Inbound marketing is the backbone of many businesses’ success in the digital age. But that success only comes easy if you can find your ideal customer. The question is how do you find this random buyer?
Believe it or not, finding buyers is not random at all. But to find the right buyers, you need to create and reinforce your buyer persona.
What is a Buyer Persona?
Also known as a customer avatar, HubSpot defines a buyer persona as a "semi-fictional depiction of your ideal client based on market research and real data about your current consumers." A buyer persona is a marketer’s gateway to understanding their target clients so it’s easy to find them.
If you have an ideal customer in mind, one that would be more profitable than any other, that’s your buyer persona.
Think about it this way. You have an awesome product or service, the only thing you need is a customer to purchase it. The question is, who is this customer? What are their problems, needs, and pain-points? Who did you have in mind when creating your product?
Creating a customer avatar helps you pinpoint exactly who your target audience is and streamlines your marketing efforts.
Customer avatars are an age old and highly-effective marketing technique. Without a customer avatar, brands struggle to find their ideal clients at the right time and on the right platform, and thus, struggle to achieve their sales targets.
In today’s competitive marketing arena, a customer avatar is vital for the success of any marketing campaign. Unfortunately, many business owners, coaches, founders, and entrepreneurs overlook the significance of creating one.
How Does a Buyer Persona Help my Business?
Because many business owners run their marketing campaigns without creating a buyer persona first, they often wonder how having one can help their business. A buyer persona helps you:
- Identify who you will market your products and services to
- Figure out who is most likely to buy your products and services
- Identify if you have any buyers
- Categorize the type of content to create and that will resonate with your audience
- Target your ideal customers with precision
- Inform your communication strategy, voice, and messaging
- Determine which marketing channels and platforms to use
- Identify where you ideal customers are active
- Determine the right time to sell to your ideal consumers
- Reduce your marketing budget
Why Knowing Your Ideal Customer is Important
Tons of brands miss out on growth opportunities because they don’t understand their ideal client's fully. They don’t have a clear picture of their ideal customer behaviors, characteristics, likes, or even pain points. They just know they have a great product or service and that someone should buy from them.
That’s why many businesses adapt a “spray and pray” technique. They run ads without a clearly-defined and highly-targeted target market and hope something will stick. As a result, they burn through their marketing budget only to end up frustrated and disappointed with the results, or lack thereof.
The good news is that you only need to understand 3 things to sell any product or service effectively and masterfully. These are:
- Who your ideal consumer is
- Where they spend their time
- Their challenges
Knowing the aspects above narrows down your marketing audience, which essentially means more bang for your buck as far as paid marketing is concerned. Without understanding the metrics above, chances are you’ll have a broad and ineffective target audience for your marketing campaigns.
The last thing you want is to try and attract everyone because you end up attracting no one, especially in terms of sale. If you speak everyone’s language, you attract fewer paying customers. On the other hand, speaking a specialized language, one that resonates with your target consumer, enables you to attract customers that are ready to buy from you.
That’s why creating a customer avatar is essential as it helps with targeting, creating, and launching profitable campaigns. In addition, it also entails evaluating and understanding the buyer journey, which helps you determine what content to serve your customer and at what point in their journey.
But even before we dive into creating a customer avatar, did you know that creating a negative customer avatar first could help you determine your buyer persona faster and more accurately?
I know what you’re thinking …
What is a Negative Buyer Persona?
A buyer persona is your ideal customer. A negative buyer persona, on the other hand, is a representation of the people you DON’T want to target as your customers. Is creating a negative buyer persona helpful? Absolutely!
It’s an easier and more efficient way of narrowing down who you want to sell to instead. If you’ve ever had a customer you didn’t like dealing with or who gave you a hard time, they could feature as a negative buyer persona.
Make a list of characteristics you don’t want in a customer. The demographics, their interests, and their personalities. The goal is to figure out the traits of consumers who fall out of your target market so you can maximize your advertising budget by targeting those who fall within your ideal client’s profile.
Finally, we’ve come to the most important part …
How to Create a Customer Avatar
With a customer avatar at your disposal, you no longer jump right into creating and deploying ads. Before you go into doing all the fun marketing stuff like writing copy and creating landing pages, having a precise customer avatar assures you a high ROI.
While it is not absolutely necessary, you may need to reach out to past customers and buyers to really dial down on why they buy from you and add that to your buyer persona. Without further ado, lets get into the steps to create a customer avatar.
Step #1: Name Your Buyer Persona
Naming your buyer persona creates an easy reference point, more so if you’re working as a team. It’s easier to remember and relate to a name. Start with a name like Life Founder Allison or Director Allen.
