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Create a Customer Avatar to Reach Your Ideal Customer

Posted by Jen Butler on Feb 26, 2019 10:27:13 PM

Understand The Objective of Creating a Customer Avatar

If I see one more business without a clue to who they are helping I'm going to scream. Ok, not really but there is a BIG need for defining your customer avatar in a way to upgrade your digital marketing efforts.
Once you’ve completed this sheet, you’ll have a better understanding of who your ideal customers are, the best avenues to reach them, all while reducing the amount of guesswork.  

So, what is a customer avatar?

Defining a Customer Avatar

Every business has multiple "customer avatars," or segments within its audience. You may have also heard the term “buyer persona” or “target audience.” Different terms for the same thing. We'll refer to this as the customer avatar. 

Similarly, just as your business has multiple customer avatars, every product that your business sells also has different customer avatars. Different products appeal to different customer avatars. 

Obviously, you want to target these people in your marketing. But each customer avatar has different motivations, goals, and objections to why they may not buy, so you need to use different messaging with each of them.

That's where your Customer Avatar Worksheet comes in. With this 1-page worksheet, you'll be able to create ads that speak directly to your best customers, so you can create a more customized campaign that resonates with your audience and drives conversions.

How Many Customer Avatars Should You Create?

In this EP, we'll walk you through the process of creating your Customer Avatar Worksheet. For this exercise, choose your best customer type or segment for either your business as a whole or 1 of your products.

Be aware, if more than 1 type of person buys your products, you should narrow it down to 3 customer avatars you plan to market to. Any more than that will be difficult to keep up with, and it could make your marketing seem unfocused.

Ideally, you should create anywhere from 1–3 customer avatars for your entire business and 1–3 for each product you sell.

Download your Customer Avatar Worksheet template now
As you start to complete it, you’ll want to get the critical aspects of each customer avatar on just 1 page. That way, you have an easy reference for every aspect of your marketing to this person.
Whether you're writing content, building your funnels and landing pages, or creating ads—and whether you do it alone or have different team members doing each task—with this worksheet as your reference, your messaging and creative will be consistent throughout your campaigns.
TIP: Make sure everything you need to know about your customer avatar can be found on this 1 page.
At this stage, since you're just setting up your customer avatar, the information you collect may be somewhat broad. In some cases, it may even be based on assumptions. But you need to get it all on 1 page where you can see it and begin testing those assumptions.  

Define Who You Want to Attract to Your Business

To the best of your ability, use data and assumptions you can validate to complete your worksheet. If you base your customer avatar solely on your gut, then your targeting will miss—costing you time and money.
Be sure to fill out the Customer Avatar Worksheet with the qualities of your best customers—the people you want to sell to—because the way you build your customer avatar can actually be a self-fulfilling prophecy for your business.
Here's why…
When you create a customer avatar, you're actively choosing who you want to work with.
So your description here needs to be of people you want to attract to your business, not only of people you've sold to in the past.
TIP: Think of an existing customer who's a perfect fit for your business. Build your customer avatar around this person.
Example: Who are DigitalMarketer’s Customer Avatars?
For example DigitalMarketer, has3 customer avatars:
  1. Small business owners: who buy marketing training so they can use what they learn in their own marketing (or know how to hire people to do it for them)
  2. Marketing professionals: people who want to enter the marketing field or current marketing professionals who want to hone their skills
  3. Digital agencies: businesses that sell marketing services to other businesses
These are 3 very different customer avatars, but since we have a worksheet built for each of them, our entire team is on the same page when we build a funnel or promote a new product.
All of us use the worksheet to help us do our part in the digital marketing workflow. We use it to make sure our Facebook ads are well targeted… our blog posts cover the topics our customer avatars are most interested in… and our emails drive targeted traffic to those posts.
Here's an example of the worksheet filled out for one of our customer avatars, Agency Eric. Throughout this EP, we'll also give you close-ups of the different sections of this worksheet using Agency Eric as an example.

