Why you need to spend time creating an ideal customer avatar
So many entrepreneurs spin their wheels in business because they jump into the execution of their products and services without taking the time to define who they want to reach.
Sure, you may have a general idea of who your customer is, but until you define your customer avatar, you could be spending more time and money than necessary.
If you have never gone through this process, it’s a very good time to start! If you have asked yourself any of these questions, it’s time to refresh your customer avatar as well —
- Why are my ads not converting?
- Why are people not commenting on my blog?
- Why am I not closing sales like I used to?
- Why does it cost me more money to reach the same audience I did last year?
- Why aren’t people aware of me/what I do/how I can help?
- How can I help more people?
So, just put — creating customer avatars and marketing to those avatars will ultimately save you time, money and frustration.
Creating a customer avatar will help you reach them faster
When you launch a product or service, you want to generate revenue as soon as possible, right? Why would you put effort into creating something just to have it slowly drip out to your market? By creating a solid customer avatar, or a group of avatars based upon your particular product or service, you can reach your market more quickly.
A great example of a big brand that finally connected with their customer avatar is Ford with their new Lincoln.
Ford was struggling as a brand. When people were polled about the Lincoln brand image, it was often described as “my grandparent’s car” or “old” “outdated”. Most people do not want to buy their grandparent’s car.
To completely revamp their reputation, Ford invested millions into research that no doubt, ended up with them creating an ideal customer or customer avatar that represented who they wanted to build Lincoln cars for. They didn’t try to squeeze their outdated car into a new suit; they completely redesigned the line to represent the market they wanted to reach…based upon extensive research.
Cue Matthew McConaughey…and within the first month, Lincoln increased sales by 25%. In a month…think about that. Why?
People could identify with Matthew McConaughey. They saw themselves in that car. They wanted to be like Matthew, what he represented was what they wanted to be — classy, attractive, a little rugged but also sexy. People wanted the look and feel of prestige without paying luxury car prices.
Think about a purchase you have made because you felt like the product or service was made for you…how did that make you feel?
By dialing in on the ideal customer avatar, Lincoln sold a lot of cars, quickly.
When you get clear on your customer avatar, you will be armed with the right information to reach the people you can help the most.
Creating customer avatars will save you money
Customer avatars help you target the right prospects. When your marketing is based on assumption and guesswork, you will spend more money trying to reach the wrong people.
I see it happen all of the time. Entrepreneurs who are in a hurry to look successful, often sacrifice results and money by bypassing smart planning. Have you ever seen anyone push out a ton of half-baked content just to say they did it? Have you ever seen people who have enormous social media growth because they targeted the like farms and not their ideal clients?”There’s Click To Tweet
Creating customer avatars will help you get to your ideal customer more rapidly, thus saving you money over time.
One caveat — sometimes your ideal customer leads will cost you more. The more specific you are, the more expensive the lead, in many industries. Don’t be afraid of that. A lead that will never convert that costs you $2 is more expensive than a lead from your ideal customer that costs you $5.
Bottom line: You want to be able to convert your leads to customers, and a customer avatar can help you do that.
Everything is impacted by your avatar
Your avatar will inform everything you do in your business. EVERYTHING…from–
- what content you create
- what products and services you provide
- where you spend time on social media
- where and how you advertise
- where you network
- what your graphics look like
- what personal brand you develop
- …EVERYTHING is based upon your ideal customer avatar.
What IS a customer avatar?
A customer avatar is a fictitious person that you create based upon a set of descriptors that define your ideal client/customer. I’ll list out some of the most popular descriptors below. Today, these descriptors go deeper than gender, age, and marital status.
Some businesses have more than one avatar, depending on their products and services. Just a little bit of caution before you start creating multiple avatars…you don’t need a lot of them, and the ones you create should be very specific and encompass ideal…not fringe customers.
A customer avatar is not a blanket statement, like, I serve entrepreneurs, or my ideal avatar is a female entrepreneur.
