We are tackling this question among my peers in The Ops Authority. My certification class is working on refining their avatars right now. We are deciding just how specific we want to get in building our image of our perfect clients.
Technically, an avatar is a physical representation of your ideal client profile – a picture, photo, or caricature – some image that gives a name and face to that client profile.
Many people are using the terms avatar and client profile interchangeably, so for the purpose of this episode, the avatar is the representation of the client profile. Agreed?
I have two businesses. I write clean, Midwestern Fiction and I also own my own consulting business, Vim & Vigor Business Operations Consulting, so whether I’m an author or an entrepreneur, I use avatars in my business every day.
Avatars represent the ideal reader I’ve created, or the perfect client I seek to help through my consulting business. They have problems, both personal and professional and dreams, and back stories.
If you’ve never created an avatar (or client profile) for your business, it’s actually kinda fun. So, let’s look into how and why you should create one.
Why You Should Create a Client Profile
They Help Propel Your Strategic Objectives into Action
Your niche. Some pronounce it nitch, but you get the point. As the market floods with more and more online businesses and more brick and mortar businesses struggle to adapt to the changing spending environment, they will have to be specific about who their audience, client, customer, or reader truly is.
Now, you might be thinking that you don’t want to get so specific that you leave potential clients out. Trust me, if your product is good and is what they want, those outside your targeted audience will find you.
I think I’ve said it in all my show notes so far, and you will hear again, YOU as the business owner must get laser focused on your Mission, your Vision, and your Values before you can go any farther. The competition is only going to get tougher. And you as a business owner are going to have to be flexible if you want to stay in business. I can’t wait to share a future episode on why you need a mission, vision, and value set. AND, I have a mini course coming your way later this year that will walk you through step by step, exactly what you need to do to create the perfect Mission, Vision, and Values.
If you are seeing a change in your sales, your client profile might be a great place to start looking. But, before you decide to change your entire business model, consider asking how your client’s behaviors have changed. When you have a client profile (or two) that accurately match who your clients are or who you are pursuing, then you can get a clearer picture of what they may be going through.
Consider the Corona virus and how it has changed spending habits. Ask yourself a tough question – are they not spending money anymore or are they just not spending it with you? And why is that? How can you nurture them as customers and clients when they may not be spending money with you right now. The client profile can help you refine how you are going to deliver your message and continue your visibility strategy. How do you need to change your messaging to get those clients back or do you need to find additional ones?
Ask yourself how the economy changed their habits? Have they lost jobs or have their habits changed? What might a new client look like? An example is my client profile Todd, a tattoo shop owner. He may not need to switch from one of a kind custom tattoos to henna tattoos, but he might need to review who his ideal client is for a period of time while he’s still nurturing his existing customer base.
Avatars Direct Your Messaging & Spending
Let’s stick with Todd. He’s recently seen a pretty big drop in his wall art tattoos but has seen a slight increase in his custom art requests. He goes back through the last three months’ custom art purchases and paints a picture of an ideal client based on characteristics he remembers from those clients because they are what have paid the bills.
AND, because we worked together to create an awesome client intake form, he actually has some of this stuff documented. This one client created from all the clients who have purchased from him before is his new avatar. He can now create messaging, social media content and advertising for this new ideal client.
Consider another example: You have two men with $100,000 to spend over the next 5 years. One buys an Audi and a European vacation for this family and the other buys a brand new extended cab pick-up truck and a 30×40 climate controlled shed with a lean-to, kitchenette, and bathroom. Without an ideal client profile and generic messaging, you run the risk of not reaching either of them.
You need to understand each of these men separately, what makes them tick, and most importantly how they make spending decisions, so you can customize your message in a way that reaches them and ultimately contributes to the goals and objectives you’ve outlined in your strategic plan.
Want help with your client profile?
Avatars Help You Define Who You Do NOT Want as a Client
I have an Avatar, and yes, I named her Karen. Karen is the depiction of the type of client I’d prefer not to work with, even though she wants to pay me. But I know, because of the values and boundaries I’ve set for myself and my business, that I am willing to turn down work that will drain me emotionally and mindfully, despite the fact that it would contribute financially.
It is okay to repel people from your business. You will have people that will get offended and unsubscribe and unfollow you and that is okay. If they would have continued to follow you and seek out your services, they likely would have been a higher demand on your resources because they would ask or demand services or products that you don’t provide, instead of looking somewhere else that fits them. They are someone else’s perfect avatar – release them, leaving more room for someone that fits your niche.
So, now let’s talk about what goes in to your Avatar/Client Profile
This is a wide open field. You do not have to (should not) share this on social media or tell your customers you have a client profile. You never have to share this beyond your team. Your Avatar is your creation and may take a few drafts. While you might not want to include all of these, Here are the different characteristics you should consider when creating your avatar:
Personal likes & Hobbies
Where they vacation
How they unwind/relax
Books they read
Clothes they wear
Music they listen to
How they spend their weekends
What problem/challenges are they having?
What do they want to be better, faster, cheaper, easier fixed?
Why can’t they do it themselves?
What emotions are they experiencing because of the challenges they face?
What emotions will they experience once you’ve resolved their problems, eliminated their challenges, and improved their livelihood?
This is not an all-inclusive list and the level of detail will differ depending on whether you are business to business or business to customer, but this should give you a great running start on creating your ideal customer profile and the avatar to go along with it.
One Last Tip
Don’t let your avatar be a reflection of you. You are not serving you, you are serving your client. If the picture you chose to represent your ideal client profile looks just like you, you may want to look again to ensure you are representing those you can help the most with your unique and wonderful set of skills and capabilities.
I hope that helps you understand how avatars and client profiles serve your business and how you can create your own.
Let me know by rating this episode and dropping a comment in the blog.
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