Name Your Customer Avatar

Before you start filling out the worksheet, make sure it’s a distinct segment of your customers. You’ll want to:
  1. Identify the segment
  2. Give it a name
For instance, let's say you sell to freelancers. This is a distinct group of people who have common goals, struggles, and needs. You might name this customer avatar Freelancer Fran.
Now think about this person's before and after state.
  • What do they want and what are they experiencing before the purchase?
  • What will they have after the purchase? How will the purchase transform their lives? 
This is key to the Customer Avatar Worksheet. You see, anyone who buys anything is looking for a transformation. They have a goal, something they're trying to achieve. And they have things in their life they don’t like, that they're trying to move away from.
When they get excited about a purchase, it's because there's something they don't have that they want, and they believe the product will give them the thing they're missing. Or there's something they do have but don't want and their purchase will help them get rid of it.
Try to get a feel for what those things might be. Then fill out the 4 boxes on the worksheet. Keep in mind, the top left box is about what your customers are moving toward and the top right box is what they're moving away from.

Understand Their Goals and Values

In the upper left box, list your customer avatar's goals and values. These are the things your customer avatar wants. These are the things they're striving to add to their life.
In this space, name several things your customer avatar wants that they don't have yet. What are they trying to achieve? List these goals and be as specific as possible.
TIP: These things should relate to the product you sell or the offer you're making. Don't get distracted by unrelated goals. For instance, if they want to lose 25 pounds, that's relevant to a weight-loss shake but not to digital marketing services.
Keep in mind, most people, though they want things, have values that keep them grounded. So while you think about their goals, try to get in their head and think about what they value as well and how their values affects the things they want and they goals they set for themselves.
List several values that matter to your customer avatar.

Gather Their Sources of Information

This section helps you target your customer.
Your goal is to figure out where they get their information, from books and magazines to events to thought leaders. This will help you target your ads, so take the time to get it right.


Here’s how you can go about collecting that information.
4 Ways to Gather Your Customer Avatar’s Sources of Information
  1. Talk to people in this customer avatar group- Your best bet for filling out this section is to talk to people who fit this customer avatar profile. Figure out where they go for information and fill it from there. Forums and communities are a good place to start.
  2. Pull from personal experience- In some cases, your customer avatar is you, either now or in a previous time of life. Fill in what you know from personal experience.

    That said, don’t use your gut to fill out this worksheet. You need to validate your ideas and assumptions by checking with other people who fit the profile. Rely on real data that's current and make sure the things you're listing represent the majority of people who fit this customer avatar.
  3. Do a Google search- Another way to find this information is to do a Google search. Here are a few search terms to get you started: 
    "Top books for [whoever your customer avatar is]"
    "Best [customer avatar] conferences" 
    "Top [customer avatar] blogs" 
    "Best [customer avatar] groups"
  4. The "but no one else would" exercise
In order to separate this customer avatar from everyone else on the planet, you need to niche down. Look for the things they read or do that "no one else would."
For example, pretty much everyone thinks of Tony Robbins as a source for self-help books. But pretty much everyone aren’t your ideal customers. Let’s say entrepreneurs are. No one but entrepreneurs would think of the book Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.
The idea is to get niche enough that you aren't including anyone outside your customer avatar's circle.
Why does this matter?
You're trying to weed out the people who aren't a perfect fit for your offers. When targeting your ads, you need to be able to build an audience that's made up of your customer avatar only.
So you're going for books, events, and other information sources that only your customer avatar would care about. To do that, you have to cast a narrow net.
Choose thought leaders only your customer avatar would recognize off the street: Mari Smith and Michael Port, for instance. Not Tony Robbins or Oprah.
Use this template to identify sources of information that perfectly fit your customer avatar (but no one else):
  • My customer avatar would read [book/magazine] but no one else would
  • My customer avatar would visit [name of blog or forum] but no one else would
  • My customer avatar would go to [conference or event] but no one else would

Know Their Challenges and Pain Points

In Goals and Values, you listed the things your customer is moving towards. Here, you want to do the opposite. List the things this customer avatar is moving away from.
List the negative or unpleasant things this customer avatar has that they want to escape from. What challenges and pain points do they regularly experience?
Remember, only list things that are relevant to your offers. For example, wanting to switch careers would be relevant to business opportunities but not offers about improving their health.

