Question of the week?
Improve your marketing with a client avatar
Happy Friday all! I’ve had conversations with a few clients this week who are thinking about starting a business. While it’s a scary and risky proposition, it’s also a time filled with hope and opportunity, especially when that business is mission driven. I’ve already discussed the four fundamental concepts behind building a profitable mission driven business – passion, vision, strategy and tactics. This week want to discuss a key strategy concept – improving your marketing by with a client avatar.
What does your ideal client look like? Building a client avatar can help you define the best, most profitable prospects for your business. It’s an essential part of any marketing strategy, but many business owners don’t do it.
Why an avatar is important
First, a little about what an avatar is. It’s a fictional person who has the same wants, needs and pain points as the clients you want to serve. The more details the better. The more exactly you can describe this ideal client, the better you’ll be able to grasp the ins and outs of serving them. By truly understanding your preferred customers, you can more accurately target your marketing campaigns, including content marketing, email marketing and paid advertisements. Knowing whom you’re talking to makes it easier to create content that resonates, engages and inspires perspective clients. Having an avatar can also help create a better customer experience, allowing you to make more intentional and thoughtful interactions.
Overall the goal is to know:
- Who your ideal customer is
- What they want
- Where they spend their time
- How what you do can address their problems
Building your avatar
There are may worksheets for building your avatar. One of my favorites was created by Mary Beth Storjohann, Chief Marketing Officer & Partner at Abacus Wealth Partners. Here is her four-step approach.
1. List Demographics and Psychographics:
You start by listing every trait they share. This will include demographics and psychographics. In short, demographics explain “who” your buyer is, while psychographics explain “why” they buy.
Demographics include: age, gender, ethnicity, occupation, marital status, industry, etc.
Psychographics include: values, beliefs, lifestyle, hobbies, interest, etc.
Both are important here, as individuals who fall into the same demographic group don’t necessarily fall into the same psychographic group and vice versa. Knowing both will give you unique insight in how to target your ideal client.
2. Using those commonalities, you then create a single representation of your ideal client with as many specific details as you can.
The point of this exercise is to describe the person so well, you can easily step into his/her/their shoes. According to Storjohann, “you want to be able to think, speak and experience emotions unique to him/her/them.” Characteristics to include are:
- Age, Gender, Ethnicity, Hair and Eye Color
- Marital Status
- Ideal Vacation
- Favorite books, music, tv, films
- Websites or social media he/she/they follow
- Google history (related to your business)
- How they spend their free time
- Guilty Pleasures
- Authors, Teachers, Experts they follow
It may take you a couple of tries to think of all of the characteristics you think apply. Don’t be afraid set the exercise aside and come back to you if you need to.
3. What is the primary emotion, or set of emotions, your avatar is feeling at the exact moment they discover your services and when he/she/they are about to purchase your services?
Is your avatar excited to find you? Is he/she/they relieved? Calm? Joyful? Empowered?
You can probably get this information directly from your clients. If you don’t have it already, there’s nothing wrong with asking. Knowing the emotions and energy your clients feel can also help you develop a deeper relationship with your clients. It was also helpful for me to look at an actual list of emotions to consider all of the possibilities.
4. Lastly, what are his/her/their most significant Questions/Concerns, Values, Dreams, Goals
In her worksheet, Storjohann offers plenty of space to list these concerns. So, don’t be shy. Try listing at least three characteristics in each column. It may also help to ask yourself questions like:
- What are they trying to accomplish?
- What pain points are they experiencing?
- What are their selling points?
- What are the most common needs and wants?
- What really motivates them to take action or energizes them?
- What are his/her/their particular roadblocks?
Lastly, don’t limit yourself to these questions. Think about the person you’ve outlined and fill any gaps you find important in using your custom sections.
If you’re interested in Storjohann’s full worksheet, you can find it here: https://www.kitces.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Ideal-Client-Avatar.pdf
Quote of the week
“What you think you become. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine, you create.” – Buddha
Task of the week
Take some time this weekend to clarify your client avatar. When you have him/her/them in place, put him/her/them to work. Here are some key points to think about:
- Use your avatar as the lens for your marketing material: The point of having an avatar is so you can use him/her/them as the lens that sharpens and focuses your marketing. Try weaving examples of how you can bring your client avatar into marketing materials. Speak directly to their needs, wants and desires. If your ideal client can find themselves in your marketing, you’ve done a good job making a connection. The right connections can yield more introductory phone calls.
- You may have more than one: Even within your niche, you may have multiple avatars. And they will likely all need different things from you. As such, your marketing messaging should speak to each of their needs.
- Be open to refining your avatar: It may take time—and a fair amount of trial and error—to perfect your client avatar. That’s okay. It’s progress, not perfection. Just get started!