There is something much worse than having no customers and that’s having the wrong ones.
This is one of the main reasons why it’s so important to know who you want to do business with and why many people suffer when they try to attract everyone. I often see small business owners scrambling social media sites, begging friends and family for like and shares and desperately bombarding their database of the same few people trying to make money.
Marketing yourself in business is one of the hardest things to do which is why this blog post is so important. There are many entrepreneurs out there who have no idea where to start, they are frozen by the overwhelming realisation that they have no idea who they are trying to talk to or what they are trying to say.
Let’s start by looking at some simple questions:
What is a customer avatar?
According to Wikipedia, a customer is someone who has purchased good or services and an avatar in the online world is a persons character.
Therefore a Customer Avatar is a fictitious representation of someone who has done business with you. To make them ideal we look at creating this identity by considering that the transaction was successful, they were happy with the outcome and this was achieved without undue stress or frustration for yourself or the customer.
Why do I need one?
You don’t. It’s not essential but it helps. The more detail you can create for your customer avatar the better you can understand the person you are trying to help. After all, business is all about adding value and the best way to do this is to solve a problem, therefore the more you know about your customers’ problems the better equipped you are to help them.
How many avatars should I create?
There is no rule, I would always recommend that you have at least one to start with and strive to create at least three. The bigger your business the more avatars you might have but be careful because too many can be just as dangerous as having none at all. You don’t want to dilute your audience too far or you will be just as confused in your messaging.
For Online Mastery I have 5 Customer Avatars in Total and I talk about them in more detail through my Online Course.
What are the problems of not having a customer avatar?
There are several problems you might encounter if you do not identify your ideal customer avatar. The first of these could be a lack of direction with your content. If you do not know who you are talking to then how will you know what to say?
I’ve seen many people stuck trying to market themselves because they do not know where to start. It’s much easier when you can imagine a conversation with someone, after all, you will only ever communicate with one person at a time, even on a webinar with hundreds of people, they are sitting at their own individual computers. Another common problem with not having identified your ideal customer avatar is wasted money on advertising.
Another common problem with not having identified your ideal customer avatar is wasted money on advertising. A question I get asked all the time is, how much money should I invest in advertising. I always answer this with, you shouldn’t because if you are asking the question you are not ready to start. Paid advertising is something that comes last on the list after you have proof of concept, identified your target audience and confirmed that your sales funnels are converting. Only at this point should you start spending money on traffic and not knowing who your audience is can be a very costly lesson when it comes to targeting people.
Are there any other problems not having a customer avatar can create?
How about a Lack of self-worth. This is a less obvious on but again, something I see often when someone has not identified their ideal customer avatar because they are constantly asking friends and relatives for approval. Someone who knows their audience and is confident of their problems and how to solve them does not need to seek reassurance on social media, they know what they are doing and how to do it and the confidence this provides often attracts the very people they are looking for.
This all sounds great but how do I get started?
A great question and something that we can do right now very simply. The core of any customer avatar is the basic information, this helps to make them real and will form the foundation for you to visualise them. Simply gather data about who is most likely to purchase your product or services.
Let’s create a list of the basic things you are going to need
- What is there name?
- How old are they?
- Are they male or female?
- What qualifications do they have?
- Where do they work?
- How much do they earn a year?
- Where do they live?
Some people go as far as to find a profile picture that fits what this person might look like. I think this is a great idea because you are starting to create an image of them and I want you to imagine yourself sitting down for a cup of coffee and having a chat with your avatar. You can use the website uifaces to get a profile picture. That might seem a little crazy, but it really does help because you do need to be able to relate to this person as if they are a close friend of yours.
This isn’t just a crucial part of your website strategy, but of your business overall.
If you have never checked out the demographics and know for sure who your target audience is, then you should do this immediately. It’s not enough to just have a general idea of who buys the products and honestly, the data you get back might surprise you.
For example, you might work with depressed men and without a customer avatar your might be marketing to all men who are depressed which could be for so many different reasons. When you start to create your customer avatar you realise that john leaves the house at 6am and does not get home until 8pm. You uncover that he has a daughter called hope who is 4 years old and all he wants is to spend time with his family but due to the financial pressure he has to work long hours.
Can you see how some simple questions can really help you to understand the people you want to help better?
Mashable.com has a really great article on how to nail down your demographics.
After you build your basic customer avatar, you’re going to want to dig a bit deeper and we will cover all of this and more in detail on the webinar. To get you started now you should start researching some of the following areas:
- Interests and hobbies
- Activities they are part of
- Core values
- Lifestyle choices
- Behaviour patterns
- Personality traits
One great way to find out these things is to look at the reviews and comments on competitor websites and social media. You might also look into places where people are likely to hang out. For example, if you are in the business of selling pet products, you might want to check out fan pages that pet owners often circulate. You’ll want to get a feel for common opinions of your market audience and start writing down things that they commonly say.
This will help you immensely when you start marketing to your audience or writing out blog posts as you build your website because you can use the same types of phrasing. A great article on how to use customer phrasing for sales copy can be found on Kissmetrics blog.
Another reason why this should all be part of your web site strategy is because as you examine your competitor’s sites, you will start to notice needs which your target audience has that your competitors aren’t filling. This leaves the door open for your fulfill those needs.
For example, someone might give a product a bad review saying that the product they bought broke within just a few weeks of having it. This might prompt you to make a similar product, but one that’s far more reliable.
You can also use the comments from Facebook and other social media platforms to narrow down what your customers’ needs are and the pains of your audience. This can help you come up with the right resources to offer and the right speech to use as you plan your website.
In conclusion, the better you know your audience, the more you are going to be able to connect with them. You’ll be able to narrow down what they really want, and you need to try to do so on a deeper level as possible.
For example, most people know that arthritis is hard to live with, but is the reason they buy a pain reliever really just to relieve their physical pain. Maybe what really motivates them is that they want to be able to get outside with their grandkids and play, ride their bike like they used to, or even just go out and work in their garden. The only way of truly knowing what the needs of your audience are and what is motivating them to buy is to spend time researching and getting to know them.
This is so important and should be one of the first things you do in business, once you have it then you know who to survey and approach for proof of concept to ensure that your business has the potential to be successful.
Click here to check out my course where I talk you through in detail how to create your ideal customer avatar.
Please remember to comment below and tell me your opinion or share your experiences. I love to engage with people who have been through this process or are thinking about starting. It’s a very exciting time of discovery.