In a previous post I addressed the importance of identifying your target market. This one is all about creating your customer avatar (ideal client profile).

Creating a customer avatar and putting a name on it will help you more clearly identify who you are targeting and how to communicate with them. It will also allow you to speak to one person when you are communicating with them. This is something you have to keep in mind whether writing an email, a direct mail piece, video, social media post, etc. You are not speaking to a group. You are speaking to one person.

There is usually some confusion as to what the difference is between identifying your target market versus a customer avatar.

Here is my simple explanation. Your avatar is within your target market. Your avatar is a fictitious character that gives you a very specific picture (both mental and physical) of your ideal customer in your target market. So once you have your target market defined, then you will create your customer avatar.

It is so empowering to a business owner when you have your customer avatar planted firmly in your mind. It not only puts more money in the bank, it helps you get laser focused on how you find your ideal customer and how you market to them when you find where they hang out.

It takes time initially to put together a customer avatar, but it will save you so much time on the backend because your marketing, advertising, and ability to locate them will improve exponentially.

Find a picture of your avatar and pin it on the wall

First find a picture of your avatar and name it. Look for a picture in a magazine that is close to how your avatar may appear. Then literally name your avatar. If you are targeting both males and females for your business, then you will want to create two separate avatars.

For example, if you ideal avatar is a middle aged professional woman who dresses well, is physically fit, and hangs out in specific places, then you want to find a picture from a magazine that reflects that. You could name her Jane.

If your target market is a middle-aged man who works an office job and is looking for a way to get physically fit and lose weight, then you want a picture that reflects an overworked, overweight corporate guy. You could name him Bill.

Put this picture in a place where you can see it when working at your desk. Here is what this silly sounding thing will do for you and your business. When you look at this picture, you will subconsciously think about this avatar (ideal client). You will think about what their day may look like, their daily challenges, and how you can help them.

Here is what you will find if you do everything I mentioned above. You will develop the ability to write better copy that reflects their pain points, challenges, goals, desires, and what success looks like for them. You will develop a deeper understanding of who they really are.

So, as you can see, there is power in having a physical picture of your avatar (ideal client) close by so you see it every day. The physical picture creates a sharper image in your mind of your avatar.

Create a story around your avatar

This is where empathy comes into the picture. It’s a trait that almost every successful business owner possesses. Empathy is simply the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes.

So put yourself in your avatar’s shoes for a day. Pretend you are your avatar and writing in a journal at the end of the day. What is their typical day? What challenges are they facing on a daily basis? What is their typical day? What is their emotional state? How will their story be different once they purchase your product or service? Write down how they feel after they purchase your product or service.

Demographics and psychographics are another component to building your avatar. In a nutshell, demographics tell you who your avatar is and psychographics tell you why they buy.

Demographics

This is where you will identify things like where they live; how much money they make; married or single; where they hang out; sex; number of kids; religion; and political persuasion.

Where do you find this information? If you Google “find demographic information”, you will find several paid and free resources you can use. American Fact Finder is one resource on the U.S. Census Bureau website where you can find general demographic information. Infousa.com is a paid resource you may consider.

Psychographics

This information can be a little more difficult to get since it’s more about behavioral characteristics, such as why they buy. It’s about their morals, buying behaviors, hobbies, interests, spending habits, personality traits, beliefs, and lifestyle.

Social media is a great place to get psychographic information. You may be surprised how much psychographic information you can assemble just by studying their social media profiles. And don’t just look at Facebook. Look at all their social media profiles – Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter. It takes a little more work this way, but it could pay off in the long run. More than likely their friends will have close to the same psychographic profile, so you will be able to put together a lot of data for your avatar.

Do you have multiple avatars?

One of the things I see business owners struggle with creating their avatar is narrowing down their focus on one specific avatar. Don’t worry if this is the case for you. Go ahead and create multiple avatars if that will help you move the process along. This is what will happen when you create multiple avatars. You will have, for example, four avatars that you think are a great fit. Over time, you will start to see one specific one that falls out of the mix that is a more perfect fit for your product or service. Trust the process and don’t stress over it.

Who is not your avatar?

One of the things I do when I find a business owner can’t figure what they want their business to be when it grows up is to ask them what they don’t want. I’m not sure the psychology behind this, but it seems to be much easier for most people to identify what they don’t want thatn what they do want.

When it comes to your avatar, the same thing applies. It’s just as important to know what you want as it is to know what you don’t want when creating your avatar. Actually knowing what you don’t want is more useful in some cases. By identifying what you don’t want first, you will be able to narrow down your choices more easily to identify your avatar.

This should get you well on your way to creating the avatar for your business. I know sometimes it seems like we are spending a lot of useless time in our businesses going through these type exercises, but I can assure you it is time well spent. You can actually think of it as time invested in your business to get a future payoff.

All the best,

Mike Coleman