Do you know who your ideal customer is? Many business owners have never given serious thought to this question. But without addressing it how can you market your product or service to anyone?
What’s a customer profile or avatar?
A customer avatar, or buying persona, is essentially a profile of the perfect customer or client. When you understand who your ideal customer is, what they look like, their habits, interests, challenges, aspirations, in fact everything about them, you’ll be much more effective in marketing to them.
But I Sell To Everyone!
You may think that your potential customer could be anyone and everyone, which on the face of it sounds like a great situation to be in. But when it comes to marketing your product or service, you need to know ‘who’ you are talking to.
Without this it becomes incredibly difficult to target your marketing in any strategic way, and therefore you end up having to use a scattergun technique and hope something sticks.
Instead, I would recommend identifying key buyer personas. For some businesses, this might be one or two, whereas for others you might have many more. To get started, think about existing customers or clients. Who do you have that you would like more versions of?
[Tweet “Marketing to everyone will not speak to anyone.”]
Here are 11 key questions to ask to create a customer avatar
- Gender – even if your product is aimed at either sex or one specific gender, who actually makes the purchasing decisions?
- Age – again, a product or service might be for a particular age group, but not necessarily bought by them e.g. children’s products.
- Location – targeting a particular region/s will make your marketing activities more effective. Waitrose, for example, has stores across much of the country but these are in are very specific locations and therefore their marketing is not targeted at all areas of the UK.
- Education – Understanding someone’s intellect will help you communicate with them effectively. How do they process information? Do they want statistics and models to make a buying decision? Or, will these make your product or service appear inaccessible to them?
- Income – how much money someone has will obviously influence their buying habits, similarly, if you operate in a B2B environment the size of your client companies and their turnover will be part of your customer avatar.
- Occupation – for B2C businesses understanding what your customers do can help inform your marketing, do they have a stressful job and therefore will be receptive to products that will help them relax? For the B2B companies, you need to identify the person who will engage with your business, not necessarily the Managing Director. With this information, you can better understand how your product or service will help them, as well as their company.
- Interests – while interests might be relevant because your business services them, they’re also useful because they help you communicate better with your customers. It allows you to talk to your customers in a language they understand, using references that will resonate strongly with them. Consider everything from hobbies and leisure activities, what they watch on TV, what they like to eat, what music they listen to – anything that can get you closer to them.
- Motivations – what makes your target customer get out of bed in the morning? Understanding what drives them, their values and goals will help you align your offering with these aspirations.
- Challenges – similarly, and especially if you provide a solution to a particular issue, you should also identify the challenges they face. These can range from significant ‘problems’ such as financial issues to seemingly more minor problems like finding the time to shop. However, whatever the scale of the challenge these should be very important to you as they allow you to present a solution, whether that’s affordable products, the convenience of online shopping or any other factor that can influence buying decisions.
- Why do they buy your products? Taking into account all the points above, you should try to explain exactly why customers buy your product or service. Cost, quality, resell value, functionality, flexibility, convenience, localism, customer service, aftercare, brand awareness etc. can all come into this. You need to know what it is that makes people choose to do business with you.
- Shopping habits – what other products or services does your ideal customer buy? Are they a Waitrose shopper or an Aldi regular? What kind of car do they drive? Where do they go on holiday? How often have they moved house in the last 10 years?
With a detailed customer avatar you can now target your marketing a lot more efficiently. Instead of talking to ‘anyone’ you can start addressing ‘someone’. You’ll be able to talk to them in a language they understand, using platforms that they frequent, and address the specific issues or beliefs they have.
Before you go any further though, it is essential that you get all the stakeholders in your business to sign off your customer avatars. Are they accurate reflections of your company’s target audience? Do other members of your team agree with your buyer persona? If not you need to find out why…
Would you like a free infographic of your customer avatar? We have a short questionnaire designed to get to the bottom of who your customer avatar is. Answer the questions and we’ll email you a unique infographic that you can use as visual reminder of who you are marketing to. Click here for your free customer avatar infographic.