How to work out your ideal customer avatar
Here’s a guide to how to work out your ideal customer avatar, with a customer avatar worksheet for you to use for your own business at the end.
You can watch the video where I go through the customer avatar worksheet, or you can just follow the steps below.
What’s a customer avatar?
This is what we use to work out who exactly you want to sell to. It’s a way of getting a clear picture of your ideal customer, so you can align your marketing and your marketing messages to appeal to them.
Your ideal customer avatar is also known as a buyer persona or customer persona. These are just the different technical terms for the same thing.
Why do we need to bother to work this out?
Like many things in business, a little planning in advance makes the next steps much quicker.
Working out your ideal customer takes about 30 minutes to do using the customer avatar worksheet but can save you hours of wasted time in marketing.
Many small businesses spread their marketing much too widely because they haven’t settled on exactly who their ideal customers are.
I did this when I first started out, and it cost me time and money because I wasted both in chasing after the kinds of people who were never going to buy from me.
When I worked out about who I want to sell to, and who is likely to buy from me, marketing became much faster because I could just focus on my ideal customers.
I haven’t mentioned this in the video, but one important thing to remember is that getting your ideal customer avatar right also means that you can cut out all the timewasters.
You don’t want to spend your time or your marketing budget on the people who are just not going to ever spend any money with you.
If you’re focused on the right buyer persona, this will help you cut out what I call the Lidl customers – the people who are never going to value you enough to pay your sweet spot price, ie, what you need to charge.
How to work out your customer avatar
Here’s the video version to take you through the process of identifying your ideal clients.
The worksheet I use in the video is at the end of this article for you to download and use for yourself. I’ll send you a follow-up email, so let me know how you get on. And the other article about customer motivations I mention is here.
Step 1 – To find your ideal customer avatar
Think of 3 clients who you’ve enjoyed working with. Think of people that you liked – you want to work with lovely people, don’t you?
People who have appreciated what you’ve done for them, or people who have given you good feedback.
Especially think of people who have bought from you several times or people who have recommended you to other people. And people who have paid your sweet spot price without quibbling.
If you don’t have clients yet, you don’t have anyone that you’ve worked with that you’d call your ideal client, or if you’re introducing something entirely new, you’ll have to use a little more imagination to think of these people from scratch.
This is the traditional version of the ideal customer avatar, the one they teach you in the business studies course. You think of the characteristics of your ideal clients in terms of:
- Relationship status
- Disposable income
- Geographical location
- Job role (very important if you’re selling to businesses)
These might be relevant for you, but they might not so don’t get too caught up with them. Do try to get at least a couple of these characteristics though, because it helps you to start to narrow down the field of potential customers.
For example, my clients are about 60% female, and usually over 40. That doesn’t mean that I don’t want to sell to men or men under 40, it just tells me that I should make sure that my marketing should be for men and women, and I don’t need to bother about keeping up with whatever the young people are talking about nowadays.
Education means nothing, as some of my clients have advanced degrees and some left school with no qualifications. And I know that I primarily sell across the UK, but I also want to sell more to other English-speaking countries like Ireland and India.
You start to see how this works. Once you start with your ideal clients from now, you can narrow down your picture of your customer persona. Think about how you could communicate with the people you want to do business with, but also add in some changes you’d like to make, such as my desire to sell more books and programmes in other countries.
But there’s more…
Step 3 – Your customer persona’s external pressures
Think about all the external pressures on your ideal customer, extrapolating from those three favourite customers.
If you’re selling to businesses, does your ideal customer have a boss, or is she the MD? If she has a boss, what is her boss telling her she must do? Does she have a target that you can help her to meet? How can you help her to support her team? If she’s the MD, who does she have to please in her life?
If you’re selling to consumers, what are the external pressures your ideal customer experiences? Does she have family who she needs to look after or please? Does she have to get more money in to pay the bills? Is she trying to keep up with societal pressures to look good or lose weight?
Step 4 – Internal desires
Now we’re getting to the exciting stuff. Think about what is deep in your customer’s heart. What makes her tick? What are her internal desires?
These might be for security, she doesn’t want to get fired from her job, or she wants to protect her children. In which case you’re selling her safety and trust? Does she want to be beautiful or younger looking? Or does she want an easier life? There are lots of internal motivations to think about in this article.
Do feel free to ask your existing customers, especially the ones you want more of, about their internal desires. You can send them an email or do a quick survey.
But a quick word or warning – your ideal customer avatar is based on your past ideal clients as they were when they came to you. They might have changed since you first met them they might have changed as a result of buying from you.
I learnt this the hard way when I altered my customer avatar when one of my most liked clients told me that he’d most appreciated having a business advisor who was a trusted friend.
I ended up doing too much marketing talking about being there for people, and not enough about getting your business into shape and making more money, which is what he had come to me for in the first place.
Don’t make my mistakes!
I use this worksheet all the time with mentoring clients, and it’s a very powerful part of my Remarkable Business programme. You can download it below, and I’ll send you some more tips by email about how to grow a successful business, and generally make more money and have more fun.
It takes about 30 minutes to work through. Once you’ve got your customer avatar worked out, I recommend that you write out their key characteristics on a little card and keep it on your desk. Some people like to give their avatars a name.
When you’re writing some marketing copy or a blog, you can keep your avatar in mind. It can be helpful to remember that you’re writing for that person. And when you go to a networking event, you can look out for someone who fits your customer persona and talk to them first.
How to take this further
You’re reading this because you want to get better at running your business. To learn all those skills you need to grow a successful business.
I run a great programme called Remarkable Business where I teach all the skills you need to develop a great business, and you’re supported and surrounded by other people who are dedicated to doing the same thing.
Here’s how that works – I do hope you can join us next time we run Remarkable Business, so do get your name on the waiting list to hear when we’re running it next. Here’s how it all works….
Photo credits to Steven Su on Unsplash and Vervate
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