[DOWNLOAD] Building a Customer AvatarYour Marketing Secret Weapon
It’s so easy to waste time and money on your marketing…
…but in my mind the most fundamental is when you aren’t clear on who your marketing is focused on.
It’s likely the root cause of more wasted marketing spend than any other marketing aspect.
…and it’s the reason why one of your first marketing activities should be a clear understanding of your “Who”…
We’ll look at the how shortly, but you need to first truly understand how important the “Who” is.
The Foundation of your marketing
Having a clear knowledge of your “Who” will impact pretty much every aspect of your marketing:
- Any piece of copy you write, whether it’s a blog, an email or a sales page will be impacted by your Who… if you don’t why would they bother reading at all?
- The places you advertise and communicate with be affected by your Who… if you know your “who” isn’t on Facebook, why would you advertise there?
- Any video or podcast will be impacted (and whether a video or a podcast is worthwhile at all) by knowing your Who…
Without a clear understanding of your “Who”, you are setting yourself up for failure.
So, how do you define your “Who”
Defining your Who?
Chances are you’ve come across lots of marketing jargon about your Who – Markets, Target Markets, Avatars, etc.
To cut through the noise, here’s a simple way of understanding how things break down (using a local business accountant/CPA as an example)
Your “Potential Market” is anyone who could potentially buy your product – which is defined by the product/service you offer.
…so for the accountant, their ‘potential market’ will likely be businesses within a specific geographic area
Your ‘Target Markets” are the specific groups of people that you want to buy your product/service – and this is something that you can define, as it’s your choice who you want to serve (and go out and hunt for).
…so for the accountant, their target market could be “retail businesses” or “SME’s” or even “service based businesses”, it’s their choice. Plus, there’s nothing stopping you from having more than one.
Your ‘Customer Avatar’ is a specific representation of a group of individuals within a target market – it’s you looking at your target market and identifying a specific person in there who’s representative of others.
The purpose of the Customer Avatar is that by being specific you can craft a compelling message and know where to put it.
…so for the accountant, they could have an Avatar for their retail business sector of the owner of a local butchers… or for the owner of a hairdressers… and thus have a better idea of who they are, what they want, and how the accountant can support those objectives.
You can have (and should have) several Customer Avatars, developed over time, for your target markets… and it’s in these Customer Avatars that the power exists.
They are your Secret Marketing Weapon
Your Secret Marketing Weapon
Knowing your Potential and Target markets is important, but it’s through the Customer Avatar that you can craft truly powerful marketing.
…because every message you create, every piece of content, every email you send, every video you record, should be focused on an Avatar.
Consider going 10 pin bowling…
If you don’t have a clear Customer Avatar, it’s like going 10 pin bowling… but where there aren’t any lanes! Bowling your ball towards the pin could miss them completely or only pick a few select pins.
With a Customer Avatar, you’re back in your lane (and with those cushions that stop the ball hitting the gutter), meaning that the ball will hit the pins.
The ball is your message, the pins your potential customers.
You don’t want to miss them… do you?
So how do you actually create a Customer Avatar?
A Customer Avatar Example – Sophie, the HR Solopreneur
Recently, as part of my training support for businesses, I launched a new training course focused on combining MailChimp and Marketing into a System. It’s called KickStart Your Marketing System (or KYMS for short).
When I created this product, I knew that I needed to really get under the skin of who potential buyers would be and so created a number of prototypes – and thus a number of Avatars…
- The Solopreneur: a specialist in their field who knows they should be doing something about structuring their Marketing and that they could be doing more with MailChimp, but aren’t.
- The VA: who wants to learn the nitty gritty of MailChimp and how to successfully integrate it with other elements to support their customers.
- The Small Business Owner: The owner of a business with several stuff, but who is the main “lead generator/sales person”, who has lots of challenges and wants something to work on autopilot – and potentially to pass on to a staff member in the future.
- The Small Business Marketer: Someone who works for a small business but isn’t the owner, who wants to be seen as successful at helping grow the business.
- The Agency Owner: interested in learning MailChimp in more detail and how it can be used to integrate with other marketing activities.
…and thus, 5 new Customer Avatars could be brought to life… including Sophie, the HR Solopreneur:
So what goes into a Customer Avatar?
Completing your Customer Avatar
As you can see, there are several aspects to the Avatar you need to pull together to get a complete review of their situation and mindset.
At first glance, you may be thinking, I need to do some serious research to complete the worksheet
…and if you’ve got no idea about your Customer Avatar, then chances are you might need to do something, even if it’s just having a chat with someone fits the bill.
…but for most of us, we’ve (hopefully) got a decent handle on who these people are, as chances are we’ve supplied many of them in the past.
That’s why unless you are completely in the dark, you should still try and make educated guesses about some of the information.
