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Creating an accurate customer avatar (also commonly referred to as a buyer persona) is an essential step to take when it comes to crafting effecting online marketing campaigns and messages. Without a clear picture of who you’re talking to, it’s easy to go off-target and create ineffective campaigns that receive a lackluster response.
The ideal Customer Avatar gives a clear picture of your ideal client or customer; that is, someone who will find the perfect solution to their problems, needs, or wants in the services or products your business provides. Ideally, they will be loyal to your brand, frequently purchase from your business, and become a brand evangelist (someone who recommends your products and services to friends, family, and co-workers).
The more sharply defined your customer avatar is, the better you’ll be able to determine where and how to most effectively market to them.
A key piece of information you’ll be able to glean from a thorough customer avatar is where they are hanging out online. Do they utilize Facebook more than Pinterest, or vice versa? Are they big fans of Twitter, or LinkedIn? Do they enjoy spending time in forums discussing their hobbies, and if so, which forums? Once you know, you can set up targeted ad campaigns to reach them on their platform(s) of choice without blindly throwing money at various ad platforms.
Some more important information a Customer Avatar can yield is their pain points and problems, & their wants, needs, and goals. When you know what keeps your customers up at night and can offer a solution to solve their problems, you can write golden copy that converts extraordinarily well. You’ll also be able to take an objective look at your current products and services and figure out how to better improve them.
How Many Customer Avatars Do I Need?
While everyone is different, customer avatars can paint an accurate picture of a group of similar people who share similar wants, needs, desires, fears, etc. Thanks to how our minds work, everyone is governed by a fairly uniform hierarchy of needs. The need to eat and drink, and the need for shelter and safety are basic, powerful driving needs. The need to be loved and feel a sense of belonging are extremely powerful needs as well. The need to achieve and have a feeling of success, the list goes on.
With that being said, different people will respond to different messages and offers based on what they need but are currently lacking. OR if they feel they already have everything they “need,” their wants will play an even more crucial role. Some people want more money, some want more free time (but who doesn’t want both?), some want a way to simplify their life, to be less stressed, etc. Your products and services may help them achieve more money, more free time, etc., or your business may help them capitalize on their free time to pursue hobbies and further themselves.
It’s important to note that a person’s needs may change at any time. If a person is relaxing in their house on a scorching hot 115 degree summer day and their A/C suddenly gives out, their new #1 need becomes to get their air conditioner fixed immediately. Everything else falls by the wayside. So if you happen to offer HVAC services in their area, and you have a search ad running when they search for repairs, if your message and offer match what they’re looking for, it can be an easy sell.
So back to the original question: how many customer avatars do you need? The correct answer is: as many as it takes to cover your key demographics for each of the services or products you offer. The more practical answer is: however many avatars you can efficiently market to. If you can only focus your efforts on crafting one message to start, create on avatar and focus on them. Then, once your campaign targeted at that avatar is up, running, and profitable, create another avatar and campaign, and so on.
One of the key mistakes people make when creating customer avatars is that they stop after creating their first one. The truth is, the products and services you offer will speak to different people in different ways. Your ads should be found by different types of people on different websites and in different channels. If you create an avatar for Joe Mechanic, the 42 year old car mechanic with back pain, then market your chiropractic practice on an automotive mechanic forum, you can bet Mama Elizabeth, who has back pain for totally different reasons, will never see your marketing. And even if she did, it’s unlikely that your message to Joe Mechanic will resonate with her.
That’s a simple illustration, but it should get the point across (keep reading for a full walk-through of creating a sample buyer persona). Take your typical clientele and get inside their heads. Even better, get on a more personal level with different types of clients and learn more about them and what makes them tick. Find out why your products and services help them, and find out their interests. You’ll start to see patterns quickly, and you can create avatars by averaging out these patterns.
There are a number of elements to keep in mind while you craft your customer avatar(s). You’ll want to think about their needs, their work life, their personal life, their beliefs, where they get their information, etc. It can seem daunting, but once you’ve sat down and put in the effort, you may be surprised at how painless the process can be. It may take a few hours… or even a few days, but once you’re done, you’ll have a powerful tool that can help you craft campaigns and messages that are on point and speak directly to customers. You’ll finally have a clear picture of who you’re selling to, and suddenly creating effective campaigns will feel MUCH easier.[wpob id=”1″ text=”Click Here to get the Customer Avatar Blueprint (a $27 value) for free!” style=”none”]
An Example of a Customer Avatar
Here’s an example of what kind of elements & information to include when creating your customer avatars. Let’s say you’re a massage therapist in Austin, and you’re looking to promote your prenatal massages. The first question is: who is your ideal customer? The short answer is: expecting mothers in Austin, Texas!
