What good is a website if we don’t know who we’ve built it for? What good is a campaign if we’re unsure of who we’re trying to reach?
One of the biggest marketing mistakes made by young businesses is not a lack of a quality product or stellar service; it’s that they haven’t taken the time to identify their ideal customer avatar.
As a result, even the most amazing marketing efforts are dead in the water if they fail to reach the right people, on the right platform at the right time.
What is a Customer Avatar?
A customer avatar is a detailed description of a business’s ideal customer. We’re not talking about a group of customers or a certain type of customer–a Customer Avatar focuses on one person and outlines as many details about them as possible.
“But our plan is to sell to a bunch of people. Why are you telling me to only focus on one?”
It’s all about specificity. The devil is in the details, as they say and the riches are in the niches! In other words, if you try to be everything to everybody, chances are you aren’t going to appeal to anyone at all. And that’s very sad, especially when you’re spending big bucks on fancy digital marketing 🙁
The answer? Do a little research, get a lot creative and fill out this worksheet while you’re at it!
Creating a Customer Avatar
We’ve mapped out this whole process–follow along and we’ll show you how to create your customer avatar in no time.
1. Determine Your Avatar’s Characteristics
Just like any living, breathing human, your customer avatar has a purpose, a personality and specific problems they are trying to solve. Creating a successful avatar will take you well beyond the basic information, so don’t be afraid to step into the shoes of this individual! What do they look like? Where do they hang out (online or otherwise)? How do they consume content and entertainment?
Answer the following questions in as much detail as possible:
- Demographics (age, gender, marital status, location)
- Job title and description
- Hobbies and interests
- Goals, challenges and objectives
- Sources of information and entertainment (websites, books, magazines)
2. Dig Deeper
We hinted at this above: take a little time to really get into character! You want to find out what makes your ideal client tick; what are their pet peeves, what do they value most, are they parents to small children, what’s their favorite ironic cocktail??
Here are some additional research suggestions:
- Interview existing customers who you consider ideal. This can be in person or over the phone. Of course in person is always best, but do what you can 😉
- Ask your marketing team about the customers who purchase your products. Consider sending out a survey with a thank you and some kind of incentive.
- Hang out in forums or Facebook groups specific to your target market. Engage with participants to get more details around your client avatar.
3. Document Your Avatar
Gather all of the information you collected so far. To bring an avatar to life, give each one an identity (did we mention that you can have as many of these as you like? Though we do recommend just one for starters…). Name each avatar (Freelancer Fred, Practitioner Patricia, Marketing Maven Marcia!), find a stock photo that best describes that person and write a backstory that illustrates her personality.
We recommend building out each of these avatars one at a time, starting with the avatar that best represents the offerings and greater philosophy of your business.
You may also want to consider defining a negative avatar as well. Just as its important to identify the kind of people you hope to attract, it can be equally as important to consider those that you do not want to attract. For a negative avatar focus less on the personal characteristics and more on the reasons why they are not the right fit for your product or service.
Creating a rock solid Customer Avatar will help you nail down your target market and get laser focused. Paired with a solid marketing strategy, doing this work upfront may be the determining factor when it comes to the health and longevity of your business.