If you need, take inspiration from someone you know, an existing customer – but be careful, don’t copy this person totally, as you may end up too detailed and miss some broad indications.
…but make sure you take action and create the Avatar – you’re gaining nothing from overthinking it and lose out from the benefits of having one. Plus, it’s not meant to be perfect, mainly because the Avatar isn’t a real person – so it’s as perfect as you make it – because it’s yours and yours alone.
So let’s break down some the categories…
General Information & Situation
Giving them a name and a situation, makes them real and starts to paint a picture in your head of who they are… Age, Gender, Work Situation, Education, Family… they are all things that help get under the skin of your Avatar.
For many, although your product/service may be work related, there is so much more to the people who buy your product than work.
I remember, back when I was an account manager, I was assigned a buyer at a big retailer.
After a time I realised that although he wanted to hit his bonus and profit targets, he was just as motivated to make sure he didn’t stay too late at work as he had a young family he wanted to get back to.
Knowing this meant that he’d look favourably on our relationship, if I facilitated that – made his life easier and didn’t call him out of hours.
Demographics matter in building up that picture.
…and don’t be afraid to name them (makes it easier to think of them as a real person) and to jump onto Google Images and find a stock photo that represents them – all the better to make them real in your mind and understand them better.
Digging Deeper – Goals, Values and Challenges
This is where we start to really dig deeper…
For my business, Sophie, my HR Solopreneur is someone who’s very good when it comes to HR and “know their onions”, in fact it’s a point of pride for them… but not having a handle on her marketing bothers Sophie as she wants to grow her business (but not at the cost of her home life and family).
As such, knowing this impacts the type of copy I could use in my marketing.
The fact that she wants to grow her business but not at the cost of family time and that she’s an expert, but not a marketing expert, means that copy focusing on results, effectiveness but also efficiency and time saving will make her look favourably on my solution.
“Be Seen as an Expert and Generate More Leads with less time spent” should be a headline that will grab Sophie’s attention.
Questions and Consequences
If you can anticipate the questions that someone will ask, you can start answering them before they get asked.
So knowing that Sophie is not a techie person, means that I need to make sure she understands that this is not a techie based course and that anyone can do it.
…and understanding the ultimate consequences of failure really taps into their core fear.
Fear, and the desire to move away from something bad, is one of the most powerful motivators there is… and thus one of the best copywriting aspects to focus on.
Knowing Sophie is worried about not being seen as a credible service provider, is something that the course copy can focus on and address.
Sources of Information
The more information we gather about where they go to find solutions to their problems, the more tools we have to know where to advertise and communicate.
Sophie is a big LinkedIn user, so that’s definitely something worth looking into.
She doesn’t use Twitter, so we can drop that down the list.
…but she does go networking locally – so if we want to meet her, then getting out there will help.
Plus with the ability to be extremely clever with tools like FB Advertising means that if we know the types of magazines, books or “opinion leaders”, we can use that to target them on Facebook.
…and as is always the case, the more unique and specific, the better.
Objections and Role
Everything isn’t a slam dunk, and there will undoubtedly be potential objections to buying. For Sophie, time is always an issue, and so making sure this is addressed in communication is very important.
An Email with the title “Build a marketing system in only a few hours a week” will address her concerns that she won’t be able to fit in around her other time commitments.
…and of course, are they the one with direct access to the purse strings.
If they are, then great, but if there are others, then you need to make sure these are addressed in the content you develop.
Sophie is the owner, and so she makes the decisions… but if she was the marketing person in a small business, she wouldn’t be the only person we would have to persuade as the owner would have final call.
So what’s stopping you?
Getting under the skin of your Customer Avatar and their decision making process is essential if any of your marketing efforts are going to succeed.
So if you haven’t got one already, grab the worksheet and get the clarity you need.
…and don’t just stick to one… every business can have many Customer Avatars for which they can develop content for, each with their own circumstances.
An IT Company I know has developed over 60 different Avatars for their many products and this has been fundamental in their success moving forward.
I’m not suggesting you should do the same, but if there is a worthwhile, specific sector in your target market, then it probably deserves a Customer Avatar.
The Customer Avatar is truly one of the most powerful marketing tools you have available – without it, you’re marketing to “everyone”… which actually means that you’re marketing to no one!
Robin Adams is a business owner who is passionate about helping businesses build effective marketing systems that work and don't waste money. Having a lifetime of Marketing experience (he's got a degree in Marketing before there were degrees in Marketing!) and having worked for big and small businesses and both client and agency side, he understands not only the theory, but the systems that are required to underpin everything.
51% marketer and 49% Chimp, Robin is the main man behind chimpanswers.com and the Mailchimp Answers Facebook Group - the world's biggest Mailchimp User Group. Connect with him on Linkedin.