How To Build A Customer Avatar (And Why It’s The Best Thing You’ll Do For Your Business This Year)

customer avatar
How well do you know your potential customers?

I’m not asking if you’re on first name terms with them or whether you ever go out for a drink with them.

I’m asking how well you really know what they like, what they need, what language they use to describe it, what they desire and how they want to get it.

The reason I’m asking is because if you really know your customers on that level, it makes everything else easier.

The Problem With Most Businesses Like Yours

Here’s the issue:

Most business owners fall in love with their businesses and the life it can give them and not with their customers.

As a result, they pitch their business at a very broad market.

Consequently, they tend to not be very focused on an ideal customer when they create their marketing.

That causes a major problem:

The marketing doesn’t really speak to anyone specifically, because it’s trying to speak to everybody.

So many of the business owners I speak to don’t know exactly who to target, so they ask questions like:

  • Which social media platforms should I be on?
  • How do I find my perfect customers?
  • What’s the best way to educate my market to show them what we do?

This is the reason that you need to clearly define your customer avatar.

How To Create Your Customer Avatar

Your avatar is simply a written breakdown of your ideal customer.

It tells you who they are, where you can find them and even how to phrase things to speak to them.

Hopefully, you’re starting to see that you need to get specific.

You can do this relatively easily.

If you have customers already, you need to start asking them a bit about themselves. Get them to tell you where they get their information, which sites they use and what their challenges, goals and desires are.

You can also use the following tools to find out more about your market and the people you want to target:

Google Analytics – If you have a website and you don’t have this installed, then you’re doing yourself a huge disservice. Among other things, this tool will tell you demographic data about the people visiting your site. It will show you how they got to your site (referral, social media or directly) and what they looked at when they got there. Use this and you’ll immediately get a deeper understanding of your potential customers.

Alexa – This is a great tool for some quick research into both your own website visitors, and those of your competitors. Enter a direct competitor’s website address into the search on Alexa and you’ll find out data about the people that browse it, including demographics, where they browse from and even an idea of what their income is. While not perfect, this is a good start in your competitor and market analysis.

Quantcast – Similar to Alexa, but tends to only work well on larger sites that have already been ‘Quantified’.

Spyfu – This is a ninja tool and then some. You can enter your competitors website here and see the exact ads that they’re running on the Google Search and Display Network. It will show you which exact ad works best, so that you can model your own ads on what works. This will save you time and also show you what’s getting the best response in your market.

Niche Forums – The chances are that if you’re in a buoyant market, there are at least a few forums out there that cater to that market. Go on there and start to interact with the community. Pay attention to the questions that keep coming up again and again. These are your market’s ‘eternal problems’. You’ll often get a clear personal insight into the problems that people are having too, which is hugely helpful when it comes to getting your marketing message right.

Your Own List – If you have your own email subscriber list, you can email your list and ask them what they want and need. You can also use tools like Survey Monkey to get the dialogue going, by surveying your list for problems they have and the solutions they want.

Your Current Customers – As I’ve already said, if you have people who have actually paid you money, talk to them to find out what their major issues are. Also, look at what they’ve spent the most money on. You may be surprised to find that it’s not necessarily on the service or product you thought.

You can also go deeper here and start to work out what your prospect’s bigger goals are. Why are they using your product? What’s the life goal or desire that they want to have met by what you provide?

To give you a clear example of this, my customers want peace of mind. They don’t care about the mechanics of Facebook Ads. They want a regular flow of leads from their websites. If they get that, they get peace of mind to know that they’ll always have leads.

Here are some of the questions we ask our business-to-business (B2B) clients when they come on board with us:

  • What are your goals?
  • What are your biggest challenges?
  • Where do you get your information when you have a problem to solve or a goal you want to meet?

That last one is crucial because it tells you exactly where you need to be.

If your client says that they use Twitter to find solutions to problems, then like it or not, you need to get your arse onto Twitter and start answering their questions.

Be More Specific And Make More Money

I did this exercise when I rebranded my business in early 2015.

I realised that the best clients for us and our services were also the clients that I enjoyed working with the most.

They were (and are to this day) still in 2 main niches:

  • Business Services
  • Health and Fitness Services

As a result, I actually started turning away some people that wanted to work with us who were from other niches.

I re-focused what we said on our site and even included a section on a lot of our pages that said who we worked with and who we didn’t work with.

The direct result was that the number of leads we generated actually went down…

At least it did initially.

However, the quality of the leads went up in a big way, with only highly targeted and qualified people getting through to the stage where we might consider them as a client.

As a result, the amount of leads I closed went up and we started making more money.

The desperation and struggle to find any vaguely plausible lead we could, was gone.

Then another interesting thing happened…

We started to get more leads because people started to understand that we were specialists in what we did, for the people that we did it for.

The referrals we got improved because people knew who our perfect customers were, because we knew who they were.

Business has never been better or easier for me as a result.

That’s what creating a clear avatar can bring you.

Oh, and you should also create a negative avatar too. Trust me, you should be turning clients away from your business.

Free Download To Help You

We’ve put together a free download to show you the questions that you need to answer to create your customer avatar. This is what we send to all our new B2B customers when they come on board and we don’t proceed until they’ve filled it out thoroughly. It’s called our Customer Avatar Cheatsheet.

Click Here To Download Your Copy Of Our Customer Avatar Cheatsheet

As always, thanks for reading.

If you have a questions or comments, leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you asap.

Image Credit: Turn To Clear Vision by Tony Webster (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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About the Author

Matt Duggan is the founder of LeadGenSocial.com and the director of digital marketing agency RoarLocal. He's passionate about entrepreneurship and loves helping small businesses to grow thanks to social media advertising. He's also a hardcore chocolate addict, but is working on this.

2 Enlightened Replies

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  1. Peter says:

    Hello, the download link is broken on this page. Is it possible to get the download?

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