to a nearby competitor. He could have given me a chilly reception, but he didn't, and in our 15 minute chat, we found that not only do our target markets differ somewhat, but the services we offer only overlap to a limited extent. This means we can each refer the work we're not geared for, to one another. YAY!

Why you should Reach Out to Competitors:


For starters, you share a host of challenges, which makes you part of a tribe of sorts. You may be able to share stories, digital solutions, techniques, even resources (e.g. imagine several hospitality concerns clubbing in to share the cost of a central booking agency).


Even if you operate in the same area, you are likely to have somewhat different target audiences. NOTE: If you are arguing that you have exactly the same audience as your competitor, you have not done your Ideal Client Profile or your USP's exercise correctly and your brand will suffer! Seek help from a marketing consultant to get the basics right.

Audience divergence means that you can refer business that does not suit you, to one another (e.g. in hospitality, you may not want 1-night stays in your off-the-beaten-track lodge and your competitor may not want families with kids in their boutique hotel).


Entrepreneurship can be a long, lonely road. It helps to occasionally connect with someone who really understands the unique challenges. After all, they climb the same hills and often stumble over the same rocks as you. Isolation will numb you both.


Your respective service menus will have areas of overlap and, SURPRISE!, areas where they DON'T overlap! This means you can refer work that you are unable or unwilling to do yourself at present, to one another (e.g. I can now refer at least some graphic design and hardware enquiries to my competitor and I am willing to do the fast html custom-coded websites that he finds disruptive when he's concentrating on complicated firmware programming).

Since you and your Competitor may have the same target market, even if not the exact same ideal client, it is important to work together wherever possible.


Some benefits of co-optition can be as simple as being able to help a client with a referral when you are fully booked yourself - thereby helping a client find a solution to a problem, and someone else with getting more business. NOTE: be sure you can back your referral though, as it can reflect on you if something should go wrong.


Belonging to a networking group, accreditation body, or industry society often brings negotiated discounts from suppliers that serve your industry (e.g. mattress companies offering a discount to all B&B's affiliated with the grading council). Such forums also allow for ongoing learning and some social interaction.


Some competitors you must avoid like a beehive on a hot day. They are the ones who blatantly copy everything you pioneer on the web, or who will badmouth you to potential clients, or who are just of the plain nasty variety. Use your discretion.

A rising tide raises all ships!

If your digital efforts have become a little tedious and your prospects a little stale, meeting up with a competitor may just liven things up for you both.

For decades now, I have enjoyed more benefits by working with key competitors than drawbacks. I have even made some lasting friendships, and in one instance, a 10-minute discussion with a competitor helped me increase my income by 30% almost overnight!

Open up to doing something you may never have considered before! And you may reap rewards you may never have thought possible. There is place for us all. There is more than enough business to go around if our USP's are clear and our digital marketing is effective.

Please, if you aren't sure how to apply this, please chat to us at WebsiteSilk now!


2017-09-24 Roberto: WOW! Organized and actionable advice. In my experience it pays to be a good neighbour and understanding the people behind the customer mask has done wonders for my public relations. I thank your wrists for sharing ;)

Ronel: LOL - my wrists appreciate the feedback Roberto!

2017-11-10 Sherlene: Some extremely valid points! I especially apprеciate your view on competitors as I have had similar experiences.

Ronel: Thank you Sherlene

2018-09-19 Jennifer: This post is deceptively simple yet effective - the perfect balance between usability and appearance. It also loads much faster than any other blog I visit!

Ronel: Thanks for your comment Jennifer. Our blog us custom-developed in html/css for the fastest possible loading speeds.


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