Here’s my customer avatar:
- My ideal customer is a female entrepreneur, 35-65, who has been in business for at least one year.
- She is a do-it-yourselfer for social media, blogging, selling, but prefers to have guidance through online courses, private groups, webinars and mentoring programs. She will reach out for strategy and coaching when she has established a relationship with the provider and feels that this connection will help her get to the next level.
- She has up to 2 employees or contractors and for specialty projects, uses virtual support like Fivvr or Upwork. She generates $100k to $500k in revenue.
- She is located in the US, Canada or Great Britain. Her clients are both online and off. She is a coach, author, service provider, thought leader, expert in her field. She is driven, a high-achiever and comes to entrepreneurship after working for someone else.
- She’s married and her children are old enough to be self-managed, or she has help.
- She became an entrepreneur to add more value to her life, have more time for what she loves and to have more income. When working for other people, she always felt that there was more for her life. Because she is a high-achiever, she often feels overwhelmed with everything she has on her plate.
- With the online marketing landscape moving so fast, she feels overwhelmed at all of the training choices and expert opinions.
- She wants to streamline the process of learning so that she can focus on building her business and not on learning new platforms all of the time.
- At the end of the day, her greatest business fears are that people won’t want what she has to offer or that she’s not ready to step into a bigger game. She doubts herself at times, not because she isn’t good enough, but because success is intermittent. She projects outward confidence, but inside she battles her self-esteem.
- She’s tech savvy to a certain point. She is most likely an Apple user because she wants simplicity in her technology.
- Her greatest life fear is that she is going to let her friends and family down. She is often paving a new path, so her family and friends who are not entrepreneurs may not understand why she is doing what she is doing. She’s probably heard, more than once, ‘why don’t you just get a job.’
- She uses social media because it is how she gets her business message out but would prefer more real life connections. This is why she connects in so many mediums — video, webinars, posts — so she can reach people.
- She’s active on Facebook 3-4 times a day, LinkedIn once every other day, Twitter 3-4 times a day and Pinterest 3-4 times a week.
- She has a lot of apps that help her personally and professionally. She enjoys food and wine based apps as well as fitness trackers. However, they often make her feel guilty because she’s eating on the run and doesn’t always hit the mark with her diet.
- She has her favorite social media apps — Facebook, Messenger, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest. She’s connected to her email and planning apps and listens to podcasts.
- Her favorite podcasts are Social Media Examiner, Amy Porterfield, Tony Robbins, other female entrepreneurs; she’s participated in at least one of Deepak and Oprah’s Meditation Challenges.
- She pays for convenience. She shops online for herself and family and is an avid buyer of online tools and resources. Sometimes she signs up for services or tools without even using them. She has often looked at her credit card statement and asked, what was that for again?
- She avoids complicated processes. She doesn’t have time to become an expert at tasks not immediately related to the product or service she provides.
- Personally, she has a lot of interests, but rarely has time to pursue them which leaves her feeling out of balance. It seems her business takes all of her free time and even though she loves what she does, she would like more balance.
- Her biggest goal is to get her business to a point where she has the systems to run her business without feeling like she’s always adding something else or trying something else. The follow up to that goal is that she wants to give herself a raise and be fiscally responsible to her business.
- She’s tired of reinventing herself. Because she hasn’t landed on the systems that have worked, instead of reworking the current plan, she’s often adding new layers thinking that will be the answer. She fools herself into thinking that if she just signs up for this new course/coach/system/product, it will be the answer. None of them really have been, so she’s frustrated.
- She’s looking for me because I’m not just another phone call or to do list. I and my team execute what we plan and that saves her time, money and frustration. Her biggest delay in her business is overwhelming and frustration that paralyzes her and keeps her from moving forward.
- Her name is Elizabeth.
She is seeking what I provide because (this is my favorite part):
- I understand where she is, I’ve been there, and it matters that I have had a similar experience with being frustrated and overwhelmed.