Now that we know that, we can get started fleshing out a customer avatar.
Let’s start with her name. In this example we’ll call her Mama Elizabeth. Let’s assume she’s married, lives in a 2-bedroom home in Austin, TX, and she’s expecting her first child.
As for working, a quick Google search shows that more and more women are working during their pregnancy, so let’s say she has a full-time job. What type of job does she work at? Another quick search pulls up a list of the most common jobs held by women. One of the top jobs is teachers, so let’s say she’s a middle school math teacher. What school? A quick search for Austin middle schools returns several results, so we’ll just pick one: Fulmore Middle School (it doesn’t really matter which one you choose, we’re just trying to get a concise picture. If you’re in a small town you may only have one option to choose from instead of many). Since she’s a teacher, she had to go to college to get a 4-year degree in education.
Searching for middle school teacher salaries in the area shows that most make between $45,000 and $50,000, so let’s say she earns $47,000 a year.
Another search pulled up the fact that age and work load don’t appear to have a direct correlation to back pain, but the median age of first-time mothers is about 26 years old, so lets say Mama Elizabeth is 28.
So far, so good! We have the demographic information hammered out. Now we need to get inside Mama Elizabeth’s head.
Goals & Values
Let’s first take a stab at some goals and values your ideal customer for prenatal massages has.
Since Mama Elizabeth is a teacher, it’s pretty safe to assume that she cares about the well-being of children. That should go doubly-so for her own child. So valuing the health and safety of her unborn child doesn’t seem like too much of a stretch of the imagination. It also happens that prenatal massages can be beneficial to the unborn baby, so that’s a great point to keep in mind when crafting your campaign for Mama Elizabeth.
Mama Elizabeth values her “me-time” — being pregnant can be stressful, running around all day looking after middle school children and rushing to get homework graded can compound on that. So having some time to herself to unwind can help her recenter… And it just so happens that getting a massage could be a great way for her to spend her “me-time,” so we can add that into the marketing!
Challenges & Pain Points
Now we need to figure out what challenges and pain points Mama Elizabeth may have that your prenatal massage therapy can help with.
One challenge that often comes with pregnancy is insomnia. Not only can a pregnant woman feel exhausted all day long, pregnancy can also cause insomnia at night. Fortunately, prenatal massages can help get a better night’s sleep. So, a good benefit to include in your copy is the fact that prenatal massages can potentially leave Mama Elizabeth feeling refreshed and help her sleep better.
Another common issue women experience with pregnancy is back pain and joint pain. The fact that Mama Elizabeth is running around all day watching after her children in class would likely add to that pain, so talking about how a prenatal massage can help alleviate back and joint pain would be great to include in your ad copy or landing page/offer copy.
It’s a good idea to have at least 3 solid pain points & challenges that your product or service helps with, so let’s think of one more. While being pregnant is exciting and wonderful, it can also be a very stressful time for expecting mothers. Hormone levels fluctuate, anxiety about the future can arise, pain and headaches can cause stress, the list goes on. Fortunately, prenatal massages can help alleviate stress and help Mama Elizabeth feel at peace… so there’s another great challenge that the massage helps with.
Online Hangout Spots (Social Media)
Let’s look back at what we know about Mama Elizabeth so we can figure out where she is most likely to be found online. Once we know this, we know where we can place ads that are most likely to reach her.
According to a 2016 study conducted by the Pew Research Center, 83% of adult women in the U.S. use Facebook, and 88% of people aged 18-29 are on the platform, so it’s a good bet that Mama Elizabeth uses Facebook at least every now and then.
Only 38% of adult women (59% of all adults aged 18-29) use Instagram, but since it’s a popular platform for women in Mama Elizabeth’s age group, it’s definitely worth trying out a test campaign in.
Twitter has a smaller market share, so a small test wouldn’t hurt, but it may not be the best venue to try and target, depending on advertising cost–only 25% of adult women use twitter (36% of all adults in the US).
There’s also Pinterest, which has about twice as many female users when compared to male users. 45% of adult women use Pinterest, and 36% of all Americans aged 18-29 use it, so Pinterest might be a great platform for reaching Mama Elizabeth.
And then there’s linked in and a few other networks, but you get the picture. After researching it seems that Facebook and Pinterest marketing are the best bets to reach Mama Elizabeth (though that kind of conclusion should always be thoroughly tested).
Sources of Information
We also need to take a look at where Mama Elizabeth gets her information. Think websites & blogs, forums, news sites, newspapers (do 28-year-olds still read physical newspapers?), magazines, books, etc.
