You’ve probably all heard of customer avatars by now, but what you haven’t heard is that having a detailed customer avatar can spark an exponential upturn in your overall revenue.
In this article, I’m going to explain what a customer avatar is, how to create your own, common mistakes to avoid, and how to use that avatar to 10x your ecommerce business. So let’s get started.
What Is a Customer Avatar?
First things first: A customer avatar is just a detailed profile of your ideal customer. The keyword here is “detailed.” Without a detailed description, your avatar isn’t going to serve your needs.
This means that your avatar should almost be a real person with a name, gender, age, hobbies, and interests. Keep in mind, you can’t sell to everybody! Many people have tried that and failed. Instead, focus on your niche—and your specific avatar—and you’ll have much greater results.
Here’s an example of a good customer avatar. Let’s say I started an outdoors brand that sold things like tents, sleeping bags, and other camping gear. Now instead of saying my customer avatar is “Men that like to go camping,” I’m going to get detailed. That could be something like this: Tom, a 43-year-old, blue-collar man living in Colorado with a wife and two children. He likes to fish, hunt, kayak, and go camping in his free time. Now this is my ideal customer avatar.
How to Create Your Own Avatar
Now that you know what a customer avatar is, how do you create one? This depends on where you’re at in the process, how long you’ve been in business, and how much data you have about your customers.
Let’s start with those who are new to the space and don’t have any data on their customers. If this is the case for you, don’t worry. You’ll still be able to get started with a good customer avatar.
Developing an avatar without any data is actually pretty simple. You just want to do the same thing I did above with avatar Tom. Ask yourself:
- What specific niche do my products fit into?
- What kind of people are in that niche?
Now generate a detailed avatar: What are their hobbies, occupations, ages, gender, and so on?
After you start marketing to this avatar and start selling your products and gathering data, simply refine your avatar using these methods:
- Simply dive into the back end of your data and see which customers are converting the best!
- Use your Facebook ads account, the back end of your store, polls and surveys sent to your customers, and, my personal favorite, Google Analytics.
If you’ve set Google Analytics up correctly, it actually shows you demographics, interests, hobbies, and a few other golden metrics that can help you develop your avatar.
Also keep in mind that, as the market evolves, so does your customer avatar. So make sure you revisit the characteristics of your avatar every six months to make sure that the avatar is still working to its full capacity.
Common Mistakes Made When Creating an Avatar
There are a couple of common mistakes I see in customer avatars created by businesses. Make sure you avoid these when making your own avatars:
- Didn’t create a detailed avatar. This is by far the most common mistake I see. Too many owners believe they have their customer avatar down, but there are no details. Something like “Middle-aged women who like jewelry” is not good enough as an avatar!
Remember, without realistic details for your customer avatar (like interests, hobbies, age, and even a name), your avatar serves no purpose.
- Created a detailed customer avatar but got it entirely wrong. More often than not, no data is actually used to generate an avatar. But without data, there’s no way of knowing that it’s actually accurate. Many businesses create their customer avatar before they generate data. That’s okay, but you must remember to go back and revise their avatar as data flows in. This should be done at least once a year no matter where you’re at in your business!
How to Use Your Avatar to Grow Your Business
So you’ve analyzed your data and developed a detailed customer avatar. Now what?
This is the easy part:
- Let’s go back to my example with avatar Tom. Knowing Tom, what do you think the most effective marketing strategies are? What is going capture Tom’s attention—what kinds of images, copy, and so on? We’re marketing to a rugged outdoorsman here, so should I be using bright pink headlines and chatty copy? Definitely not. I need to use images, copy, and colors that capture Tom’s attention and spark his interest.
Remember that people are getting blasted with ads more than ever before, so what’s going to make your company stand out over the rest? It’s content that’s written directly for whoever’s reading it.
- You can also easily use your customer avatar to create funnels specific to that avatar. In this approach, the entire funnel, from acquisition to post-purchase emails, has the same style of branding that speaks directly to that avatar.
You can also develop more than one avatar and market to each of them with great success. For example, you can create multiple versions of a landing or product page, each version part of the funnel for—and specific to—only one of your avatars. On the other hand, you don’t have to have multiple avatars: it’s a good idea to start with one avatar and, once that’s established, begin testing another.
Note: To learn more about customer avatars and how to create and use them, check out this Optimized Ecommerce podcast.
- Having a good customer avatar can help you with product development too. What other products related to your brand would your customer avatar buy?
Going back to avatar Tom, what else other than tents and sleeping bags could you sell to him? What if you added an upsell with a nice pocket knife? Is that something he’d buy? He probably would.
Having a detailed customer avatar makes running your business significantly easier and your marketing decisions more effective. Realistically, your avatar will be used in nearly every aspect of your business: marketing, websites, images, copy, branding, color schemes, emails, and so on.
I’ve personally seen a detailed customer avatar take a company from zero to one hundred very, very quickly. So, if you don’t have a detailed avatar, I hope this article inspires you to create one. And if you do have one, be sure to revisit your data and revise your avatar as needed—this should be the first thing on your list!