Invest in your audience by creating customer avatars.
What is a customer avatar? Why should I create them and how do I use them?
I invest a lot of time into my audience and my clients. I create content that I give away for the cost of your time and occasionally your email address. It doesn’t cost me any money, but it does take quite a bit of time to develop, create and then distribute it. One thing I have to admit I’ve neglected in the past are my customer avatars. Like you, I guess I feel like I have a pretty good idea of who my clients are (business owners, duh).
But, how much did I really know? I mean, I’m pretty sure my client base has evolved since 2008. Even I benefit from taking the time to dig into who my clients really are … more to the point, who I want them to be.
Who are my customer avatars?
Turns out my ideal clients are not just “business owners”. After spending time with a couple of my avatars I discovered that my perfect customer is a little more specific than I used to think.
For example, one avatar is an artist who has been making pottery for years. They want to open a studio and offer classes. They would invite other artists to rent space for their own classes. They want to bring art to their community and support the local pet shelter with events. This avatar works a full time job and their spouse works part time. Money is a big hurdle, but time is also not something they have a lot of. I can help them by identifying their high priority branding needs. They don’t have the budget for a full website and logo. We’ll package together a microsite and logo package and do the project in chunks so that they can pay over time and when they launch they’ll have a home base and a solid brand foundation to build on later. I also walk them through using Eventbrite, Mailchimp and social media together to promote and manage events while they get their feet underneath them. I also refer them to a partner of mine who offers some options for content strategy.
Now, there’s A LOT more to this avatar. Do they identify as male or female? Do they have kids? Is there anything that’s really keeping them up at night that could be a road block to realizing their dream? But this is the high level stuff I glean from one of my avatars.
How do I use the customer avatar to create brand messaging?
This is a big question. It requires some digging into the answers in the worksheet. How would you explain what you do to this person? What language and tone would you use to put their mind at ease about using your service or purchasing your product? How does what you offer relieve some of their pain points and concerns?
You may be selling your brand to both working moms and middle aged dudes, but you aren’t selling it to them the same way. You aren’t talking to them in the same tone or addressing the exact same issues. A mom using your balm to sooth her toddlers irritated skin isn’t going to relate to using it to make a hipster beard more manageable. You’re going to craft more than one message and talk individually to these two groups of people. Get what I’m saying?
Customer avatars sound like a lot of work though.
Yes, they are. But here’s the thing, they are absolutely an investment in your business. This is research into your customers and their mindset. And if you can’t figure out how to answer the questions, find someone who can give you some outside insight. Maybe someone you think is an ideal customer can help you create a few.
Creating customer avatars is going to be work, but at the end of the day a well thought out customer avatar will gain you three things that are imperative to creating effective brand messaging:
- An accurate representation of who your ideal customer is
- A clear idea of what problems you help them solve
- A detailed story that you can help tell through your brand messaging
Be careful not to fall into the mindset that these are a waste of time. When you are creating your customer avatars remember that they are not:
- A repetition of who your current customers already are
- Expensive to develop and do not require exorbitant amounts of your time
- Created in a vacuum, get out and ask for input from others
For the price of your time you can really step into your customer’s shoes and find valuable information about them that will help you focus your messaging, which will improve your relationships and, in turn, make your marketing more effective. If you put in the time to refine a couple customer avatars, the return can be immeasurable. It might even make you a better person.
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If you’d like help developing your customer avatars and figuring out how you can customize your brand messaging around them, contact me for a free consult to find out how we can work together.