A customer avatar (sometimes referred to as a buyer persona, marketing persona, or customer profile) is a representation of your ideal customer—the type of person you want to purchase your products or services.
Chances are you’ve seen this phrase tossed around countless times, but up until now, you may have been confused about what it actually is.
So, let’s clear up a few things!
Here’s what a customer avatar is:
- An essential part of your marketing strategy
- A fictional character with wants, needs, and pain points
- A detailed profile of a single individual depicting your target audience
- A comprehensive outline based on research and data
Here’s what a customer avatar is not:
- A “nice to have”
- An amalgam of all your potential and/or existing customers
- A short, vague description that lacks important details
- A list of characteristics based on guesses or assumptions
Handled correctly, an avatar provides valuable insight into who your ideal customer is, what they want, where they spend their time, and how your offering can address their problem.
It’s the key to experiencing marketing and sales success.
Who Should Have a Customer Avatar?
Every organization should have a customer avatar.
Every. Single. One.
(You did see the part about it being the key to experiencing marketing and sales success, right?)
However, having an avatar—or a few, depending on how much you need to segment your target market—is especially beneficial for start-ups and small to medium-sized businesses. It allows you to make the most of your budget, focusing your digital marketing efforts for better results.
Why You Need a Customer Avatar
When it comes down to it, you need a customer avatar so you understand to whom you’re trying to sell—the perfect customer who will spend big, make repeat purchases, and promote your business to others.
Here’s the hard-to-swallow truth: Although you may think you know who that is, you don’t.
No business owner does.
And until you do your research, you’ll continue targeting anyone and everyone in hopes that someone will bite, which is both costly and ineffective. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news…
On a lighter note, having an accurate, fleshed-out avatar gives you the opportunity to be more specific with your marketing messages and allows you to improve on a variety of areas.
- Email Marketing: Knowing whom you’re talking to makes it easier to create emails that get more opens, clicks, and conversions. Further, it can help in segmenting your email list so you can design different campaigns for different avatars.
- Product Development: Having an understanding of what your ideal customer wants can assist your organization in developing products or services that are relevant and more likely to be purchased.
- Content Marketing: With a customer avatar, you can produce content that resonates with your ideal customer, increasing their interest in and engagement with your business.
- Paid Advertising: In addition to revealing which platforms you should be running ads on, an avatar provides insight into which demographics you should target and what wording you should use.
- User Experience: An avatar can also help you shape a better customer experience, allowing you to make every interaction as easy, pleasant, and convenient as possible.
Ultimately, you need a customer avatar because you have to know your ideal customer before you can attempt to sell to them.
How to Create Your Customer Avatar
Creating your customer avatar does require a fair amount of time and effort, but rest assured it’s all worth it in the end.
Plus, the process has been broken down into steps to make it a little less overwhelming.
Here we go!
Step 1: Do Your Research.
First things first, you need to research your ideal customer. The good news is that they may be one of your existing customers. In that case, you can use their information for reference and send them a survey asking additional questions for further insight.
However, if the perfect customer hasn’t found their way to your organization just yet, that’s okay. It just means you need to perform some secondary research, such as gathering data from third-party reports, looking at Q&A sites, and reviewing social media conversations.
The trick is to put your biases aside and get inside the mind of your ideal customer. It’s all about them—not you.
Step 2: Fill Out an Avatar Worksheet.
Once you’ve done your research, it’s time to start building the actual customer avatar. You just need to put the information you’ve compiled into an avatar worksheet (download one HERE).
Start by giving your avatar a name, which adds another layer to this fictional character. You could also upload a stock photo if you really want to go all out.
Then, move on to the following sections:
- What’s their age?
- What’s their gender?
- What’s their marital status?
- How many children do they have? How old are their children?
- Where are they located?
- What’s their occupation?
- What’s their job title?
- How much do they make each year?
- What level of education have they completed?
Goals and Values
- What are their goals? What are they trying to accomplish?
- What are their values? What’s their “hill to die on”?
Sources of Information
- Where do they get most of their information?
- What books, magazines, websites, conferences, and gurus do they trust?
Challenges and Pain Points
- What challenges do they need to overcome?
- What pain points are they experiencing?
Objections & Role in the Purchasing Process
- Why might they object to purchasing your offering?
- What’s their role in the purchasing process? Are they the direct buyer, or do they need approval from someone else?
Step 3: Repeat the Process as Needed.
Odds are good you have more than one ideal customer. And if that’s the case, you need to create a customer avatar for each one. That way you can ensure that your digital marketing efforts are unique to whichever segment you’re targeting.
Fortunately, the process becomes a piece of cake once you’ve done it before.
Note: In the beginning, it’s best to stick to three or fewer. If you create dozens of avatars, you’ll wind up casting your net too wide.
I’ve said it before (twice, actually), and I’ll say it again: Your customer avatar is the key to experiencing marketing and sales success.
- Who your ideal customer is
- What they want
- Where they spend their time
- How your offering can address their problem
…makes all the difference in the world when it comes to focusing your marketing efforts.