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A customer avatar is your ideal client, the perfect person for your agency to help. It’s more narrow than your target audience. Your target audience is the entire group that you are trying to appeal too, but your customer avatar is the individual. This is important to remember because even when you’re marketing to a large audience you’re ultimately speaking to a single person.
Even when you’re marketing to a large audience you’re ultimately speaking to a single person.
Speaking to individuals is a much simpler task than trying to speak to the masses. This is where the benefits lie in developing a customer avatar. When you understand the individual you want to communicate with you can create messaging that appeals to and reaches them. Ultimately, knowing your customer avatar will guide your marketing decisions because you’ll be able to answer questions like:
- Where does my customer avatar spend the most time online?
- What are my customer avatars pain points?
- Where is the best place to reach my customer avatar?
- How should I speak to my customer avatar?
So how do you actually determine your customer avatar? Start by setting aside the time to sit down and think about this. You will need to do research, analyze your past, and get input from others. Remember, your customer avatar isn’t just who you want them to be, it’s who they really truly are. To figure that out I like to split it up into 5 steps
Best Clients and Worst Clients
If you’re a new agency you may not have much to reflect on, but that’s okay just work with what you’ve got. This shouldn’t be too hard, your best and worst clients will probably stand out in your mind.
Your best clients have probably been with you for awhile, they’re notorious for paying on time, showing up to meetings prepared, and they’re profitable to work with. Who really stands out?
Your worst clients are just the opposite. You have to chase them down for final payments, there may be legal issues, or they're just a plain pain in your rear end. Ideally, no client would ever be like this, but you’re bound to run into one eventually.
Now take that information and hash it out. What makes them the best and the worst? Is it the size of their organization? The position of your primary point of contact? The budget? Write down everything you can think of.
If you’ve been in business for awhile this may be a fairly easy part, but I encourage you to do research as well. Remember, a customer avatar isn’t necessarily who you want them to be, it’s who they really are. The people you’re reaching and capable of helping, the people who need you.
Turn to Google Analytics, Facebook, LinkedIn, Hubspot, Twitter, or whatever platforms you’re on. Pretty much every platform provides basic analytics and demographic information. Look at the split between males and females, how old they are, what country they’re from, what language they speak, etc.
Below, is information provided by Twitter to any user. You don’t have to be business account or pay for reporting, this is just provided in the platform. Now, like I said, if you’ve been in business for awhile you might already know this, but you may also find some things that surprise you. If you’ve been positioning your brand well you’ll also likely see some overlap between your demographics and best customers.
When gathering information remember that you’re creating an individual. So they can’t be 18-24 years old, they need to be 22. They can’t be 70% male, they’re either male OR female. Look at the analytics from several sites and pick the majority demographics across all platforms.
Now it’s time to take the previous two sections and apply it. To start you need to put yourself in the shoes of the person you’ve been describing. What are they stressed about? What makes them feel overwhelmed? What do they need help with? Don’t make this category one big promotional section for your agency, you are describing an individual who has a life with problems.
Some of those problems you can help solve, some you can’t, but knowing the big picture will help you discover their pain points. So write about their personal problems, work problems, marital problems, write it all. Chances are, you identify a bit with your target audience, so pull from that too! This is a great time to recruit outside help. Ask a trusted friend, employee, or even one of those “best clients” for their input.
Also write down all of the obstacles they’ll face when trying to find you. Will it be finding the time to even look for a solution? Getting a budget approved? Getting buy in from someone else? Make sure you write about those because they’re objectives that you’ll need to overcome.
Lastly, the solution. Start at the top and work your way down. At this point you should really be in the mind of your customer avatar. You’re feeling their pains, their stresses, their worries, and you know they need relief. So what do they do? Do they Google? Post in a Facebook Group? Call a friend? Buy a book on the topic? Put yourself in their shoes and work your way through the problem.
If you think you know where they’d look, go check! Look in Facebook groups and see if people are asking questions. Look at your keywords and see which ones your showing up for. Get on Amazon and see if there’s a book about it! The proof will be in the pudding.
Then, to put this to good use. Write out how you can position your agency at that point in time to be the best solution possible. Are you the first link on Google? Do you manage the group they’re posting in? And most importantly, how can you really help them? What does that ideal solution look like?
Put It All Together
Take a deep breath, the hardest part is over. Now you’re going to grab all of that information and create an individual out out of it. Give it a name, a face (yes an actual photo), a summary of their life, problems, and needs. You can share this with your team so they know who they’re trying to reach. If you’re a one man shop, you can refer back to this whenever you’re unsure of marketing decisions.
This is a lot of information, so make sure you’re utilizing it to its full potential. This is fresh on your mind now, but when you’re in the midst of a busy day and you need to make a marketing call, you’ll refer back to this. A bad customer avatar would look like this:
Our customer avatar is a male between 35-55. He opened his first restaurant and needs more business. He could use our services because social media would help get the word out.
You’re not talking to anybody with a customer avatar like that! And we all know, if you try to reach everybody you will reach nobody. Use all of the information you’ve gathered to tell your customer avatars story. They’re a real (okay almost real) person with a life, portray that. A good example would look more like this:
Restaurant Ricky is 56 years old and lives in Milwaukee. His kids have grown up and moved out. After spending years sitting behind a desk and working at a job he hated he decided to leave it all and pursue his lifelong dream of owning his own restaurant. He spent weeks crafting the perfect menu, selecting the best location, and his wife did a great job decorating the place.
What he didn’t consider though, was how he would get the word out. He had an okay opening weekend when lot’s of friends and family attended but now he needs more business if he wants to keep the doors open. He spends his time on Facebook posting statuses and looking at how other businesses do it, but he’s at a loss. His budget is tight since he’s in survival mode, but he’s willing to pay they money if it means getting more people in the door.
He joins a local business Facebook group and asks how other people have advertised their businesses. When [Your Agency] responds to him and says you can help and a local businesses owner endorses you, he can’t wait to get started! He’s ready to jump into a discovery call and see everything you have to offer.
Now that’s a good customer avatar. And honestly, you could hash it even more detail if you need.
Best of luck crafting your agency’s customer avatar. If you want to take this exercise to the next level sign up for our Brand Positioning online course where we provide you with a customer avatar worksheet that works you through the brainstorming, research, and creation from start to finish.