Why your business needs a marketing avatar

A marketing avatar being created

Marketing isn't cheap, so it's understandable that business owners look for value for money. This often that results in a marketing strategy that targets the largest audience possible. However, that can be a mistake. You should instead target your ideal customer. This is where a marketing avatar can help

Imagine you sell petrol lawnmowers. You might be tempted to target people with an interest in gardening. But some gardeners live in flats and their gardening takes place on an allotment. Others have paved over their lawns to create a parking space and their gardening is limited to raised beds and pots. Others have environmental concerns and prefer electric mowers.

Casting a wide net inevitably means that your message also reaches people who will not be interested in what you are selling. This is not an efficient use of your marketing efforts. To turn a popular phrase on its head - you need to focus on the few, not the many. And that means identifying your ideal customer – also known as your marketing avatar.

What is a marketing avatar?

A marketing avatar is a fictional character who represents your ideal customer. Your ideal customer should make repeat purchases, be loyal to your business and recommend you to other potential customers. Identifying your ideal customer or avatar helps you identify other people who are likely to buy from your business.

Why do I need to create a marketing avatar?

As a small business, you can’t afford to waste money on marketing campaigns that do not deliver sales. If you want to make sales, you need to know exactly who needs or wants your product or service and how you can reach these customers. Once you know the answer to these questions, you can tailor your marketing messages to your target customers. Tailoring your messages to a specific group has a number of benefits:

1. The customer sees benefit and relevance of your business and products

Your ideal customer is your biggest fan. Whatever problem your service or product solves, it's a problem your ideal customer has, and you are the best solution they can think of. If your customer loves you and what you do, everything that comes next is easier.

2. They are easier to reach

Your ideal customer is someone you can easily connect with as you know where and how to find them.

3. They are receptive to marketing

Choosing someone who is responsive to your marketing is important as they are far more likely to make a purchase in the first place.

4. They have a shorter sales cycle

Someone who is already receptive to your marketing message is likely to convert more quickly than a cold contact.

5. They are repeat customers

Your ideal customer spends money with you over and over again (unless you're a wedding planner). Getting the most from a lead means making sure a sale not being a one-time thing; remember, your marketing budget is an investment, and you want as much return as possible.

6. They buy the right things at the right time

Although any customer spending with you regularly is a good customer, that does not necessarily mean they are your ideal customer. Your ideal customer buys your core products, not just your peripheral ones; and your ideal customer isn't one who only buys when you are running a sale or special offer.

Now that you have identified the qualities you need in your ideal customer, it's time to pin down exactly who that person is. Who represents the customers you really want to attract? Who is your marketing avatar?

How do I identify my marketing avatar

The answer to how you identify your ideal customer lies in the concept of the marketing avatar. It's the initial and most critical stage in a marketing process that will bring your business the right kind of leads. Key to this process is to get your head around the idea of targeting a person, not an audience.

Step 1: Extract a list of all your existing customers from your database. This list can include past as well as present customers, but everyone on the list must be easily contactable.

Step 2: From this list, choose the customers you liked the most. Avoid focusing on the number of sales you've made with these people or how much money they've spent with you, and instead pick out those that you genuinely enjoyed spending time with.

Step 3: Take your list of favourite customers and rank them by comparing their real value to your business. Now is the time to be ruthless.

Step 4: Once you've decided on your top customer, get in touch and ask if you can conduct an interview with them. Go into this interview with an extensive list of questions that will give you an accurate picture of what they like, what they do, where they spend their time and so on. The aim is to build a detailed profile of them. That, in turn, becomes the profile of your marketing avatar.

Build your marketing strategy around this marketing avatar and by aiming to reach this ideal customer, your marketing efforts will find similar people, and provide you with the customers perfectly matched to your business.

Written by Shweta Jhajharia is principal London coach of ActionCOACHING.

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