Searching for unicorns: Finding and attracting your ideal clients

August 30, 2019


Tips and techniques from #ContentClubUK, for fellow creatives

I’ve been trying to find a positive way to start this article because saying, “There are only two types of client in this world: the naff ones and the ideal ones,” sounds downbeat.

But if I’m honest, the reason I chose ‘ideal clients’ as the topic for discussion when I hosted #ContentClubUK (CCUK) is because I all too often hear client-related horror stories from fellow creatives. Folks who land themselves in a spot of client bother, usually because they’ve agreed to work with someone who was never a great fit.

Hearing that a fellow creative is having a tough time is never pleasant. So there must be solutions and techniques we can use to make sure we attract more of our ideal clients — our unicorns — that simultaneously filters out bad-fits.

#ContentClubUK: a bunch of experienced unicorn spotters

If you’re not familiar with #ContentClubUK it’s a Twitter chat. Despite the name creatives from around the world gather for 30 minutes on a Tuesday and answer three questions chosen by that week’s host. There’s a different host each week.   

Here are the questions I put to the hive mind of CCUK and the advice, tips and wisdom they share on attracting ideal clients to your business.

Defining your ideal client

Before you know how to set unicorn-luring bait, you need to know what type of unicorn you’r trying to attract. Or to put it another way without the metaphors: you need to understand who your ideal client is.

So my first question to the CCUK crew was:

Who is your ideal client and how did you work out they’re the love of your business life?


A good example of getting clear on this was shared by Angela Rodgers.

She knows exactly what her unicorn looks like, the problem they’re facing and how she can help them. Other qualities many creatives look for in an ideal client include a client’s awareness of budget and payments, respect and trust, and they understand the value you bring to their business.





Jonathan Wilcock shared a great check list of what to look for when searching for unicorns.



Maybe pop this by your phone or laptop so the next time a lead gets in touch you can cross them off. If you can identify these qualities then WOOHOO! You may have a unicorn in your midst.

A little respect goes a long way

As mentioned, an ideal client will show a little R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

Many of us grow pretty thick skins in this business — you kind of have to — but we’re not dead inside.
Clients barking they need something immediately after ignoring us for weeks on end, hurts.

Clients continually changing the brief so we’re struggling through draft seven or eight (I can’t even compute going beyond that, even though I know some folks do), shows a lack of respect.

It’s a sad truth that many freelancers have to deal with rude or abrupt people. Manners cost nothing. It’s understood by many-a-creative that what we create is often subjective. An ideal client understands this too and has the ability to provide feedback that’s useful and constructive so we can all move closer to the finishing line.

And yes. I do appreciate that manners works both ways.

Attracting unicorns

Many members of #ContentClubUK knows their ideal client, but what magic traps are they setting to lure those unicorns in?

Question two was: How are you attracting the attention of those dreamy clients?



Prick up your ears, because this is where the really good stuff happened.



Lots of wisdom and techniques were shared, but the overriding message is make sure you’re visible wherever your ideal client hangs out.



Being in the right place at the right time is important, but so is being yourself. A branding specialist once told me, “Your vibe attracts your tribe,” and she’s right. By showing your true colours the right people will naturally be drawn to you, so authenticity and being human goes a long way, as these CCUK members rightly point out.





Ultimately, don’t be a dick. Which is what Dave’s saying here, but more politely.

Part of being yourself is also accepting that you are the expert. Your client is relying on you to do that, as Glenn explains.



An ideal client understands you are experienced and the authority in this, so trust you to do your job and welcome the suggestions you make.

Who’s your ideal client if you don’t have a niche and how do you attract them?

Great question and I’m glad you asked.

As a generalist (as in I don’t have a single niche) working out how to attract your ideal client who is, well, basically everyone, can be tricky.

Even if you don’t strictly niche, but there are some industries you like creating for better than others, then you might take Matt’s idea on board.

And it seems Ed is thinking along the same lines.

Psst, if you’re a freelancer or small brewery owner, for example, you might want to take a look at The Tasting Paddle.

If creating separate pages sounds too much, then return to the point about authenticity. If you let yourself be you, then that will come through in your site copy or design. Hopefully this will be enough to sort the sour cola bottles from the Liquorice Allsorts.

Changing your tactics

Being freelance means taking whatever work comes along is tempting. (Guilty.) But perhaps by making little changes in our business we can get more of those dreamy, ideal unicorn clients so we don’t have to pounce on all the jobs.

So for my final question, I asked CCUK-ers…

Question three: What changes could you make to your marketing plan so you attract more ideal clients to your business?



For many, the changes they’d like to make are to their portfolios, testimonials, case studies and SEO.








If you’re in any of those boats here are a couple of resources that could help you.

(Note: I’m not affiliated with any of these. They’re resources I’ve come across and have found cool/helpful.)


Try Kate Toon’s free Tiny Nibbles SEO course.

Or the 10 day SEO challenge to get you moving.

For case studies

Technical writer John Espirian, has some great words of wisdom on how to write a case study.

If DIY isn’t your thing, you could outsource it and get a slick AF case study from

(Also, the copywriting on this website is [emoji OK])

For testimonials

I’m a huge fan of getting and giving client testimonials and I’ll share the process I use to get these very soon.

In the meantime, take a read of this comprehensive guide on testimonials by Andy Crestodina and follow this great advice from Gill Andrews on where to use testimonials within your site.

Final thoughts

Getting the right eyeballs on your business takes time and energy. That’s marketing. And you gotta make sure you give your business marketing the time and attention it deserves.




The bonus question

Even though Content Club UK is only supposed to be three questions in 30 minutes, it’s become a lovely thing to tack on a bonus question. It’s a nice way to round-off the twitter chat and end it on happy, positive thoughts.

For the bonus question I asked: What’s your favourite line of feedback from one of your ideal clients?


“Robyn is always hitting the right tone of voice for our company…”

“…she said some lush things about me including ‘Creative. Fun. Professional. Approachable.’ which I loved <3”

“Dangerously likeable,”

“She can make the driest, most complex dumps of information clear and concise, and she’s got a penchant for a creative headline too.”

“The overall approach and execution is top notch. Keep up the good work. I couldn’t say enough good things about what Dominic is doing.”

I could go on and on. It’s a true honour to be part of an online community that’s full to the absolute brim of talented creatives.

If you’re a client looking for a writer, designer, strategist, developer who can help with your marketing, then I highly suggest you start by looking through the amazing people who replied to this.

Join in with #ContentClubUK

It’s a really friendly bunch of people who gather each week for Content Club UK. And everyone is welcome. You don’t have to be in the UK.

All you need is:

  • A twitter account
  • Half an hour of time
  • Be online at 11am GMT (8pm AEST if you’re in my part of the world)
  • BYO cuppa tea, coffee, beer or wine (again, that last bit if you’re in my part of the world).

Would be great to see you there.



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