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How to Create a Customer Avatar or Persona

Our branding and marketing efforts are only as effective as our understanding of our audience. The more you can understand your potential customers’ needs and desires when selling a product or providing a service, the more effective your digital marketing campaigns will be.

That's why, when you're creating or improving your website, it's important that you have a clearly defined customer avatar (also known as an ideal customer persona). Creating a customer avatar is the best way to make sure you are promoting your products or services in a way which will resonate with your potential customers.

What is a Customer Avatar?

A customer avatar or customer persona is a detailed profile of your ideal customer.

When creating your customer avatar you’ll focus on one person and outline everything about them such as their age, their habits, what interests them and what frustrates them, their family situation, what they earn, where they shop, etc. 

By doing this you’ll gain a much greater understanding of who you are actually marketing to.

But surely everyone is my customer?

That sounds great but it’s unrealistic to try to market to absolutely everyone. Just as it pays to niche your business, it’s in your best interests to get really clear and precise as to who your ideal customer is. You can then tailor your website, online advertising, and other marketing materials so that they speak directly to this person and address their specific needs.

This will greatly increase the chances of your website turning a visitor into a warm lead because it means they are more likely to land on your site and think “This is exactly what I need”, rather than “This could be an option”.

Your ideal customer avatar (ideal being the key word here) is someone you want to sell to because they’re the type of person who is most likely to become a loyal, repeat buyer. If you are unclear what your ideal customer looks like, or you try to create a very generic customer persona, you risk your marketing message being ineffective, unclear or, even worse, completely irrelevant.

In fact, one of the most common marketing errors made in digital marketing is broad targeting. This can lead to:

  1. Companies overspending on their advertising, trying to reach everyone and not getting the best ROI
  2. Businesses trying to appeal to everyone and ending up attracting no one

You can avoid these risks altogether by creating an ideal customer avatar!

customer avatar - How to Create a Customer Avatar or Persona

Who Needs a Customer Avatar?

Put simply, all businesses need a customer avatar.

However, it is small and medium businesses that will benefit the most from having their ideal customer persona(s) clearly defined. This is because SMEs tend to have limited resources and so they need to make sure their marketing initiatives are time-efficient and cost-effective. Having a customer avatar makes it much easier to focus your marketing efforts so as to achieve these two goals.

So it’s safe to say that if you’re a mortgage broker, IFA, or other small business in the financial services sector that is trying to build brand authority, generate more leads and boost sales, then it is vital that you define who your ideal customer is.

Why is a Customer Avatar Really Important?

A customer avatar is really important and here’s why.

An ideal customer avatar will streamline your business entirely, directing the efforts of your team efficiently as they all combine their focus on creating a website, developing a product and providing a service for the same customer.

Let’s break this down a little and look at how having a well-defined customer avatar will improve some key aspects of your digital marketing strategy.

User Experience

Creating an ideal customer avatar will enable you to deliver the greatest user experience from beginning to end. By knowing and understanding your ideal customer, you increase the possibility of converting your website visitors into clients. If you then combine this with a great purchase experience, you will be helping to guarantee that your ideal client becomes a repeat customer and provides you with a handful of referrals and recommendations.

Paid Traffic

Having a detailed customer avatar gives your ads on Google, Facebook and LinkedIn the opportunity to perform to their optimum. Understanding what does and doesn’t make your ideal customer tick allows you to target them precisely and effectively with your ad copy; this will increase your click through rate (CTR), and thus improve the ROI you get from your advertising spend. And, with Facebook Ads in particular, a clear idea of your ideal customer's interests, relationship status, income, etc means you can make the best use of all the targeting options offered by the advertising platform.

Content Marketing

Identifying your ideal customer avatar, getting to understand their habits, their interests, and what frustrates them will help you to develop effective content for your website that solves their problems and addresses their needs. In turn, you’ll be making your brand stand out as the only choice for them.

Have I convinced you of the value of creating a customer avatar? Great! Let’s get started on doing it then. 

How to Create Your Ideal Customer Avatar

The best way to begin creating an ideal customer persona is by writing out a series of questions that will help you to completely understand who your ideal customer is. You should break these questions down into categories, like this:

Demographics

Let’s go back to basics and start by deciding your avatar’s age, gender, education, occupation, income, location and marital status. Really try to understand his/her background.

Job title

Now that you understand the makings of your customer avatar, explore what they do for a living. What's their job title? And what do they actually do in their job? How do they influence their work environment? What motivates them at work? What problems or frustrations do they experience in their role?

Psychographics

Think about the personality of your ideal customer avatar and how their values, opinions, interests and attitudes shape their personality. Be thoughtful when you are answering these questions because they will lead you onto your next, more complex, series of questioning.

Goals, challenges and frustrations

What motivates your ideal customer? What are their ambitions? Do they want more money? More time with their family? A better future for their children? A bigger house? A faster car? Once you start answering this level of question you will really have brought your avatar to life!

Don’t stop there. Make it real and name your avatar. Let’s call him Ambitious Adam.

You now know who Adam is, how he got to where he is, what he does, how and why he does it. And you've begun to understand what Adam wants to do next and what's stopping him. You will answer questions like: what are Adam’s primary goals? What is standing in the way of him accomplishing them? What keeps Adam up at night?

Once you have all of this recorded you need to ask yourself how you can help in all of this. And that’s where your marketing strategies will stem from.

You’ve done it! You have created your first customer avatar!

customer avatar - How to Create a Customer Avatar or Persona

Free Customer Avatar Template

To help you hit the ground running, I have created my very own, free, downloadable, customer avatar template that contains all the essential questions you will need to answer to understand your ideal customer avatar. 

To get instant access to your ideal customer persona template, as well as regular tips to help you market to your customer avatar, just fill in this form: 

If you would like feedback on your customer avatar, post it in the comments section for this article on Facebook and ask for feedback from our community.

Alternatively, schedule a free, no-obligation strategy call with me and we can discuss your ideal customer persona in more detail and start thinking about the best way to get your business in front of them.

About the Author David Miles

As a digital marketing consultant, author and trainer, I specialise in helping businesses in the financial services sector use the internet to get more enquiries and increase profits.

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