Customer Avatar Checklist: The Definitive Guide
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Marketing budgets are finite, and it’s important to spend your money where it’s going to be most effective. You know this, and it’s easy to say, but you’re going to need the right tools to put that into action.
That’s where customer avatars come in.
An avatar is an excellent way to illustrate a customer profile. It also gives you something on which to focus your strategy.
If you’re to be a successful marketer, you need to be a great communicator. Which means you need to know and figure out who you’re trying to reach.
That’s why putting a ‘real’ personality in front of an excellent communicator works so well.
Avatars and Scalable Companies
Marketing to a customer avatar is like getting to know a customer over coffee.
In the past, you may have done far more of that sort of thing. Today, it’s impossible to get to know all your prospects on an individual basis.
As a marketer, you’re operating on a global basis. Which means you will be addressing larger and larger numbers of faceless customers. You may already be selling to people on the other side of the world.
As a company scales, avatars become even more helpful.
Putting a ‘human’ face to your customer base enables your team to identify the needs of your market. Avatars can help to put things into a social context.
In this customer avatar checklist, we’re going to look a bit at why avatars are a successful marketing tool. We’ll also look at some ways you can go about drawing up your customer avatar.
We’ll examine whether you can ever have too many customer avatars for your business.
Plus, we’ll think about how to start developing avatars if it’s a foreign or new concept to you.
Start for Success – Product Development for Avatars
It’s vital for you to recognize the benefits that avatars bring to the table – the things you can’t get from data alone.
Look at it this way. You might already know that your customer base is male and aged 24 – 36, but do you know what floats their boats?
Have you got any idea what their problems are, day to day?
The more you can get into the head of a potential customer, the more you can work out what products to try selling them. We all know that if you get that part right, your chances of closing a sale go skyward. Sales are more natural if you’re selling a product that improves the life of the person who’s buying.
Demographic knowledge is always essential, but it’s broad. The beauty of an avatar is that you can use data from all sorts of sources to build it.
You can look at age and geographic data, all day long. The information is available if you want to pay for it. But, combining that data with your avatar will be huge for your business.
You can look at user-generated content from websites and social media.
Don’t forget to also examine traits of customers that you know.
Getting to Know You
Everything you do developing the character of your avatar will be useful. You’ll be building up a better and more human personality that represents an area of your customer base.
All information is useful when you’re building up a picture of your avatar.
What problems they need to have solved for them, what they enjoy and hate, and what they’re very likely to buy.
Basing your marketing on a well-constructed avatar will boost your sales figures. A product tailored to a specific character is going to be a more successful product every time.
A three-dimensional ‘real’ human is a great place to start developing products to sell.
Advertising to Avatars – Know Where They Go
An avatar will provide information that makes it easy for prospects to “get” your brand.
An avatar will also enable you to develop products and services your prospects want to buy.
This knowledge extends to creating advertising and marketing, and where to place advertising.
Putting your advertising under the right noses is a massive part of the battle to make it useful. Demographics can narrow that down for you and give you a broad knowledge of the reasons people are there.
Where avatars perform better is in narrowing that down further. Avatars, done right, can narrow it down way further.
Following a customer avatar checklist also give you a better chance of getting advertising placement right. You won’t need to rely on the demographic data of vendors who want you to buy their advertising space or time. Their figures are secondhand, and often manipulated and unreliable information.
Avatars are a way to develop your ideas about who your customer is and where you need to advertise to reach them.
Message Matching – Telling Avatars What They Want to Hear
You should tailor the tone and style of your marketing material to your customer avatars. Doing this makes marketing as close to writing a personal note to all your customers at once as it’s ever going to be.
You are way more likely to both find and communicate with your customers when you have an avatar.
It will help you address your prospects in a more personal way. No more shooting in the dark at blurry fast targets.
Your message is where you’re going to experience the most improvement though.
You’ll know how to speak to that market in a way they like. If you get it right – via a medium they enjoy and engage with, in a tone they love.
How Many Avatars are Appropriate for Your Business?
In some ways, this is a piece of string question, and the answer is that it’s going to vary from business to business. A large part of what will drive the need for many avatars is how many product lines your company sells.
You might be selling many products or services within one broad technical niche. For example, one of your products might sell well to small businesses. A second for startups hoping for massive and rapid growth. Another may be more suitable for established, larger companies.
Your small business prospects might be selling dress alterations out of a back room at home. Your start-up prospects may be selling a Software as a Service product while holding down a job at a bank.
For the small business prospects, you’ll need an avatar that’s interested in:
- parenting young children
- online training
- healthy eating habit
Your startup avatar might be a risk taker who loves:
- downhill mountain biking
- the latest tech
- local incubators
- startup related press and web content
Your company man avatar could have one eye on:
- gated retirement communities
- Rotary Club
- and more golf
Anyway, you get the picture.
The more product lines you have, and the more markets you’re serving, the more avatars you’re going to need.
You may also need more than one avatar for a single product if it crosses lots of demographic borders.
The basic principle remains the same. Each avatar you create will allow you to make decisions that better enable you to sell a product or service.
Through your avatars, you’ll learn to develop a product to:
- make it more attractive
- place marketing material where it achieves the highest return on investment
- speak in the best tone that you can for every one of your customer types
Creating an Avatar – Where to Start?
A great approach to customer avatar creation is to build with layers. Start simple, then add more layers until you’re looking at a living person.
