Why Most Customer Avatars Are Useless (and what you really need to know)

ideal customer marketing Mar 28, 2019

If you’ve done any reading about marketing, you’ve probably come across someone who says you need a customer avatar to achieve good results with your marketing.

Well, guess what? I’m one of those people!

I talk about customer avatars a LOT, because after working in marketing for 20 years I know how they are critical to the success of your strategy.

I even run training sessions for business owners and corporate marketing teams on how to create an avatar of their ideal customer.


(And that’s a massive BUUUUUUT by the way!)

….I’ve seen a lot of different customer avatar templates shared by various experts, and the vast majority are completely useless.

They don’t cover the things you actually need to know in order to build a marketing strategy to attract and convert these ideal customers.

Yes they do often cover the info you need to create a targeted Facebook Audience for your campaign, but not the info you need to develop the right messaging or content to build their trust and get them to buy.

So they don’t work.

Plain and simple.

I’ve had clients start working with me who say they’ve already got a customer avatar. But when I dig a bit deeper it’s clear that all they have is a broad target market.


What’s the difference between a target market and a customer avatar?


The key difference is the personification.

With an avatar you’re going much, much deeper. You’re profiling your ideal customer – and that’s very different to profiling a general description of every customer.

[Read more: Why You Need An Ideal Customer For A Killer Marketing Strategy]

You’re really honing in on exactly WHO within your target market are the ones you want to serve, the ones who you designed your business for, and who’ll end up buying from you.

You need to tailor your messaging, your brand content and your entire business to suit these people perfectly – forgetting about the rest.

WHAT? You might be saying…

..forget the rest of the target market????

..but that’s madness!

Actually, no, it’s not mad.

It’s smart, and here’s why. 


Why you’re better off targeting just your ideal customer


Firstly, you’re never going to sell to ALL of the people in your target market.

Be realistic for a minute and think about how many customers your business actually needs to be successful or reach your next revenue target.

It’s not that many, right?

So you’re not trying to win every single person in your target market.

They won’t all be the right fit for you either.

And a customer who doesn’t fit is often way more hassle than what it’s worth.

They complain, or worse, they leave you a bad review. Wouldn’t you rather have the ones that are super happy and love what you’ve done for them?

Yes! I’d choose my ideal customer every time.

Secondly, when you try to market to a big group of different people, you end up with generalised messaging that’s been written so you don’t ‘leave anyone out’.

But what you’re doing is failing to leave anyone in.


Write messaging that talks to your ideal customer about THEIR problem and how you can help 


When you write general copy for a broad audience of prospective buyers, you end up talking a lot about yourself and the features of your product or service.

I’ve seen this time and time again; most businesses write in this way.

And it’s terrible. Boring. Uninteresting.

You’re leaving it up to the reader to work out how your awesome features will benefit them and help them get to where they want.

But that’s marketing suicide!

The honest truth is that hardly anyone will be that interested they’ll take time to sit and think about what you’ve written, and work out if you’re offering the right thing for them.

They don’t live and breathe your business every day, so what you’re saying is all new to them and they won’t automatically make the connections between your features and the benefits they’re seeking.

If it isn’t obvious, they move on quickly (back to the search results page to try someone else).


“A confused mind always says no” – my fav quote from Marie Forleo


So, you’ve got to spell it out for them, you’ve got to talk to them about their goals and aspirations, and their current problem.

And, how whatever it is that you’re selling, will help them get to their desired outcome.

Which brings me back to your customer avatar and why you need a proper one.


Always start with your customer avatar


Everything you do with your business; whether it’s creating a process, creating a product/service, writing some content, or developing a lead magnet – you HAVE to start with your customer avatar.

Put yourself in their shoes.

Understand what they know, what they don’t know. Their opinions and perceptions.

Understand their frustrations, and how you can help them.

Understand what sort of person they are, how they talk and think. 

Understand how they like to buy – what they expect, and how you can exceed their expectations.

Think about what you need to educate them on, in order to get them into a place where they’re informed and ready to buy, and then the right process that gets them all the way through it.

This knowledge about your customer avatar is what you need to develop a strategy that works.

[Read more: How to Create a Customer Avatar for Better Marketing Results]

And it’s the same principle for your marketing content as it is for your customer service processes.

Which are equally important by the way!

You want to maximise sales, and you want to create an army of advocates from your happy customers by providing an amazing customer experience.

A happy customer is your best marketing tool!

Their recommendations is marketing you don’t have to do, and it’s free!

Customers are happy when everything is easy, it works and it helps them achieve their desired outcome.


Right – so now you know why most customer avatar templates are useless, here’s your chance to have a go at creating a real one that will actually help you!

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