Customer Avatar Builder

An effective marketer shows the right offer at the right time to the right people at the right place. One of the most counter-productive things a business can do is to disregard the importance of customer avatars.

Imagine investing resources to develop an incredible product or service, but then use a vague message on the wrong platform, at the wrong time.

You could develop the best product, but if you put it in front of the wrong people, then it will fail. And all this effort wasted. You have to know your customer.

A customer avatar is a fictional representation of the type of person who’s most likely to be your customer. It is a detailed and insightful profile of your ideal customer designed to give marketers various targeting tools.

It is a detailed roadmap to help you become a better marketer.

You are targeting the type of customer who is loyal, willing to spend money repeatedly, and enthusiastically promote your brand.

If you already have one or more customers who fit this description, then use them to construct your avatars.

Who needs customer avatars? Literally, every business! But small and medium-sized businesses especially need to use customer avatars to get the most out of their marketing efforts.

Precision targeting is the only way to get to the types of customers who will grow your business.

Marketers who look for ways to generate a broad appeal end up attracting no one. Customer avatars are necessary to speak directly to your target audience and to avoid spending resources targeting people who will never be your customers.

You will present your product/service in a way that resonates with your avatar using effective content and platform channels which they use. Your overall marketing campaigns will be more robust.

A customer avatar is what we use to craft the message that pushes customers to convert.

Getting the Data

Whether you have a large and loyal customer base or you’re just starting out, you’ll need to conduct research.

Let’s first look at various research methodologies you can employ if you’re running an established business with existing customers.

Interview

Set up an interview with your customers via Zoom or over the phone. Don’t interview less than 5 or 6 customers, but ideally try to get in touch with 10% – 15% of your customer base for real insight.

Get Data from Your Team

Touch base with your sales, marketing, and customer service teams to see what customers are saying about your product and service. What do they like, what you could be doing better, what sort of negative feedback you are receiving, and so on.

Facebook & Google

Install a Facebook pixel on your website to collect relevant information on both your existing customers and potential customers. Visitors to your website are not only your customers but also people who have an expressed interest in your brand.

This is valuable data.

Google is another powerful tool that will give you a peek into the mind of your prospects and customers.

Take advantage of Google’s Search Console to find out what search terms your audience is using to find your content online. You will learn what is weighing heavy on their minds –the issues and challenges they want to solve. 

Use Surveys

Motivate them to fill out the survey with a promo code, a discount, or a gift. Survey Monkey gets people to complete their surveys by donating to the respondent’s charity of choice. Let them know that you are asking for their feedback in order to find solutions that will benefit them.

Make sure that your questionnaires are short – you want people to give you honest answers so don’t waste their time. Only include questions that will get you the most insightful information.

Study the Competition

Let’s now look at your options if you have only recently started a business.

If you are just starting out and you don’t have any customers or reliable leads, then it’s best to study your competitors. Head over their website, read the reviews, look at their social media, and try to glean customer information from there.

Use tools like BuzzSumo to study the competition’s analytics. The tool comes with a free trial, which has enough features to give you a general overview.

Do Some Digging

Keep up to date with the content that’s posted on industry-specific blogs and forums. Always look at the comments people post because this can be an awesome source of insight into the needs and concerns of your target audience.

Also, it’s a good idea to follow what influential individuals are saying in interviews, blogs, social media, etc. Does your ideal customer resemble these influencers in many critical ways? Influencers can be a starting point for building your avatar if you lack any customers.

The last thing left to do you is to track down several individuals and do detailed research on them. Identify a few specific individuals who share many traits that you seek in your ideal customer. You may feel a little uncomfortable doing this, but the data that you get will be representative of the audience you want to target.

Skim through their social media profiles and other digital platforms where they’ve published content and keep an eye out for relevant information for your avatar. Try to understand why they like the things that they do; adopt an analytical approach that will get to the root of their motivations.

You want to know what motivates your customers psychologically.

Alright, let’ start building …

Building Our Avatar

Now, the fun begins.

Let’s suppose that we recently opened up a fantastic golf club and we want to attract players to our course. Before we can launch a marketing campaign, we need to build an ideal customer avatar.

So, who’s the perfect customer for our golf club?

Most golf club owners will tell you it’s someone who pays full fees, brings along guests, pays for lessons, takes part in tournaments, and eats and drinks at the bar after a game.

These are your ideal club members who bring in the majority of your income.

Golf is a popular sport that’s growing fast: there are tens of millions of players around the globe!