Following this customer avatar checklist will help you take care of this necessary business.
The process is more straightforward when carried out in a gradual sequential manner. That allows the avatar to take shape as you add more ingredients to the pot.
It is an excellent idea to make a mental note to revisit each earlier step in the process as your avatar matures.
You may well find that as you learn more about your avatar, you’ll change elements in it. For this reason, you should work your way through all the steps again from the beginning.
You’re developing a character here. It’s okay to take your time with it.
So, what’s the first step or layer in development using a customer avatar checklist? Let’s think about the basics.
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The Avatar Basics
The best way to get started with your avatar traits is to ditch the tech.
Put down your laptop, phone or tablet and get out a big sheet of plain paper, and the all-important colored pens.
We’re going back to basics in more ways than one here (and you can always make a PDF of this later).
There’s no hard and fast rule here, and it’s fine to jump around and add where it feels right to add. So, take a deep breath – you’re about to create an avatar.
Who is this person?
- What gender are they?
- What’s their name (yes, give them a name)?
- What is their age?
- Where do they live?
- Is the person married or unattached?
- Are they in a causal relationship?
- Do they have children?
- What’s their job?
- Where do they work?
- Are they self-employed?
- Are they college educated?
- If so, what type of degree did they get?
- Did they graduate high school?
- Do they own or rent?
- Apartment or house?
- Do they outright own a car?
- Did they finance?
- Is it new?
- Or a bashed up old Ford?
- Drink alcohol?
- Eat fast food or quinoa?
Where does your avatar grocery shop?
- Always online?
- At the local corner store every night?
- A weekly shop at the supermarket?
Start by making some headings in the center of your page and working outwards towards the edges. Add and subtract when you see fit, and when the information you’re figuring out decides so.
The avatar basics tell you who your person is. And you’ll find that they’ll begin to give you clues about what matters to them. Like what drives them and their buying decisions. What they enjoy, where they go to enjoy it – online and in the real world.
What are Your Avatar’s Goals and Problems?
Now that you’ve started to figure out who this character is, let’s begin to delve a bit deeper into the mind of your avatar.
What are My Avatar’s Problems?
- What issues are they likely to face every day?
- If they have a family, what issues are they affected by in their lives?
- What impedes their business or career growth?
- Does your avatar need training?
- Are they having trouble gaining investment?
- Do they feel that a lack of tertiary education is slowing them down?
- Are they affected by relationship issues?
- Does one or more of their children have a physical or learning difficulty?
- Do they lack or brim with confidence?
- Are they outgoing or an introvert?
- How full is their circle of friends?
- Do they have enough savings?
- Are they stuck dead-end renting when they’re desperate to get on the property ladder?
- Do they need a solid retirement plan?
- What sort of health challenges are they likely facing?
- Are they likely to work out or jog?
- How much of an influence on their buying confidence is health likely to be?
Customer Avatar Checklist: What are my avatar’s goals?
- Where are they and where do they want to get?
- What products will help them get there?
- Where are they and what positions do, they aspire to become or achieve?
- Are they interested in career development within their field?
- How skilled or unskilled are they?
- Is their employment type threatened or likely to change?
Emotional and Personal Goals?
- How do they wish to develop and what makes them happy or unhappy?
- Are they closed to new things, or quick to embrace them?
- What issues are they looking to get over or recover from recently?
- What products might help them achieve that?
The most critical thing the basics will lead you to is what a potential customer’s fears are going to be. That information is pure gold to your business.
Why Might This Guy or Gal Say No?
If their buying decision is a work-related one, then who is their boss? You’re looking to get to a place where your avatar answers these questions for you. You don’t want to find out what he or she likes; you want to find out about what scares them and influences them not to buy.
Also, try to work out where on the curve your avatar sits on how early they’re likely to adopt innovative products.
Where Does Your Avatar Get Their Information?
What does your avatar read, and what are they’re likely to do for recreation? What types of people they’re destined to be around at work? Also, who are their heroes or trusted personalities in the media?
List the books, magazines, newspapers, and websites that you imagine they would read.
- where their interests are going to take them in the real world
- the type of people they’re likely to meet
- how those environments are likely to influence their view of your products
- who are the writers, speakers, and influencers that affect them?
- what sort of ‘word of mouth’ are they likely to encounter
- how well informed will that be?
- Are they more likely to be confident enough to rely on their informed opinions and judgments?
This step is about figuring out what sort of people your avatar listens to on a regular basis. As well as what degree they’re likely to heed that information.
It’s also going to be a tested way of finding out the type of media source they trust and view.
Customer Avatar Checklist Recap:
- Personalities, writers, social media influencers, journalists
- What sort of work colleagues do they spend time with daily?
- Are they likely influenced by word of mouth? Or will they trust their judgment?
- Where does your avatar go in the real world?
Customer Avatars – Making Them Come to You
The idea is to find out as much about your avatar as possible, and don’t be afraid to develop a few avatars if you need them. The more effort you put into avatar development, the better off you’ll be. Find out what their challenges and possible objections are. What causes your avatar problems and how can you fix that? Where do you need to be to communicate with your avatar?
There are no golden rules for building up the layers that produce your customer avatars.
If you start with the basics and work outwards, you will get a close representation of your prospects.
That information will be gold to your business and why we made this customer avatar checklist available to you.