Introduction: Find the perfect wave to ride
As a Mad Marketer, I like to think about building a customer profile as a surfer finding a perfect wave. When clients talk about their grand plans of marketing, they all seem to miss the first step, finding a wave that exists in the ocean. They build a product or platform hoping that someone will find them or that the wave will magically appear and bring them lots of clients and money. Unfortunately for most small businesses this is a risky maneuver and probably is why most businesses fail within the first two years.
We are not all like large pharmaceutical or technology companies that can spend millions of dollars on TV commercials educating consumers to buy their product through large scale awareness. Large companies can build their own wave pool and theme park to attract large amounts of customers, and if one wave pool didn’t attract customers they can build again. Instead a small and medium size business needs to take their surf board or platform and paddle out to sea and search for the perfect wave to ride to shore and then repeat. A surfer must focus on one wave at a time and not try to catch too many waves and conserve their energy to build momentum.
As a marketer we must find the niche in that wave to deliver their brand message effectively and on a budget. Focus on one avatar and build segments or keep the momentum going. If we try to tackle too many markets we will go nowhere and exhaust our resources and ultimately end up with little to no market share. Finding the right way is key and developing an avatar is the first step to riding the perfect wave to shore.
Ready to find a wave for your business? We have created a step by step process on creating your ideal customer profile.
What is a customer avatar? Why is it important?
Once you have determined your product or service in which you would like to sell. Then the marketing plan comes into play. The first step to any marketing plan is who will buy your product?
The definition of a customer avatar: is a fictional customer (with a photo, name, personality etc.) that represents the common traits of your ideal customers that includes demographic, geographic, and psychographic characteristics, as well as buying patterns, creditworthiness, and purchase history.
The customer profile or also known as the customer avatar answers the question of: who is your ideal customer?
The importance of defining a customer avatar is that it helps answer questions concerning your products and services you offer. It sets a point of reference to answer the following questions:
- What platforms should you use to advertise and maximize exposure to your ideal customer?
- What types of advertisements can create action with your ideal customer?
- How should you communicate? What vocabulary and tone should you use in your marketing content?
- What story should your marketing content be telling to resonate with the audience?
How do you start to build a customer avatar? Then how do you test your customer avatar with online data?
Let’s start by answering some questions. Then we will test with data that is free on the internet! This will help us set a benchmark to develop a niche audience.
Section 1: Demographics:
Demographics are the baseline of who would be a potential audience. I think to start by jotting down my ideas first and then checking to see if my audience actually exists.
- Gender? Females /Males
- Age range?
- Education Level?
- Marital Status?
- Children? Will they be part of the product appeal?
- Community? (rural, urban, suburban)
- Housing? (apartment, homeowner, sprawling estate, etc)
How to test Demographics?
- Look at a competitor to your product or service then find 5 competitors’ websites that you think best match your demographics.
- Go to http://www.alexa.com/ and you can gather the following information: gender, education level.
- Go to http://www.similarweb.com/ and look at the following information: geography
- Another great resource for geolocation, age, income, etc. is Fact Finder from the US Government Census: http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/index.xhtml###
Section 2: Interests
Answer the following questions with what you think to gage a starting point and then fill in and test with the sites listed below to find interests of the audience.
- Where do they spend their time online?
- What websites will this customer frequently visit?
- What blogs do they read?
- What are likely search terms they will use?
- What sort of content appeals to them the most?
- What activities do they do on their free time?
- Belong to any organizations or clubs?
How to test interests?
- Go to http://www.similarweb.com/ and look at the following information: interests, referring sites (affinities) and where the consumer went after visiting the website.
- Take 5 books that your demographic would most likely read based on their interests on http://www.similarweb.com/and go to amazon.com and look at the following information: the top 5 bestselling books in that category and look closer to see what Amazon recommends for those that bought that book.
- Another way to test interests is to look at Facebook Pages and finding fans who like other pages. Take 5 interests, websites, blogs or books that have a following on Facebook and type into the search bar of Facebook the following list and fill in the blanks. (see how to do this: http://www.jonloomer.com/2013/06/18/facebook-graph-search-business-examples/)
- You can also do the following searches:
- Pages liked by people who like ___________
- Pages liked by people who like [two pages] ________ and __________
- Favorite interests of people who like ___________
- Groups of people who like ___________
- Pages liked by Marketers who like ________________
- Pages liked by people over the age of 25 who like ____________
- Pages liked by women who like _____________
- Pages liked by men over the age of 25 who live in United States and who like __________
- Favorite interests of women over the age of 25 who live in United Kingdom and who like _________
- Places in Seattle, Washington visited by people who like _____________
- Restaurants in Denver, Colorado visited by people who like ___________
- Movies liked by people who like ___________
- Games played by people who like __________
- Favorite music of people who like ___________
- You can also do the following searches:
Section 3: Personality Traits
Answer the following questions with what you think to gauge a starting and then fill in and test with the sites listed below to find personal traits of the audience.
- What’s their biggest fear?
- What’s their dreams and goals in life?
- What are some big needs they have yet to have met?
- What language would this customer use to identify their current problem?
- What is their greatest hesitation in trying out your offering?
- What is the best way to engage with this customer?
How to test personality traits?
- Purchase Patterns: Go to amazon.com – look at reviews and see the language they are using to describe what they are talking about, what words do they use, how do they describe the product, what are the pros and cons. Also you can see purchase patterns, for instance other products that that people bought.
- Another way to look at personality traits is to create a consumer journey based on the consumer needs develop a hierarchy of needs. The journey will always start with a need. If you have multiple avatars this is a quick way to which avatar will have the biggest need or problem that is presented and most likely to make the purchase sooner. The blog post from The Consumer Factor (http://theconsumerfactor.com/en/5-stages-consumer-buying-decision-process/ ) describes in detail the stages of the Consumer Purchase decision and breaks this down to 5 stages:
Section 4: Business Profile (Optional)
- Where do they work? (Stay at home, work from home, Small Office, Big Corp)
- Do they already use something similar to your product or service?
- Do they have the money to spend?
- How often will they need your products or services?
How to test business profile?
- There is a report published from the US Census that breaks down the industries and average salary within each: http://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2015/econ/g12-susb.pdf
Download our template:
At Smart Marketing Strategy Head Quarter Labs, we have created a template for you to use as you build out your avatar. You can download it by clicking on this link: SMSHQ_Customer_Profile_Avatar_Template_1
By creating a customer avatar we have started the foundation for finding the perfect wave. In our next post we will look at how to find the niche and continue to build upon the foundation to a Smart Marketing Strategy.
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