In the last article, we talked about defining your Target Audience and understanding the general demographic and the type of group your customers belong to. In this article, we’re going to get even more specific with your audience and drill down to putting a name and face to your customer. Your ideal customer is often referred to as your Avatar. Time for some new vocabulary lessons:

What is an avatar?

a person (singular) who embodies your perfect customer. It is the person who you are creating your business, your content, your services and your products for; the person whose specific problem you are solving. This is also sometimes referred to as a customer profile. Many businesses will name their avatar and give it an actual human face so they have a specific person they are speaking to.

Now that you know the general profile of your target audience, let’s get even more specific. Let’s put a name and a face to your ideal customer or client.

Side Note: I keep using the terms “customer” and “client” and now I wonder if you are confused about these two terms. Customers are people who buy products from you. Clients are people who contract with you for services. Now you know!

Using the profile sketch of your Target Audience you created in the last section, now it’s time to practice your character development skills (fiction writers already have this skill down pat!). It might help if you think about who your favorite client or customer is of all time – not a fake one, but a real person. Go through your past customer list if you need to. But pick out two or three of your favorites. Now sit down and write out their story. Write about that specific person. What is their name, age, marital status, do they have kids and pets and how much money do they make at their job? How often do they purchase products or services from you? What exactly do they buy? And don’t forget to think about what you don’t like about those customers and write that down too.

Now let’s get creative. Using those two or three descriptions, let’s combine them into a single person. Take the best parts of each person and create a new perfect customer. Go ahead, be creative. Have fun with this. Then give that person a fake name and if you want, go find a photo online that would represent their persona.

This fake person is your ideal client …. or often referred to as your avatar.

The best way to explain how to create an avatar is with some examples. John Lee Dumas, podcaster at Entrepreneur on Fire has a great example.

What an avatar is not:

“My avatar is anyone who likes the topic X and wants to learn more about it.”

A good avatar:

“My avatar is 25-35 years of age, works a full-time 9-5 job, has a family with 2 kids and finds themselves frustrated and feeling alone every day because they don’t know where to find the knowledge that I’m going to provide them about X.”

A really good avatar:

“My avatar is 32. Her name is Melissa, and she is a writer. She’s been wanting to start a blog for months now, but she doesn’t know where to start. She’s a good writer, but she could really use some help on how to structure and format a blog post – plus, she’s not really sure what exactly she wants to write about most of the time. She is working part-time and earning her graduate degree online, so she’s usually studying up on how she can start her blog on the weekends. Melissa lives with her boyfriend and they both want to travel more, hate their jobs and don’t make enough money.”
why is an avatar important?

Think about the last time you wrote an email to a friend. You opened a new message window and started by writing that person’s name at the top, then you just wrote naturally about what you wanted to say. You used your own voice and your words came naturally. It was easy to write to your friend because you know them well. You know their name, you know about their life, you know their kids and what they do for a living. You know what their problems are and what they struggle with each day. You KNOW your friend. So it’s easy to write directly to them without worrying about crafting every word or phrase just perfectly right.

This is exactly why you want to create an avatar of your ideal customer or client. You want the ability to speak to them naturally and to know what words to use so they understand what you’re saying and so that your words will resonate with them. You’re speaking to them human-to-human, friend-to-friend.

Now it’s time to do some homework. Go ahead and write a profile of your avatar, give that person a name and go find a photo of them. Knowing your exact customer profile will help you create branded materials that they will enjoy and understand how to consume. And in turn, it’ll make your message more effective and your business more successful.