To sell more of your product, reach a bigger audience, and grow your list, the single most effective thing you can learn is how to make a Customer Avatar. Having a good Customer Avatar will give you a near-superhuman ability to communicate powerfully with the people who are most likely to become your customers.
Note: A Customer Avatar is also often called an Ideal Client Profile, or a Buyer Persona. In this article I will use the term ‘Customer Avatar’ because it sounds much cooler.
Let’s face it: not every customer is right for your business. Your message can resonate really well with some types of people, but not with all of them.
Having a Customer Avatar allows you to identify the specific characteristics of people who like to buy what you’re selling. You can make your own Customer Avatars by following these 5 simple steps:
Customer Avatar Step 1
Find a template
A Customer Avatar Template is a document with blank spaces for you to fill in the defining characteristics of your ideal client. These templates are very useful, and I recommend you try a few different ones. You might end up liking one, but then find that another has better questions, or a better layout.
Here are three places to find Customer Avatar Templates:
If you use iWork’s Pages, you can use our own template for making Customer Avatars here:
Customer Avatar Step 2
Prepare your questions
There are lots (and lots) of questions you can ask while building your Customer Avatar. Read through the links above, and you’ll find dozens to choose from. (Be sure and use the “But no one else would” trick in the Digital Marketer post.)
We recommend you read through the templates and articles above, and collect a list of questions that you will ask about each one of Customer Avatars.
Some of them will be redundant, and that’s okay. Asking the same questions over and over forces your brain to dig deeper, to look past superficial answers, and discover something new. Something clear. Something definitive. That’s what you’re looking for with these questions, is tiny little characteristics that define this type of person.
Developing that list of questions will make you think how to get into your customers’ minds, and that’s a useful exercise. Don’t skip it. If you’d like to see the questions we use with our clients, try using these forms:
Customer Avatar Step 3
Set the space to work
What you are planning to do is some of the most fundamental, introspective work you will undertake this year. This work could have dramatic positive results for your business. So, don’t throw it together on your lunch hour. Set the space. Decide for yourself:
- Where will you physically do this work? At your normal desk, or somewhere else?
- What time of day is best for you to do it?
- What kind of music, beverages, and/or snacks do you want to have available?
- Would it be better to do this alone, or with a partner?
- Will you print the templates, and fill them out by hand? Or type your answers into a computer?
- What day will you do this work?
Answer these questions thoughtfully. That’s what this exercise is, after all – it’s a series of questions answered thoughtfully. Start off right by asking yourself how to best set yourself up for success.
Customer Avatar Step 4
Answer the questions
You’re at the appointed time and place. You have all of your materials. The rest of the world is put on pause for an hour or more. Do the work.
While you are here, think of your best customers. Think of who they are, why they came to you, and in a hazy, non-distinct way, think about the type of person that person is like. Think about someone famous that you would love to work with. Don’t define these people in your work, define the group to which these people belong.
Customer Avatar Step 5
Edit and review with friends
Your first draft of your Customer Avatars are just that – your first draft. Show them to colleagues, friends, and even competitors, and ask them for feedback. You will likely have a few surprising responses that make you say, “I can’t believe I didn’t think of that!” This feedback is just as important as the work you put into it, and you can see dramatically positive results in your business if you are open to receiving feedback from others.
Revise your Customer Avatars regularly. As you grow with your business, you will learn more about the people you serve. Incorporate that knowledge into these foundational documents, and your business will continue to improve.
Use the DIY Customer Avatar Creation Kit
If you’d like a step-by-step guided process to make your own Customer Avatars, try the DIY Customer Avatar Creation Kit: