New entrepreneurs often forget to think about or completely ignore customer avatars when promoting content, a product, and/or service.
The problem with that is that you’re assuming you know your customers, but in most cases, you really don’t.
Not knowing who your dream customer/client is a costly mistake that many new small business owners make. Don’t make the same mistake!
When thinking about your ideal targeted customer, it’s not a good idea to put them all in the same general category.
Why you ask?
Let’s say you own a store that sells scented candles. You probably noticed that most of your customers are women, but what beyond that? What questions would you ask yourself about your buyers while creating a marketing strategy for your business?
For this scenario, some of the questions you want answered are:
Who is your avatar buying the candles for?
What age is your avatar?
Why is your customer avatar buying scented candles?
One of the main reasons you don’t want to put your ideal customer in a general category is that you can’t offer content, products, and/or services specific to what the avatar needs and/or wants.
If being successful is your goal (which I assume it is), one of the most important things for a new entrepreneur to do is to understand who their ideal customer avatar is and offer content, products, and/or services based on the actual needs and wants of the buyer’s persona.
So, let’s jump in to see what customer avatars are, why they’re essential for your business, and how you can start implementing them immediately.
What is a Customer Avatar?
Simply put, a customer avatar (aka a customer profile, an avatar, buyer persona, or customer persona) represents your ideal targeted customer/client. These personas help you understand your audience better so that you can be most efficient at making accurate marketing decisions. Doing this will address their pain points and identify exactly what content, products, and/or services to offer.
Developing customer avatars will help you create the best marketing strategy as a small business owner. It will also make it much easier once you eventually start running paid ads.
Side Note: Knowing who your customers are is the key to building a sustainable business. The best way is to find out what their needs and problems are, then developing solutions for them that meet those requirements with your skillset in mind.
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Target Audience or Customer Avatar?
Both these may sound the same, but there’s one key difference between customer avatars and a target audience. That difference is personification.
Customer avatars are fictitious characters that help you visualize who you’re talking to and what you’re offering. So, a customer avatar is a much more detailed look at who you’re trying to reach. Targeted audiences are more of a general oversight.
How to Create a Customer Avatar
Now that you know how important they can be, your next question would be how. Making customer avatars isn’t hard, but you have to do the work (even though you might wanna skip it). You’ll need several questions about your customer avatar’s interests, habits, etc.
1 – Collect Data
The first thing you’ll need to do when creating customer avatars is to collect your ideal customer’s data. As a new entrepreneur, you might be asking yourself – how do I collect data for my customer avatar when I don’t have any customers or an audience yet?
No worries. . . I got you!
You will want to go where your ideal targeted audience is and seek the answers to the questions you need answered.
So, if your targeted audience hangs out on Facebook then join a handful of active FB groups relative to your niche.
If not Facebook, then you need to go where your audience is.
Here are just a few ways to collect information on your ideal customer avatar:
- Survey and poll your ideal audience – Create a quick survey and post the link on different platforms (ie. your social accounts).
- Review the analytics – Reviewing your data is one of the most important things you need to do as a small business owner.
- Do interviews – Interview at least 3 individuals that fit within your ideal audience (via phone, in-person, email, or chat) – this is an effective way to obtain the data you need.
- Create a FB group (based on your niche) – It takes time to build an engaging FB group however once it is established it will be a great place to grow your business.
- Use your email list, forums, social media platforms, FB groups, etc – Depending on your preference and niche will determine which platform you choose to find your ideal audience/customer/clients & collect information for your survey.
- Research your competitors – Other successful businesses in your niche can serve to be invaluable. Check out the people interacting with the competition through their social channels or via their website.
Depending on your business, you can add all kinds of data to your customer avatar. Here’s a list of demographics that are commonly collected when creating a customer avatar:
- Marital Status
2 – Who Are Your Customers
Apart from collecting the data, ask yourself who you want your ideal customer to be. You can sell a high-end product and/or service or price your product on the lower end. It really boils down to what your customer avatar needs and the product/service you are offering. You will need to do the research beforehand (and most likely test, test, & test it again), to give you more insight.
- What are they’re buying habits, goals & values?
- What are they trying to accomplish?
- What are they struggling with the most?
- What keeps them up at night?
- What are their excuses?
- What are their dreams and hopes?
3 – Objectives & Roles
You’ll need to determine who makes the decisions and what objectives they have.
4 – Where Do They Get Information From?
You want to know what’s the information source for your avatar. So, if they are looking to obtain information, where do they go to get it?
- What social media platforms, magazines, books, websites, influencers, etc?
5 – What Are Their Pain Points & Challenges?
So, this is where you ask yourself what could prevent your ideal customer from buying your product or paying for your service.
- What problems do they need to be resolved right now?
- What challenges do they need to overcome?
Once you answer all these questions and compile them into a list, you now have your customer avatar ready to go!
6 – Name Your Customer Avatar
When creating a customer avatar, give it a name. This is helpful because it makes it easier for you to visualize. You should consider even adding pictures because it will help.
The Challenges it Can Solve . . . And Ones It Can’t
I just listed all the things a buyer persona can help you do, but let’s get into a little more detail. I’m all for creating a customer avatar, and it’s definitely a must-have for your business, but not when you don’t have a use for them in mind.
To help you determine what kind of data you need to collect when you create an avatar, you need to have a set purpose in mind. In other words, what are you doing in your business that requires this detailed insight?
In an interview with CopyPress, CEO of SparkToro Rand Fishkin shared his thoughts about customer avatars: “If you need to perform a task (like knowing which websites to run ads on, which events to pitch, which social accounts to ask for amplification, etc) and persona data can answer those questions, it’s super valuable. If you’re creating personas purely to checkboxes for indecipherable purposes, I think that’s a waste of time. In every persona exercise, I’d always ask the question: “What business problem are we solving?” and then “Is a persona the best way to answer that?” and finally, “Which data needs to be part of the persona in order to accomplish the task?”
There are also marketers who think that you should have customer avatars of some sort in mind from the get-go, and plan all your content marketing efforts around those personas. Even then, you can only have a certain number of customer personas before none of your customers know who you’re talking to anymore!
Final Thoughts on What a Customer Avatar is
Creating customer avatars is a must if you are a new entrepreneur looking to market content, products, and/or services! In the beginning, stick to 1-3 buyer personas so you don’t go too broad.
Anyone who knows what good marketing is knowing how developing marketing strategies that are a “one size fits all” is an ineffective approach.
A good way to think about a customer avatar is as a guide for marketing needs. As your business grows, you will update your avatars and adjust your parameters accordingly.
I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment below and let me know what you think of this post.