Determine Their Objections and Roles 

Every offer is going to be met with objections. But if you know what they're likely to be, you can address those objections in advance.
What are some possible objections this customer avatar would have to whatever you're selling?
A freelancer probably wants to know how she'll recoup the money she spends on a training program or event. An agency owner doesn't have that objection. For him, a $500 certification isn't a problem.
You need to understand what the hot buttons are for your customer avatar so you can address their objections in your marketing.
If you know the key objections already, list them here. If not, do some customer and competitor research to figure out what they are.
Next up, identify your customer avatar's role in the purchase decision.
In some cases, your customer avatar isn't the person controlling the money or approving the purchase. If that's the case, you need to know it before you start writing sales copy.
For instance, while marketers typically buy our products, they aren't the ones making the purchase. It's their boss who's making the purchase. So we need to market to the professional, but we need to get them to lobby within their organization so the decision-maker is willing to buy our certification programs and memberships.
Now, identify the role your customer avatar has in the purchase process:
  • Decision-maker: This person/role has the final say in the purchase decision
  • Advocate: This person lobbies within the organization for the product/offer, so the decision-maker is willing to say yes
  • Champion: This may be the end user or someone who supports the Advocate, swinging the decision-maker towards a yes

Add any notes that will help you know how to target the decision-maker as well as your customer avatar.

Fill In Their Personal Information

 In the middle of the worksheet are the demographics for your customer avatar. These are the details that will bring them to life.

You want the customer avatar to be as human as possible. To do that, you're going to create a sample person to represent all the people in this segment. That’s why we told you to name them in an earlier step.
  • Add a real picture
  • Give them a name (if you haven’t already)
  • Give them an age and marital status
  • Pick a place where they live  
...and so on.
None of this is meant to be a definitive description. It's simply a way to make your customer avatar real. Then, when you target your marketing to your customer avatar, it will appeal to the living, breathing people in this group.
How do you decide on the details to use?
Think of a customer you already have who is the perfect example of this customer avatar. Pull the details from what you know about that person.
Finally, get inside the heads of the people you know who fit this profile and write a quote for them. What's a statement they would say?
An agency owner might say: "I surround myself with people smarter than me."
A freelancer might say: "If I don't do it, it doesn't get done."
Like the demographic information, creating a quote is meant to help you be able to picture this type of person. So, think generally about this group of people and choose a quote that captures the way they think and talk.

Find Out More Details About Your Avatar 

If you’re stuck on how to fill out this sheet, Google is a great source to learn more about your customer avatar and ensure your worksheet is fully fleshed out.
For instance, a Google search of your competition can help you learn more about your customer avatar. Here, type into the search bar: "[competitor] vs." Then let Google populate a list of competitors for that brand.
Let's assume you sell a help desk solution, Zendesk would be a competitor. You'd start by typing into Google: "Zendesk vs" and look at Google's suggestions for how to complete that search.
Repeat this process again and again to create a list of competitors. Then visit their websites, read their sales copy, and look at who they're targeting.
From what you see, you can glean all sorts of useful information about your customer avatar:
  • More sources of information
  • Objections you haven't thought about
  • Things they're striving for
  • Things they're trying to move away from
  • Who the decision maker might be (and possibly how to address them)
Use this information to fill any gaps in your worksheet.
TIP: If all your competitors are hitting the same pain point, it's definitely a pain point for your target audience. Add it to your Customer Avatar Worksheet.

Update Your Avatar

With that, you now have a finished Customer Avatar Worksheet that will allow you to get clear on who you’re selling to. But you’re not done yet…
This exercise shouldn't be a once-and-done project. It should be continuously updated with new data and realizations about your customers.
Be prepared to update your worksheet in these 2 circumstances:
  1. You've learned that an assumption about your customer avatar is wrong. Update it so your marketing is always on-target
  2. You're pivoting your business or product line. If you'll be marketing to a new customer avatar, create a new worksheet so you know how to market to this group
This will help keep your customer avatar current and relevant.

The Customer Avatar Completion Checklist

To assure you have hit all the steps check your avatar worksheet against the checklist here:

  • Up to three avatars of customers you WANT have been identified. 
  • The Customer Avatar Worksheet has been completed in full. 
  • The avatar has a name. 
  • Goals relevant to your product or service have been identified.
  • Sources of information that only your avatar would care about have been identified.
  • You have identified the pain points or challenges that your avatar faces that your product will help solve.
  • You have identified the pain points or challenges that your avatar faces that your product will help solve.
  • You understand the avatar's role in purchasing your product and their objections to your product.
  • You have identified the personal information that defines exactly who your avatar is.
  • There is a plan for updating the avatar if changes are needed. 

Let us know how it goes and share your customer avatars in the comments!