Buyer persona. Marketing persona. Customer avatar. Target market.
These are the phrases that are used interchangeably to describe the fictional, generalised representations of the buyer persona most likely to purchase from you.
It is critically important to the success of your marketing, sales, product development, and delivery of services that you have a deep understanding of who your customer avatar is. You've likely heard the phrase, "You can't hit a target you haven't set." This applies perfectly to the importance of having a clearly defined customer avatar, which will help you:
- Determine which social platforms they are spending time on, so you know where your business should be present and active
- Be more effective in your advertising. Your marketing dollars will be well spent when you know where to advertise and who to target for maximum exposure.
- Write copy that connects with your business avatar, which will give you a better understanding of their pain points, goals, and successes
- Deliver and develop better products and services because you can anticipate your markets’ needs, behaviours, and concerns.
How to create a customer avatar
So, having a clearly defined avatar is important; the question is, "How do I create one?" Good news: it's not difficult if you ask the right questions.
"What are the right questions?" you ask. You're in luck because we've created a complete customer avatar template to help out. This template makes it easy to compile all of your information, knowledge, experience, and research into one beautiful and presentable format.
Now, you could download the template we have created and begin filling it out right away, but the most effective customer avatars are created with information based on market research as well as information that you gather from your current customer base.
I would suggest you take the time needed to gather the most accurate information possible to develop your business avatar. Here are a few ways:
- Use surveys to capture feedback from your existing customers
- Ask Your Target Market is a great solution for surveying a larger audience base
- Adding a Custom Audience Pixel to your website is an effective way to track and learn more about people who have visited your website
- Interviews capture valuable information, and allow you to dive deeper into the answers that are given by asking "why?" This lets you uncover the behaviours that drive them.
By now you might be thinking, "What if I have more than one avatar?" Having multiple avatars is perfectly fine. In fact, most businesses will have more than one ideal customer, especially if they offer more than one product or service. The best way to define your customer avatars is to tackle them one at a time. I would suggest that you start with the market that brings the most profit to your business (good idea, right?). Through this process, you may even find yourself realising that your business is too broad and that you tighten up your product or service offering in order to really develop your niche and position yourself to deliver your best to that market.
Creating a negative avatar can be as beneficial as creating your customer avatar. A negative avatar is a generalised representation of the persona that you don't want as a customer. Having an understanding of who you don't want to serve as a customer can sometimes make it easier to know who you do want to serve. If you want to start here, which is a good idea, I'd suggest you think of that one customer who was a total nightmare to work with and document all of the things that made the relationship unsuccessful. The key here is to not focus on personal characteristics of why the individual was not easy to work with, but rather on the reasons why they weren't a good fit for your product or service—high prices, the probability of increased churn, not being properly equipped for long-term success.
Define your customer avatar
Demographic traits: List out your avatar's demographic traits (e.g., age, sex, education level, income level, marital status, occupation, religion, and average family size). This area is typically easy to define.
Psychographic traits: These are a little more complicated and require a deeper understanding of your customer avatar. They're based on values, attitudes, interests, and lifestyle. Examples include: wanting a healthy lifestyle, valuing time with family, using Pinterest to do home DIY projects.
Name your avatar: Naming your avatar humanises the profile. If you are targeting both men and women, you'll want to create a male and female name.
Put a face to their name: Find a picture online in stock photos that best represents what your avatar looks like visually.
Design a dossier: A dossier is a one-page collection of information about your avatar that includes its name, picture, information, and story.
Speaking of story: Write one about your customer avatar. Imagine you are your avatar and are journaling about the discovery of your product or service. What were they thinking before they bought your product? How were they feeling? Why were they feeling that way? What were they looking for? What were they hoping to solve or accomplish? How did they find you or hear about you? How did they feel once they purchased your product or service?
At the most basic level, developing a customer avatar will help you become more effective in your messaging and cut through the noise in today's marketing landscape. Using it in combination with a solid lifecycle marketing strategy is a sure-fire way to explode your business growth. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you begin creating your customer avatar:
- Create a negative avatar first to gain clarity about who you don't want to serve as a customer and who isn't a good fit.
- Give your customer avatar a name, face, and a personal story to bring him or her to life. Be as specific as possible—the more details you have, the more you and your perfect customer will connect.
- Tackle one customer avatar at a time.
- Create your avatar based on market research and customer feedback rather than your own opinion and perception.
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