The most powerful content and the most powerful marketing messages really speak to an individual and it starts by having a really clear vision and understanding of who our ideal prospect avatar is.
The first step in creating our content is to do our avatar development. The goal of creating an avatar is to really get inside of the head of our ideal prospect. By the time we’re done with this exercise, we want to feel like we know them really well and we want to be able to identify an individual. This means we’ll know the demographic makeup and the psychographics of this person. Find an image of an actual person and use that in your avatar worksheet so that you can visualize who this person really is. And in doing so, we want to learn to use language that speaks directly to them and addresses them uniquely.
The most powerful content, the most powerful marketing messages really speak to an individual and that’s what we want to be able to do with our content and it starts by having a really clear vision and understanding of who our ideal prospect avatar is.
We’re going to answer six questions through avatar development;
1. Who are they?
2. What are their goals/desires?
3. What are their problems or challenges?
4. What are their needs?
5. What are their objections?
6. Where can you find them?
Where Does Your Avatar Live and What Type of Needs Do They Have
And when I say where can you find them I don’t just mean geography, although that is important, but I also mean; where online do they hang out, what sites do they like. This is the type of information that we can use to create our Facebook targeting and what I like to do is make sure that it’s clear the distinction between what are their problems and what are their needs. A problem given example; I could say that a problem is I have a very limited budget. In need is that I need to be able to demonstrate an ROI for our budget committee to be able to sign off on any advertising program, I need to be able to demonstrate clear measurable ROI. So just understanding the difference between those two and making sure that you clearly develop both of those; I see a lot of avatar worksheets that don’t include needs, and needs can be really, really important thing to understand particularly in the business-to-business buying decision, because in almost all cases the person who’s making a decision about buying has specific needs that they have to make sure that whatever their investing in meets and that can usually come from some sort of third-party, they may have their Board of Directors they have to answer to or just other employees on their team that have certain requirements; boss that have certain requirements on them.
Defining the Avatar’s Specific Needs
Being really clear as to what their needs are again at business-to-business buying decision can be very important. On our avatar development, we’re going to identify who they are, what their goals and desires are, what their problems, what their needs, what are their objections and where can we find.
There are all kinds of different avatar worksheets out there, I personally like to use something like this just a simple slide where again I’ll find an image of the person that I think I’m dealing with and I usually do a male version and a female version if it’s a business role, if I’m selling something to a consumer that’s very specifically for a man or woman and I’ll just do one of the other, but for a business role, I’ll come up with a man and a woman, and just to help me really visualize who this person is, usually I’ll give them a name as well, in this case experience store customer avatar, so this is an actual avatar that we created for a business of ours that we’re developing called the experience store, and this is a VP of sales, 52 years old, VP of sales incentives at a fortune of 500 corporation, has worked at major corporations her entire year, takes her career very seriously and very high-energy, sociable and sales oriented, responsible for a very large incentive budget, has to spend her budget to keep it, needs to show clear ROI on incentive spending, is very numbers driven, want sales incentives that are exciting to her sales team, lives in a mansion in St. Louis suburbs, member of prestigious country club and we will continue going on with detailing and documenting who this avatar is as we learn more and more about this person.
The ideas we want to get here is detailed of an understanding as possible of who this person is and again what are their desires, goals, challenges, problems, needs, all those things so that we can really get in their head and really understand who this person is.
Download a sample customer Avatar here to help you create avatars for your business.
This is one of the most valuable exercises I think you can possibly do in any business to understand exactly who it is that you’re selling to so that you make sure that your products and services and the messaging around those products and services, the offers that you’re making all really speak to that person, because when you do that well everything comes much easier.
This is again for the same business an additional avatar that we’re selling to, and I think it’s really important to see that there are two here for the same business that we’re selling to. This is a 52-year-old VP of sales, has worked in corporate environments her entire life. This is a 39-year-old emerging entrepreneur founder of a retail and fashion blog and store, urban, very sophisticated, MBA from top school, also takes her career very seriously, also very high-energy, sociable and sales oriented, but she built her company from scratch; it’s her baby, she has a sharp eye on budget, but spends smartly to boost sales, gives gifts to affiliate partners, suppliers, advisors, and other entrepreneurs, wants to give gifts that are unique and reflect well on her brand, will likely not measure ROI of incentives/gifts, but has a gut feel and regularly visits inc.com, fastcompany.com and things like that.
Two very different people, two potential buyers for the products and services that we’re creating at this company, but two very different buyers and I think that, that illustrates why you have to do this exercise, because if you’re writing your messaging to just one of those people or the other, it’s a very different messaging, and at the same time if you’re trying to write messaging that will appeal to both of those, you’re probably watering down your messaging and making it an effective for either of the avatars.
With your avatar development, I understand what commonly happens is you sit down and I don’t know anything about this person; if you’re just getting started selling to a market that’s very common, take your best shot at it, use what information you can find, use what information you believe to be true based on your hunches and your understanding or your perceived understanding of the market, you’re not going to be 100% right and there really is no 100% right, because we’re trying to document really what is an imaginary person. You just got to your best shot at it, and you continue to develop these avatars over time as you learn.
What’s most important is that, you have to nail that primary avatar first; you can develop a secondary avatar target after you’ve nailed the first, but your primary job is to nail that first avatar so you know exactly who you’re speaking and exactly who you’re developing your messaging for.