How to Use a Customer Avatar to Grow Your Business

Understanding your audience when you’re crafting marketing and sales materials or developing new products or services is the key to attracting and converting customers.

That way, you can tailor your brand story to speak to their dreams, goals, pain points, and challenges in ways that spark sympathetic or empathetic connections.

Once you have your ideal client interested, they’ll want to know more. And that will move them from interest to engagement and onto the action.

To identify your ideal buyer, you’ll want to create a customer avatar or persona, which is a fictional, composite character that reflects the key attributes of your audience. This task is best accomplished with the help of market research including surveys, data, and interviews.

The good news is that you don’t need a degree in creative writing or even marketing to develop a strong persona profile. In fact, there’s a tried and true formula.

The Benefits of an Avatar

 

Your business’ personality can be shaped by a number of factors including your founder’s vision, core company values, or simply the idea that you’re selling a product or service people want.

To attract the right buyers, though, it’s not about solely telling your story. It’s about crafting a narrative that revolves around your customers first, with your products or services as the supporting characters that help them get where they need to go.

In other words, your buyers’ motivations write the story — and strategy — not the other way around.

By using an avatar to define your target audience, you can hone in on the people who align with your business ideals and will want your offerings. It’s not everyone, just the people most likely to buy into your story and help make it a success.

This leads to a core marketing principle: you can’t be everything to everyone, so focus on those buyers who most need what you provide.

Now that you have a basic appreciation of what customer avatars are and why they are important, here are five easy steps to generate them.

1) Define the Characteristics of Your Avatar

 

Each customer avatar should have depth, purpose, and details. After all, the reason to identify your ideal buyer is to discover what motivates them to take action so you can create and deliver powerful messages that convert.

Develop an avatar that goes way beyond basic demographics. You’ll want to take a deep dive into who that person is, including:

  • Job title & description: Move past listing just a generic title and detail what your avatar does – and the decisions he or she influences at work.
  • Demographics: Fills in the basic blanks to bring your avatar to life including age, gender, income level, education, marital status/family, and where he or she lives and works.
  • Psychographics: Get into your avatar’s “head” and habits by describing hobbies, values, attitudes, and interests.
  • Goals, challenges, and pain points: What are your avatar’s primary goals? What stands in the way of him or her accomplishing them? And what keeps your avatar up at night?
  • Objections and role in the purchase process: Why wouldn’t your ideal customer buy from you? And how much power does that person have over the ultimate decision?
  • Media use: Where does your avatar get his or her information? Favorite websites, books, news outlets, other programming?

 

2) Examine Your Avatar

 

While you may have a good idea already about what your ideal customer looks like, your assumptions are just a starting point. There are several ways to conduct your research, depending on whether or not you have existing customers.

If you have existing customers and/or an established business (with a website): Use your resources and data.

  • Interview existing customers in person (if possible), over the phone, or via Skype using your Persona Research Checklist. As far as how many customers to interview, you’ll want to speak to at least six to nine for quick insight — or as many as 10% of your customer list, if you have time and want to construct a more comprehensive composite.
  • Ask your sales and marketing team members to weigh in on what they know about the people who purchase your products or services, as those buyers are your proven customers. Specifically question your colleagues about the most common queries they get, objections they hear, and how they respond to customer concerns.
  • Also be sure to speak to your Customer Service team about what people like, love, and dislike about your company’s products and services. What can you be doing better?
  • Look at your website analytics (i.e. Google Analytics) and social media platform analytics.
  • Review your email analytics. What offers have worked well — and which ones have flopped?
  • A Custom Audience Pixel via Facebook advertising is a great way to gather information about the people that visit your website, which will include prospects as well as customers.)Use Google’s Search Console to get insights into the questions, challenges, and problems your audience wants to solve. It tells you what keywords or phrases people searched for that brought them to a particular page or post on your website.

If you don’t have existing customers, a website, and/or are in startup mode: Find your target audience from the solutions your product or service provides.

 

  • You can still potentially do survey research with leads or if you have existing social media channels, your followers.
  • Look at your competition’s social media pages for demographic and psychographic insights, such as interests. Make note of the people who comment and engage most, and literally look at their pages for more information about activities, education, marital status, and so on.
  • You can also look at your competitors’ analytics with a tool like SEMrush, Buzzsumo, or the resources just mentioned Fan Page Karma and Twitonomy. Each has a free version or free trial that can help you do at least basic research.
  • Read industry blogs and forums in your target marketplace, and be sure to pay particular attention to the comments made, the questions asked and the tone of voice used. Comments are an especially powerful way to identify pain points and challenges your avatar faces.
  • Identify industry influencers on social media. Do you feel that some of these people are actually your target personas themselves – or do lots of your ideal audience members follow them?

3) Note Your Results

Collate all the commonly themed information you’ve accumulated into a coherent description. To bring personas to life, you’ll then give each one an actual identity, which includes naming him or her (i.e. “Engineer Eddie, “Owner Orenthal”), finding an appropriate stock photograph to represent that person, and developing a backstory that illustrates his or her motivations and perspectives.

4) Consider Defining “Undesirable Personas” Also

As important as it is to know who your ideal customer is, it can also be a worthwhile exercise to identify people you don’t want to attract. Why spend your time, money, and resources marketing to people who will never buy from you?

The Path Forward 

In our harried digital world where people no longer wait (or want) to speak to salespeople – and instead eagerly conduct online research to make significant purchasing decisions, it is essential to author a plan to deliver the perfect content, products, and services that answer your customers’ questions and solves their problems.

Your target prospects and existing customers are entrenched in their daily problems and the better that you can speak to their problems, you’ll be better able to capture their attention, keep them engaged and ensure that your business offerings are utilized.

Contact Falcon Project Consultants to grow your business.