Peter Drucker said:
“The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.”
Do you really know your customer?
I mean really understand your customer down to the finest details. Could you look in a crowd of people and say, “Ah, that person would buy from me”?
This ability is done by creating a customer avatar.
What is a Customer Avatar?
It’s an image of your customer. It’s a buyer persona.
It goes well beyond their habits, including details like:
- Job Title
It can also include items like their hair color or something as small as if they have piercings.
A basic customer avatar example:
John is a middle-aged White male, age 55, living in the suburbs. He has at one child (now in college). He earns roughly $50 – 70k a year in retail clothing sales. John likes to take vacations to South America, to see major futbol games, and frequently visits travel websites to plan new trips.
Underlying our example is a narrative, the thing that keeps people going. It’s a culmination of their ideas, goals, relationships, and personal convictions. Sometimes this aligns with your business and its offers — magic is what happens when it aligns.
This example only provides a basic overview of our ideal customer avatar. It’s enough data to explore the deeper persona — a launching point. I’m sure there are a few, current customers you could define as a basic example for this exercise.
Creating the Customer Avatar
I would have to say that you’re not going to get it 100%. But even if you can identify just a few key elements of your customer you are better off than your competitors. Many competitors will forgo the buyer persona, hoping that something “sticks”.
Step 1: Gather Your Customer Information
Are you familiar with role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons? The character sheet is no different than the one you’re creating for a business.
- Sign into your social profiles and accounts
- Pull up emails from community members or your newsletter
- Sign into your website analytics or competitors with SEO tools
- Open tabs on your competitor’s social media profiles
These items provide data points when building the buyer persona. Try collecting any other accessible customer data you may have. The more information, the better.
Step 2: Grab a Customer Avatar Template
We went ahead and designed on for you.
Click to download the docx word file (here).
It’s not perfect but it should get the job done. Feel free to add whatever other customer qualities and items to the template as you see fit.
Step 3: Complete the Customer Avatar Checklist
Work your way through the customer avatar template but also create a checklist on the side. This checklist helps refine your research but also inspires new questions and data points.
Answer and check-off each item:
- Physical attributes
- Political/religious affiliations
- Online activities/platforms
Do this as if you’re creating a character to get the basic information.
Then check the narrative items:
Think of what would happen if you offered a product delivering positives to these items. How would they react, and would they return to buy more? What would they feel if they bought from you?
The easiest way to get a general idea of the process (and find additional, worthwhile questions to ask) is to create an avatar of your best friend. This will reveal the process then you can shift it toward your customers and those interested in your business.
Once you have this data you now have the ability to:
- Change and align the tone of voice in your content (to appeal to these people)
- Convey and share values (which builds character and trust)
- Know what key phrases and elements to use in targeted marketing campaigns
The list goes on and on.
Having a customer avatar keeps your business aligned. Whenever you are in doubt of what you are doing you can ask yourself “is this something my customer avatar would want?”.
How Will You Use Customer Avatars?
The ease of launching an online business creates a paradox.
You are able to do niche research, set up a site, and begin promoting products so quickly that it’s easy to forget some of the finer details of your market research – in this case: your customers.
It’s never too late to define your customer avatar.
Use the template and checklist to create at least one persona. Test a campaign and compare it to your previous efforts. Then, create several more avatars for each visitor and customer type.
It’s like playing a role-playing game… except the game is business.