- I can take the overwhelm out of business systems, online marketing and social media and customer acquisition with my step-by-step approach to execution and coaching.
- I will show her how to do it, and I can get it done for her, too, so she feels like she is always in control of the process.
- I will keep her accountable to her goals but also hold her up and help her create more balance.
- I have 27 years of experience, and she’s been around the block often enough to know that quick, a flash in the pan personalities don’t really end up helping her. She trusts experience over new.
- I will make her life easier by staying up to date, so she doesn’t have to. I’ll do all of the hard work of learning the new things and make sure she has access to the simple breakdowns and systems that she can quickly implement if she likes.
Creating this customer avatar took me 2 weeks. I spent one week researching everything I possibly could — my current customers, competitors, products, services, resources, websites, etc. One week summarizing what I found to determine if I could solve any of the needs discovered and then finally, putting it into play with messaging.
The reason so few people have created customer avatars is that it takes time…and can be tedious…but it is so important to do, and it will influence everything you do with your marketing. It will inform your sales language, too!
When I sit down to write a post, create a webinar, blog, or do anything to attract new business, I write for Elizabeth. I ask myself, would this help Elizabeth? If it wouldn’t, I figure out why and rework it. Elizabeth is my priority, and my business exists to make it easier for her to grow her business.
The last part is a must…and something I don’t think I’ve ever seen on anyone else’s process. After you define your customer avatar, connect the dots with why they are seeking your products or services.
What do you need to know about your ideal customer avatar?
Not all of the elements listed below will pertain to your business. The more elements you can answer, the clearer your customer avatar will be, and it will be easier for you to reach them.
Most important thing to remember is that this is to help your business, not just waste your time. If you do it properly, this process will take a few hours or longer and several revisions. It is the kind of project that you will put down and pick back up.
You will also revise your customer avatar at least once a year. Trends change, your business products, and services expand, and all of those are great indicators that it is time to refine your customer avatar.
Personal Demographics for B2C or for Key Decision Makers in B2B
- marital status
- number of children
- biggest fears in life or business
- what do they want for their life or business
- what do they enjoy
- what do they value
- what brings them joy
- what makes them feel successful
- what will they avoid and why
- what are they interested in personally and professionally
- how do they spend their time personally and professionally
- what is their personality type
- what is their social class
- what are they trying to achieve most
- buying habits online — what do they buy online, where do they shop. why do they buy online
Social Media Habits
- what are their top 3 social media platforms personally or for business
- who do they follow — brands, personalities, blogs, businesses
- how active are they — multiple times a day, once a day, weekly
- what websites do they frequent
- what apps do they have on their phone
- iOS or Android
- do they listen to podcasts — which ones
- hires all tasks to be done by someone else — VA, staff, service
- highly skilled do-it-yourselfer
- do-it-yourselfer but needs support — how to’s, videos, courses
What is their story? What do they keep asking for? How would you describe them if asked:
Who is your ideal customer and what do we need to know about them?
Business Demographics for B2B
In addition to the relevant elements above —
- how many years have they been in service?
- annual revenue
- number of employees
- number of locations
- products offered
- who are their customers
- what marketing tactics do they use
- how do their customers buy from them
Your customer avatar is the standard that you hold all of your messaging, products, and services against. When you dial in your ideal customer avatar, you no longer have to wonder if something will work. When you hold everything you do up to your avatar’s needs, desires and expected transformations, then you are able to strip away the fluff and provide exactly what your market wants.
I’m passionate about helping you succeed. I’d love to hear about your customer avatars. What did you discover when you created yours? If you enjoyed this post, please comment below. Also, feel free to email me if you have any questions.
Lisa Bollow | Business Strategist
I help clarify the journey of being an entrepreneur for over-achieving, passionate, creative business owners. I want to remove the overwhelm of building a business with simple, step-by-step programs, systems and support.