This means that there are various types of golfers and you need to know which ones you want to target:

  • The Fanatic: Addicted to the game, enjoys practicing, competing, and even gambling on games. This golfer is highly competitive and will stop at nothing to improve. Golf plays a vital part in these types of players, which means they have a tendency to relate events to golf. A great student of the game.
  • Social Golfer: Enjoys meeting people on the course. For them, golf is a fun leisure activity that helps them spend time with their significant other. However, it’s possible that they develop a stronger affinity for the game, and start golfing more regularly.
  • Retired Golfer: Uses golf as one of the activities to leave out of the house and get some fresh air. Many retirees live off a fixed income and therefore tend to be cautious with their finances. They enjoy a good bargain.
  • Business Golfer: Golf is one of the ways of doing business – it’s a powerful networking tool. This type of golfer tends to be an executive who is used to a fast-paced lifestyle and expects immediate results. They never have enough time, which means that they value flexible schedules and pristine golf courses.

These are only some of the many different segments of golfers who play at clubs.

Let’s go ahead and make a customer avatar for the business golfer as an example.

Business Golfer

An insightful customer avatar rests on 5 pillars:

  • Demographics
  • Goals & Values
  • Sources of Information
  • Challenges & Pain Points
  • Objections
The Customer Avatar Builder Blueprint

Let’s go ahead and make a customer avatar for the business golfer as an example.

Demographics

Name: Phil Oscarson                                      Quote: “In business, it’s more important to get. along with other people than to be smarter than them – although that doesn’t hurt either”

Age: 45                                                            Field: Steel Industry                                                              

Gender: Male                                                  Job Title: Chief Commercial & Technology Officer

Marital Status: Married                                  Annual Income: $ 250,000

Number & Age of Children: 3 (Ages 6 & 8 & 11)

Location: Melbourne, Australia                      Education: MBA

Filling out this type of information serves a few purposes. Firstly, it’s useful when setting up targeting options for social media ads.

Secondly, including a ‘quote’ field helps you better understand the psychological makeup of your avatar.

Thirdly, and finally, this data helps visualise the avatar, giving you a clearer picture of the person.

 Goals & Values

Goals of Phil Oscarson are:

  • Improve his network capabilities
  • Close more lucrative deals
  • Establish strong professional relations with clients
  • Become a better business leader

Phil Oscarson values:

  • Give clients value
  • Professional integrity
  • Company loyalty

Knowing the goals and values will help you write copy that resonates with your avatar. For example, we know that he wants to “improve his network capabilities”.

Therefore, our golf club could come up with a Corporate Golf Package, which would offer the best equipment, lessons with PGA professionals, exclusive dining options, and other services that would make the experience special.

This is something that Phil Oscarson might find interesting.

Sources of Information:

Books: Our Iceberg is Melting: Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions by John Kotter

            Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini, Ph.D.

Magazines/Newspapers: The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, The Financial Times

Websites/Blogs: Psychology Today, Foreign Affairs, The Conference Board Review

Conferences: Steel Success Strategies, World Business Forum

Industry Leaders / Gurus: Salim Ismail, Joseph Stiglitz, Nouriel Roubini, Jason Day

Other:  Enjoys spending time on Twitter and LinkedIn

This part of the avatar lets us know where we can find our avatar. As a result, you’ll know how best to reach your ideal customer by learning about their sources of information.

There is a tactic that all marketers like to use when they want to target their avatar with laser precision.

It’s called “Only my ideal customer”.

So, we would say, “Only my ideal customer reads this newspaper and no one else.”

Or, “Only my ideal customer attends this conference and no one else.”

The point is to identify specific authors, gurus, blogs, etc. which only your ideal customer would read or know about.

In other words, they are not mainstream.

For example, if we were selling basketball shoes, we would not want to include “Michael Jordan” as a guru into our worksheet because everyone and their mother knows about him.

Instead, we would have to select a more niche basketball player like Rajon Rondo as their guru. This would help us eliminate people who don’t fit our profile and only target our ideal customer.

This is especially useful if you set up ads on social media platforms because you’ll reach your target audience and avoid people who aren’t likely to be your customers.

Challenges & Pain Points

Challenges:

  • Getting face time with key decision-makers
  • Expanding to growing markets

Pain Points:

  • Losing to competition
  • The company not meeting targets

This section shows you how to develop your product/service in order to get the ideal customer to take action. This means offering services that directly address our ideal customer’s challenges and pain points.

So, in our case, we would market our business as an exclusive golf club for business executives to network while enjoying golf.

Objections

Possible objections:

  • How long does it take to schedule a game? He doesn’t want to wait for days or weeks in advance. Flexibility is important.
  • Is it the right setting to network and make business deals?

Role in Purchase:

  • He decides where he takes his business partners golfing. Price is not an issue provided that the experience is special and that he can discuss business in an exclusive setting.

Understanding possible objections that the avatar might have with regards to purchasing your product/service helps you address them in your message.

Since our avatar is concerned with flexibility in scheduling, we could send an email that says that exclusive members can schedule prime tee times whenever they want.

This will certainly grab our avatar’s attention.

You should create a customer avatar for each segment of your audience. So in our case, we would make one for:

  • The Fanatic
  • The Retired Golfer
  • The Social Golfer

Don’t overdo it, but as long as there’s a segment with its own goals, challenges, objections, etc. you should have a customer avatar that represents that segment.