For illustration purposes, let’s assume you’re a business coach. Some of your products might be courses and classes to support business owners who want to streamline their operations. Maybe you’re offering coaching programs, certificates, or even exams.
In this case your customers could be founders, CEOs and other c-suite executives. It might be that your ideal customers are employees looking to refine their management and leadership skills. Are you getting where I’m headed? From the illustration above, you would need to create three customer avatars.
One for C-suite executives and another for regular employees. Your product or services will determine how many customer avatars you create based on who you identify as your target audience.
Step #2. Identify Their Goals and Values
Too often, entrepreneurs fail to separate their customers' goals and values from their own. When you’re listing your customers goals and values, be sure not to project your own onto your ideal customers. Starting with goals, brainstorm your ideal customers’ goals and how your product or service can help them realize those goals.
Remember our Founder Allison? Think about her “want” statements. What could they be? Identifying these will clear up her goals. For instance, she might be seekinig to:
- Increase her businesses sales
- Boost her team’s productivity
- Connect with influencers in a specific industry
Once you understand what your audiences’ goal is, make a list of which of these goals or problems your company can solve. If you have existing customers, ask for their feedback to understand why they buy from you. Alternatively, create forms that your target audience can fill out to help you learn more about them.
Better yet, head over to social media and listen to what your target audience is talking about then identify how you can help them achieve their goals. Find out what questions they’re asking and the ideas they’re sharing. The information you gather will give you an edge and help you customize your product to fit your audience’s needs.
Step #3. Identify Your Target Demographic
When creating a customer avatar, it’s essential that you identify your target demographic and their psychographics. These two give you varied insight. For starters, demographic helps you identify who your customer is, while psychographics helps you figure out why they buy your products or service.
Both of these are crucial if you want to make your offerings irresistible to your target audience. When it comes to your customer’s demographics, here is what you need to identify:
- Their age and gender
- Job status and income
- Habits and hobbies
And anything else you deem relevant for your business to know to serve your customers better. As for psychographics, that will help you get inside the heads of your audience and understand why they make specific choices. Once you have the demographic and psychographics right, you’ll be able to understand the best marketing approach and strategy to use to respond to emerging consumer demands.
In addition to identifying your customer demographic, it’s essential you figure out where on social media they spend most of their time. Is it on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Quora, etc?
Step #4: Identify Your Audience’s Challenges
One of the most crucial aspects you should understand about your target audience is their pain points and challenges. What are they struggling with?
Knowing you audience’s goals is essential, but so is identifying the obstacles they face. Granted, your support team might identify your customers challenges faster as most customers tend to share their issues with the support team as they look for solutions. However, not everyone will go to your support with their problems.
It’s up to you to be proactive and find out your customers' challenges even before they come to you. Instead of waiting for your customers to tell you what they are struggling with, take the steps to find out from the get go. That way, even the products and services you create are customer-centric, which makes them more likely to buy.
How do you find out what problems your customers have?
- Create regular customer surveys to collect feedback from your customers. For the best results, include some questions that encourage open-ended answers.
- Organize any feedback from customers in a logical order to help inform business decisions.
- Pay attention to customer queries. It’s highly likely that something one customer is struggling with is creating the same problem for multiple others.
- Encourage your customers to give you feedback on your website or a review on Google.
The feedback you get with any or all of the strategies above will help you identify the problems you customers have and the solutions they’re looking for. If your product is not getting the best response, feedback from customers will help you improve your offer or create new and improved offerings.
How to Use Your Customer Avatar in Your Marketing
We’re now at a fundamental point in every business - understanding how to reach potential customers online. It’s something that many businesses, brands, and coaches struggle with, but it shouldn’t be hard if you have a customer avatar to guide you.
A customer avatar is like the gateway to your marketing material. It’s the yardstick you’ll use to identify what content will resonate with your audience and that will help you launch highly-targeted marketing campaigns.
If you’re writing content for your website or social media, you can write answers to address your avatar’s most pressing questions. Remember, even if you’re in one niche, chances are your customers won’t all have the same characteristics.
Which means you’ll have to create more than one customer avatar to cover the whole spectrum of your customer demographic, like, interests, and needs. At its core, creating a customer avatar is about three things – learning how to send:
The Right Message
The Right Audience
The Right Time
Today’s marketing landscape is complicated and needs strategic solutions to help your brand cut through the noise and stand out. Creating a customer avatar helps you stay on top of the game as it allows you to create effective copy that “speaks” to your target audience.
However, for you customer avatars to help you fast-track your business growth, they need to be based on customer data and market research. Following the tips in this guide will help you gather the research and data you need to create an ideal customer avatar