The most overrated advice surrounding entrepreneurship is that people should follow their passions. Everyone seems to think that their passion is well suited to become a profitable business. This could not be further from the truth. Not everything you are passionate about could or should become a profitable and sustainable business.
If you want to start or scale a business, the most overlooked step is creating your customer avatar. What’s that? A customer avatar is essentially a detailed description of your ideal client. Most people give this concept the side eye and think it’s unnecessary since obviously their ideal client is anyone who is willing to purchase their product.
Marketing to Everyone
I totally get it, you want anyone with money and a pulse to purchase your product. Just for fun, let’s play out that marketing scenario. Your totally amazing for everyone product is good for moms, grandpas, single people, people on the brink of poverty, someone who owns seventeen rental properties, a corporate executive, the receptionist at your auto mechanics, and your child’s teacher. Where are you going to advertise your product so that all those kinds of people will see it?
Furthermore, what kind of ad campaign will make all those types of people walk away from your advertisement thinking, yes that product solves my problem? It’s impossible, no ad is so magical that it can appeal to everyone. If you attempt to be the one size fits all problem solution, don’t be shocked when the response you get is crickets. Marketing to everyone is marketing to no one.
Why Create a Customer Avatar?
Taking the time to create your ideal customer avatar will save time, money, and frustration. Additionally, all your efforts become more effective thereby improving your results.
If a woman is in need of a tampon and asks a restroom full of women if anyone can spare one, she is much less likely to be given the necessary item. If instead that woman in need of a tampon went and asked women individually if they had a tampon she could have, her chances of being given one increase. The reason for this is diffusion of responsibility. When many people are asked to respond to a request, everyone assumes someone else will step up. I tell you this because a one size fits all marketing strategy will leave everyone thinking you must be the solution for someone else’s problem because it doesn’t really hit their situation head on.
From a cost of advertising perspective alone, attempting to communicate with everyone would cost a fortune. Spreading your budget thin among every form of media will crash and burn your entire marketing plan.
How to Create a Customer Avatar
In order to create an effective customer avatar you need to envision one specific person. Now I don’t mean one type of person, like a soccer mom, I mean Susan Elizabeth Jones the soccer mom. You should be creating an individual character that you can sit across the table from and speak to directly about your product or service.
- Name your avatar
- Give them a birthday and age
- What is their relationship status?
- Who are their primary relationships in life?
- Do they have children? If so, what are their ages?
- Where do they live?
- What do they do to earn a living?
- What do they wish they were doing for a living?
- How do they spend their time?
- How much education do they have?
- What are their life goals?
- Are they religious?
- What political beliefs do they hold?
- What are their values?
- What forms of media do they consume?
- What apps do they use?
- What are they struggling with?
- Why would they want your product?
- What would be their resistance to purchasing your product?
- Who else is involved in their purchasing decisions?
The best customer avatars are ultra specific. Instead of crafting your presence on social media or your blog or your paid advertising campaigns to generally target moms, pretend you are speaking to Susan Elizabeth Jones, your ideal client.
Results vs Optimal Results
Many new or existing business owners will learn about the concept of customer avatars and ultimately decide not to take the time to create their ideal client persona.
New businesses might claim they can’t make an avatar because they don’t know who their ideal client is yet. If you are a new business and don’t know who your ideal client is, you’ve got some major systemic issues. How will you ever know if you can charge $50 for that blanket or $300 for that blanket if you don’t know who will be buying the blanket? Successful businesses become that way because they create products their ideal clients want at a price their ideal client is willing to pay.
Existing businesses who don’t have an ideal client avatar will likely say it’s obviously not necessary since they have clients buying their products already. Just because someone is buying your product does not mean your marketing is effective, your business is operating profitably, or there is sustainable growth to ensure the success of the business. Some of the people buying your product might be spending more than they want to spend on a product that only solves half their problem. Meanwhile, other clients who are experiencing phenomenal results with your product would pay three times a much. You could lose 66% of your clients (eliminating tons of headaches), raise the prices on the people who are your super fans, and still make exactly the same amount of money. And better yet, you could discover more about those clients who would pay triple and market to only other clients like them to increase your client base and scale your revenue.
Power of the Customer Avatar
Knowing your client backwards and forwards and upside down isn’t just about saving money on your marketing campaigns. Being in tune with your ideal customer allows you to serve them the products they need, not just the products you feel like creating. You can love and be passionate about your business while still creating a profitable and sustainable business.