One of the joys (and major challenges) of running a blog dedicated to dreaming up, researching and ultimately validating business ideas – for myself and others – is that sometimes you actually come across one that is a huge hit!
That’s a great problem to have, don’t get me wrong!
But it seriously interferes with my writing schedule. What you don’t see here on the blog is that we’re actually very active posting relevant articles on our social media platforms too. So if you’re looking for entrepreneurship, market or customer validation articles, be sure to follow our pages on Facebook and Twitter. Consider those sources for your bite-sized content between blog posts.
In the meantime, please accept my apologies for this long over-due post. And as for the venture that’s keeping me and my team busy, you’ll be hearing more about that in the coming months!
Now it’s time for creating your “customer avatar”…
A Customer Avatar: What It Is and Why You Need One
Hands down, the most important thing in marketing is understanding your audience or your potential customer. An “avatar” is a representation of a larger idea in one single personality.
When these two concepts come together, we get one of the most powerful tools in the marketing toolbox: the customer avatar.
What is an “Avatar”?
We’ve all seen the prompts to “Choose an Avatar” when we sign into a social media site for the first time, but what does that word mean?
Originally, an avatar was a personification of a god, or all that deity’s powers and energies inside one human being.
In the world of marketing, an avatar is similar in that it’s a collection of many different people, represented in one person.
Who is Your Customer Avatar?
Your customer avatar is one person who represents everyone who shares their traits, a distillation of your target market.
Say you’re starting a fashion line, and you define your target as “professional women between 25 and 35” because you know those women both need your clothing and can afford to buy it. Great, let’s look at how we’d build a customer avatar for our line:
Start With the Basics – First thing you need to do is pick your demographic information for your ideal customer, including:
- Race, ethnicity
- Age, location, education
- Marriage status, number of children
- Household income, including savings or other assets like a home
- Anything else you can think of about your avatar
Make It Personal – You kind of know who this person is now, so let’s complete the picture. Give your ideal customer a name, and you can find a picture online or even use a free picture maker if you want to give them a face.
Walk a Mile in Their Shoes – Now that you know who your customer avatar is, it’s time to really delve into their life. You need to go through what their typical day looks like. You can brainstorm it in a bullet list. Better yet, write it out in a story.
The point is, you need to know what your ideal customer’s habits are: where they shop, what they buy, what they do for a living and for hobbies. This will let you know how you need to approach them.
Are You Your Own Customer Avatar?
We often create a business to “scratch our own itch”. Perhaps you created something to use for yourself – and realized that others may need (and pay) for this solution you created.
In this instance, it’s possible that you are your own ideal customer, or avatar. That’s a great foundation to start with, because who knows you better than you? But go through the above exercise and get it down on paper – detail your personality traits, demographics, write the story of why you need the service or product that YOU created.
Writing these things out in detail will help you identify those traits in other like-minded ideal customers.
How Will a Customer Avatar Help Me?
Marketing materials and ad copy should not be watered down to the point that you’re trying to talk to every-one. When you do this, your message resonates with no-one.
All your marketing materials should be focused on talking to that one person – and that’s your customer avatar.
Yes, many people will read it and some won’t relate. It’s likely that those people weren’t going to buy from your anyway. But when your message is finely tuned to your ideal customer – your advertising will feel like it’s speaking directly to them and their needs.
When you know who your customer avatar is, you’ll be able to do all kinds of things. Building a customer avatar can help you learn:
- How your marketing materials should sound
- What forms of advertising your customers use
- The type of branding they respond to
- What topics to engage them about
When you understand who you’re marketing to in a complete, intimate way – you can more easily make decisions about your marketing tactics. With a customer avatar in your mind, you can get more market reach and up your sales.
Reaching your Customer Avatar
We talked about the customer avatar in theory, how to create one, and how the avatar can be used to increase the effectiveness of your marketing. But how do you actually reach your ideal customer?
Targeting your marketing towards real humans that fit your customer avatar is actually easier than you think… by using Facebook Ads.
Billions of people have been telling Facebook who they are, where they live, what they like, how they behave, etc. You can harness that goldmine of information when targeting your advertisements (or for simply testing and validating an idea for a business).
For a more detailed guide on how to use Facebook Ads, check out our previous post: Validating your Idea using Facebook Ads.
Here’s a useful tip if you’re stuck on trying to figure out “Who” your avatar is…
If you already have a Facebook page for your business, product or interest that relates to the avatar you’re trying to develop – visit the page, and click on the “Insights” tab. Within this area is a subsection entitled “People”. This section draws on the profiles of all the people who like or follow your page – by age, gender, location, etc.
Use this summary of user data to outline your own customer avatar!