How to Create Your Customer Avatar (Free Template)
Let’s say you’re in Los Angeles looking for a really good restaurant to eat Churrascos and you keep asking all of your friends where you should go.
But every single person you ask starts to go on a really long tangent about those “fantastic” tacos they ate at this Mexican restaurant they just went the other day, and nobody is really sure about churrascarias. That’s too bad, because even if tacos are great, they are Mexicans, and Churrascos are Argentinean.
Spoiler alert: Mexican food has nothing to do with Argentinean food.
That’s exactly the way people feel when they’re constantly getting shown your marketing materials, but your business, your product, or your service just isn’t for them.
We can draw 2 critical lessons from this story:
- 1.you can’t market to everybody
- 2. before you send any message, make sure your message resonates with the needs of your target
You’ve likely heard the phrase, “You can’t hit a target you haven’t set.” That applies perfectly to the importance of having a clearly defined target.
Which brings the subject of this article: how do you know your target will be interested in your message?
The Buyer Persona Concept
Buyer Persona. Marketing Persona. Customer Avatar. Target Market.
These words that you can find in marketing represent the same concept and are used interchangeably to characterize the fictional, generalized representations of the person most likely to be interested in purchasing your services or products.
What is a customer avatar?
A Customer Avatar is a fictitious representation of someone who will do or has done business with you.
Why do I need an Avatar?
Having an avatar not essential but it helps. The more detailed you can have for your avatar the better you will understand the needs of the person you are supporting. Remember that business is all about adding value. Therefore, the best way to do this is to solve your customer’s problem, but if you don’t know what those problems are, you cant solve them.
A lot of people are stuck trying to market their products because they don’t know how to start. Picture having a conversation with someone, after all, you will only ever communicate with one person at a time.
Is it problematic not to have an avatar?
You might find several problems if you do not recognize your ideal customer avatar. The first of these could be a lack of direction with your content marketing strategy. If you do not know who you are talking to then how will you know what to say?
A 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.
How many avatars should I create?
There are no rules. It is recommended having at least one to start with and make it work. Then, build on more avatars after that. Having multiple avatars is perfectly fine. Actually, if you are selling different services or products, you should probably have one avatar for each product or service, provided they are very different. The bigger your business, the more avatars you might want to have. However, be careful because having too many avatars can be just as dangerous as not having any. If you dilute your audience too deep, you might be just as confused in your messaging.
The best way to define your avatars is to tackle them one at a time. You need to start with the market that brings the most profit to your business. Thanks to this process, you may even find yourself finding out that your business is too broad and that you need to tighten up your product or service offering in order to really develop your niche and position yourself to deliver your best solutions to that market.
How do you get started?
Before doing anything, you need to make a list of your prospects’ demographic and psychographic traits. Write down as much information as you can think of from all of your research.
On top of trying to describe to yourself what your ideal customers are, you need to gather real accurate information to develop your business avatar by:
- using surveys to secure feedback from your current customers
- asking your current customers what they think of your products and how to improve them
- adding a Facebook Pixel to your website is an efficient way to track and gather more information about your visitor’s website
Design a dossier.
A dossier is a one-page collection of information about your avatar that includes its name, picture, information, and story. Feel free to download the sample that I’ve created at the bottom of this post, or create your own on Word or Excel. Your Dossier doesn’t have to be fancy, but it helps to have a 1-page printout that you can reference when brainstorming with your avatar.
Of course, you could download the Dossier I have created and start filling it out right away. However, the most effective customer avatars are the ones that you create yourself thanks to the information you gathered with your market research as well as information that you gather from your current customer base.
Personalize your Avatar
Give this person a name, and find a picture online in stock photos that best represents what your avatar looks like visually. You can download an actual human avatar from uifaces.com or build one yourself using any number of online avatar builders, such as Mad Men Yourself and Face Your Manga.
Determine what social platforms your prospects are spending time on so you know where your business should be present and active.
This will help you be more effective in your advertising: you don’t want to advertise on Twitter if most of your prospects are on Facebook. Your marketing dollars will be better spent when you know where to advertise and who to target for maximum exposure.
Write a story as your ideal customer avatar.
Imagine you are your avatar and are journaling about the discovery of your product or service. What would you be thinking about before buying the products? How did you feel? Why were you feeling that way? What were you looking for? What were you hoping to solve or accomplish? How did you find the website or hear about it? How did you feel once you purchased the product or service?
A negative avatar is just a generalized representation of the persona that you don’t want as a customer. Doing this can be as beneficial as creating your customer avatar. Understanding 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 there, think of that one customer who was a total nightmare to work with. Document all of the steps that made the relationship unsuccessful.
The idea here is to not focus on personal characteristics or why that person 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.
If you think that all customers are welcome, think about a huge order for a startup or a small company. Maybe you don’t have the workforce to process the order, maybe you don’t have space to stock the finished products, or you don’t the machines or the budget to purchase the inputs…
Sudden growth is one reason why a lot of company go belly up, don’t be one of them.
Define your customer avatar
- education level
- income level
- marital status
- average family size
- political affiliation
- cultural background
- pain points
Examples include: wanting a healthy lifestyle, wanting to be fit, valuing time with family, using Pinterest, loving to do home DIY projects.
Developing a customer avatar will help you become more efficient in your copy and cut through the noise in today’s marketing landscape. Using it in combination with a solid lifecycle marketing strategy is a certain way to increase your business growth. Here are a several ideas to keep in mind when you first create your customer avatar:
- Start by creating a negative avatar to reach clarity about who you don’t want to have as a customer and who isn’t a good fit.
- Give your customer avatars a name, face, and a personal story to bring them to life.
- Be as specific as possible: the more details you have, the more you will connect with your perfect customer.
- Create and refine one customer avatar at a time.
- Create your avatar based both on market research and customer feedback rather than your own opinion & perception.
- Write copy that resonate with your business avatar
Thanks to your avatar will help you deliver and develop better products and services because you will be able to anticipate your markets’ needs, behaviors, and concerns.