Since Mama Elizabeth is going to be a first-time mother, it’s a safe bet that she may be browsing expectant mom and baby care blogs and websites. A quick search on Google for “pregnancy blogs” shows some a number of “top 10” pregnancy blog lists which we can look through for some website ideas, such as:
There are a lot more, and we can also search for “pregnancy forums” to find more sites. We need to keep an eye out for sites that have ads running (most likely will), and especially keep an eye out for sites running AdSense ads. If they’re running AdSense, we can use managed placements on AdWords to run ads on these specific domains. We can also geo-target based on city, state, country, etc. This is especially useful if we only offer local services (we don’t want to advertise prenatal massages in Austin to people living in Oregon, for example). Though you may want to target more broadly if you offer products (digital or physical) for sale… just something to keep in mind.
As for magazines, a quick search for “pregnancy magazines” yield a number of popular pregnancy magazines, such as:
- Pregnancy Magazine
- Fit Pregnancy and Baby™ Magazine
- Pregnancy & Newborn Magazine
While advertising a local service in a magazine may not be the best idea, it’s still good to know what magazines they may be reading–you may even draw some inspiration by looking through them (look at the ads running in these and see if any can be tweaked for our own advertising endeavors). And if you were to sell products online, these magazines may be a great place to advertise.
The same goes for newspapers. Newspapers don’t offer a whole lot in the way of targeting, but if you can take out an ad in a local paper at the right price, it could be worth testing. You’ll first need to figure out what demographics actually subscribe to the various local papers in your city. Once you have that information, you can decide whether to move forward. Online news sources are a totally different ballgame, though. You can run ads on just about any major news site, so it’s just a matter of figuring out what your target demographic generally prefers. Alexa offers some great demographic info that you can use, so start plugging in URLs and looking at the results (note: a paid subscription yields a lot more data).
Now we need to look at potential objections your ideal customer avatar may have. What are some of the main reasons they wouldn’t buy your service? We need to get in their heads and come up with some potential objections and counterarguments that we can include in your copy to reduce friction before it even has a chance to build.
Objection #1: No Time / Too Busy
Teachers are often busy while school is in session. Teaching all day can be an exhausting job, not to mention grading homework and papers at night. Add the side-effects of pregnancy to the mix and it’s no surprise an expectant mother might think they don’t have time for a prenatal massage. A simple way to counter that is to offer prenatal massage therapy on weekends. If you want to get extra clever you can make it a “Teacher Appreciation Weekend Prenatal Massage Special” (whew that’s a mouthful, maybe a few copy revisions to pare that down a bit, but you get the idea).
Objection #2: Too Expensive
It’s no secret that teachers aren’t compensated nearly well enough for the invaluable service they provide. So another objection could be cost. Aren’t prenatal massage sessions expensive? A quick search shows that many massage parlors in the area offer them for anywhere from $60-$80 an hour, so let’s pretend you offer your services for $70/hr. How do you convince them that paying for your prenatal massage service is money well spent? Once again, you *could* offer a teacher special and knock off $10 or $15. Whether you do or don’t want to discount your services, you can list the benefits a prenatal massage offers and show them that they’re getting great benefits for a low price.
Objection #3: Won’t Work for Her
Let’s list one more potential objection for good measure. Let’s say Mama Elizabeth has never been to a massage therapist before and she isn’t sure a prenatal massage would help her with the aches and pains she’s experiencing because of her pregnancy. Once more, her objections can be countered by explaining exactly what benefits a prenatal massage will offer her. It’s important not to be vague or you may not convince her to try your service out.
Putting Your Customer Avatar Together
Now you have a clear picture of who your ideal customer for prenatal massages is. You can use their personal information to target their demographics on social media platforms such as Facebook. Create an ad that targets women aged 26-32 (right around where Mama Elizabeth falls) in Austin, TX. That’s a pretty big ad audience, so narrow the targeting down to only those who like pages about education and teaching. You can also try going a step further and targeting women who fit all of that criteria, PLUS they like pages about pregnancy and tips for expectant mothers. That may be too narrow (especially in smaller cities), but you can run different ads targeting slightly different mixes of interests until you find the sweet spot–then see which ones convert the best.
You can also use this customer avatar to get in their head while doing keyword research. Figure out what types of searches they may enter (i.e. “how to treat back pain during pregnancy”) and create PPC ads on Google, Yahoo & Bing that are geo-targeted for the city.
Now that you have a solid customer avatar for late twenty-something pregnant teachers in the Austin area, you can create similar avatars for expecting mothers in different professions and craft messages that talk directly to them. Be sure to create other avatars for the other services you offer and craft ads and landing pages that talk directly to them (a guy who plays soccer on the weekends looking for a sports massage isn’t going to care about prenatal massages, for example).
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