Know these business benefits for creating customer avatars
Who is your ideal client? It’s a question every business owner should ask themselves, but too often they don’t care – or worse – they answer with “everyone”. The problem with this is that your customer cannot be everyone, nor can you focus your marketing and advertising efforts on everyone. It just won’t work. This is where a customer avatar comes in.
A customer avatar is a fictional representation of your ideal customer. It’s someone you know inside and out who represents your target audience. An avatar is not something you invent. It’s based on extensive research to ensure that the avatar truly represents your ideal customer. To create a complete and accurate avatar, you’ll want to identify your customers’ demographics, wants, needs, and challenges/problems that you have a solution for, also known as pain points. Information you will want to collect includes age range, gender identification, location, education level and occupation, relationship status, household income and size, lifestyle items and interests beyond pets, values, morals and personal goals, buying habits and pain points.
I was able to identify the podcast avatars I have for pet parents. It’s a spinoff of my nonprofit animal rescue’s mission to educate the public about pets. I discovered, while analyzing the rescue’s social media, that I had two main avatars depicted.
The first avatar is a 28-32 year old female I named Ashley. She has a college degree, at least a “furbaby” and a good income. She wants to spoil her fur baby, participate in group activities with other pet parents, and spend time doing outdoor activities. She is frustrated with her long working hours and not having much disposable income after paying her rent/mortgage, bills and student loans.
The second avatar is a 48-60 year old woman I named Linda. She has a cat/small dog that she considers her companion. She is retired, or nearly retired, and an empty nest. Linda wants to travel more, socialize with other animal lovers, and be active and healthy. She is frustrated by the inconveniences and bad weather that impact her activities.
If you pay close attention to the people entering your business, you will also start to see avatars appear. There’s going to be a certain type of person that’s attracted to your business that keeps coming back and you want to keep coming back to get more detailed information about them like I got for my avatars, you’re going to have to do research.
Demographic information provided by your social media accounts is a starting point for identifying avatars. If you have a good point-of-sale (POS) system, it will also collect information about your customers such as age, gender, and location, so you can start creating an image of someone who represents your client. Finally, you can survey your customers to get a lot of information about them and start analyzing the trends you see.
Once you have identified your avatar, you will have essential information about who your ideal customer is, what they want and need, and how your goods and services can meet their expectations. This knowledge will allow you to better serve them while increasing the sales of your goods and services. You’ll also have the data you need to strategically find and attract more people who match the avatar(s), effectively streamlining your marketing efforts.
What to do with an avatar? For the sake of discussion, let’s say Ashley and Linda are your avatars for your business.
Avatars help you communicate more effectively
Being able to personalize your communication means an increase in the opening rates of your e-mails, the reading rates and the conversion rates of each of your communication campaigns. The first thing you need to do is segment your mailing list so you can create different email campaigns for each avatar. Ashley and Linda don’t want the same things, so you’ll want to be able to send them more targeted email content. You can send an email campaign to Ashley to announce new dog hiking gear you’re carrying or a customer hiking experience you’ve planned. For Linda, you could invite her to a seminar on caring for older animals. Again, it’s not that you won’t have email communication that you send to both avatars, but the importance of customization can’t be overstated. Even if you wanted to invite Ashley and Linda to the senior pet care seminar, you could focus on preparing your pets for aging in Ashley’s email and focus on “now that your pet is older “, for Linda. Additionally, your avatar information will help you craft your message language, benefits, and goals.
Avatars help you personalize your customer experience
Personalization in retail and services is a key factor sought by customers, especially Millennials and Gen Z. Besides showing the need for personalized communication, the scenarios I have given below above also show the importance of creating personalized customer experiences based on your avatars. ‘ wants and needs. The special hiking event for Ashley and the seminar for Linda are examples of how you can appeal to these audiences more consistently and attract more people like them. Creating events and offers that include a friend coming is also a way to gain new, like-minded customers. Ashley’s friends who hate hiking won’t be going with her on the special hike you’re organizing, only those who like to hike with their dogs – and those are the customers you’re looking for. Linda’s friends who don’t have pets probably won’t join her for the seminar either. If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to events and experiences, ask your avatars. As you interview your customers for their demographic information, ask them what types of events, programs, and experiences they would be likely to attend.
Avatars help you identify the products and services your customers really want
Finally, knowing your avatars will help you identify which products and services to focus on in your business. Ashley may be more interested in products that allow her to spend time with her dog outdoors, such as hiking boots, portable water bowls, boating life jackets, and more. Linda, on the other hand, might like products that allow her to travel comfortably with her. pets, or products that can occupy his pets while they stay at home with a pet sitter or during boarding. Ashley will likely be more interested than Linda in daycare or summer camp for her pet, while Linda might be more interested in boarding options when she travels. Thinking of adding a self-service dog wash or grooming station to your services? Can you guess which avatar is most likely to take advantage of each?
If you take the time and do the homework to create accurate customer avatars, you’ll be better able to serve the real people who walk through your door every day and achieve your goals for building a successful business.
Amy Castro is a business and leadership expert who speaks to, trains and consults with pet businesses who want to build the best teams in the show that deliver a five-star customer experience. She is also the host of the Starlight Pet Talk podcast, where she interviews pet industry experts and others to provide tips and information for pet parents to help their pets live long and happy.