Ideal Customer Avatar or ‘ICA,’ if you’ve ever Googled anything about growing your business, it’s likely you’ve already encountered this buzzword.
To better understand your target audience, you sat in a chair, researching until your arse went numb -and then some. Because, that’s part of the process of ‘knowing thy audience.’
Here’s the real-life problem with that scenario. That effort does nobody any good locked in your mind or compiled in a biblical scale compendium.
“Without knowledge, action is useless, and knowledge without action is futile.” -Abu Bakr
Knowing your audience and customers is essential, but if your social media manager or staff doesn’t know them as well… that’s where the whole futile part comes in.
Put everything you’ve learned about your target audience into something functional, something concise that can be handed out like candy to anyone working with your Brand.
You, my fellow badass, need an Ideal Customer Avatar!
Ready to put the pedal to the metal and learn How To Create An Ideal Customer Avatar For Your Business? Keep reading, friend.
Quick Links To Get Go-Getters Where They’re Going
8 minute read time
Creating Your Ideal Customer Avatar
Creating an avatar is straightforward. If you’ve already done the Target Audience work, then you know your people. This is the article that puts that information into action!
Score The Free Ideal Customer Avatar Template & Sample HERE to follow along, as we break down How To Create An Ideal Customer Avatar For Your Business section by section.
First, decide which of your groups represents your ideal patrons. …You know the one. It’s the group of people you would clone the rest of us into if you had a god wand.
Then, give them a name based on their traits in relation to your business. In the example above, Luke is a ‘Generation Green-er.’ Keep in mind, ideal customer avatars are intended for internal purposes only. Strive for something you’ll remember rather than the epitome of naming perfection.
Next, condense your ‘in a perfect world’ audience into a single, make-believe person representing the group. If your tribe is mostly chic females, make your avatar a classy lady. Find a photo to portray her avatar and give her a name!
Our sample avatar’s name is Luke. ‘Why, Luke,’ you may be wondering? The Generation Green-ers average age was 34. It turns out, America fancied the name Luke in 1986.
And as you may recall, when we’re playing pretend, some kid starts by laying down the plot.
“ I’m the mama, you’re the evil step-sister, and we live in a castle, but you put me in a dungeon, because I’m awesome, and you’re ugly -and you don’t like that very much.” -said every kid at some point
You’ve practiced this before, I see.
Before you can truly understand someone, you have to know their history. What’s the avatar’s story? Explore the pillars making up their present-day reality, and start building that story!
- Where do they typically live -specific neighborhoods? Metropolitan areas?
- What kind of jobs do they have?
- What is their home life like?
- What’s one of their primary connections to your product or service?
- What are the significant factors motivating his / her life?
Probably worth noting, we aren’t in the business of writing fantasy novels. Base the character and plot on fact. If 60% live in tents… take a guess where that avatar is going to be residing.
Think about it this way -if you sell coffee, don’t you want to know why someone is purchasing java at 4 pm? Is it because they’re attending night school? Maybe, she’s a new mom who stayed up all night with a colicky baby.
Become intimately acquainted with these people. They should be more than a number in an account. After all, without their support, your business baby might as well be called the Titanic.
Knowing means you can meet your customers at their level.
When someone goes the extra mile for us, we take note.
Habits & Behaviors
Everything about your Brand begins and ends with the customer. Before they care about your business, they care about what it can do for them -starting with their Habits & Behaviors.
Building a relationship means awareness of what’s happening in someone’s life and their head. It’s knowing someone well enough to anticipate what they need. For instance,
Do You Know What Keeps Them Up At Night?
What Makes Them Smile?
Who /What Makes Them Laugh So Hard Their Cheeks Hurt?
This is the important stuff, folks.
Starbucks dominates at this.
Why do so many people purchase from Starbucks in a world of superior third-wave coffee options?
Here’s a hint : It’s not because their coffee is the best thing since caffeine.
It’s because Starbucks gets them! At least, their marketing makes you feel that way. I mean, with a Brand Promise like ->
“To inspire and nurture the human spirit—one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.”
Admit it! You’re feeling more snuggly already, aren’t you?!
More importantly, Starbucks couldn’t pull up some numbers to come up with that. Understanding to that degree requires you to look beyond data and statistics, what’s the message written between the lines?
In the post on Target Audiences, I walk you through the process of getting insight directly from your audience, because taking the time to know your Ideal Customer Avatar scores serious brownie points in the long haul.
What brands already have your customer’s attention? Whose sticker is on their laptops and logos line their backpacks? Whether or not it’s industry-related is relevant.
As it turns out, nobody accidentally purchases a pair of pants with VS-PINK or Adidas plastered across the ass. It’s a statement piece like the proud display of a tattoo with your lover’s name on it or the word mom, lovingly encapsulated by a heart.
And just like that, a picture pops into our heads of the ‘types’ of people I just described.
When someone proudly sports a logo, sure, they’re a walking, talking ad for another company. Although, it’s also a not so subtle memo. Do yourself a favor and take the hint.
The brands we love -and don’t say something about us. What brands do your avatar’s love?
As a general rule, these are my go-to questions when building out a client’s ideal customer avatar.
-Why Do Your Customers Spend Their Money On These Brands In Particular?
–What’s Their Brand Voice Like?
–What Does The Brand Say About Them?
-How Do Those Brands Make Them Feel?
–What Can You Learn From Those Brands About Your ICA?
Needs & Pain Points
Nothing sends people shopping quite like a problem (or international pandemic -toilet paper, anyone?). Who has time to solve the plethora of issues that rear their heads on the daily?
We do our fair share of scratching things off the to-do list, but each of us has a line. It’s the line that says, “I’m willing to clean my own house, but I will NOT make my own cleaners.” or whatever that looks like for you.
Technically, we can make laundry detergent or pick-up our own take-out food, but why do that when for a menial fee someone will deliver it or create it for you?
“The number one reason we buy anything is to fulfill a need, solve a problem, or soothe the constant chaos that is life.”-Hannah Ellaham
And of course, customers are no different. In this section of the avatar template, ask yourself these questions.
–What Problems Does Your Ideal Customer Avatar Have In Relation To Your Product, Service, or Industry?
-What Are They Looking For Within Your Industry That Others Aren’t Doing?
–Who Do They Currently Look To Fill That Need or Issue?
-Are They 100% Satisfied With That Product or Service?
–If The Answer Was ‘No,’ -Well, Why Not?!
(here’s a hint… nobody is 100% satisfied, human nature and all)
Ideal Customer Avatar Is About Human Nature…
Definitively, the Needs & Pain Points section is all about human nature. Not all products or services exist to fulfill a necessity that would qualify under survival essentials. Stilettos come to mind. What’s essential to one of us is absolutely absurd and useless to another one. To someone out there – those towering heels are their confidence, height, and armor. Arguably, a modern necessity.
Convenience, comfort, security, relief, sanity …whatever you’re providing for your target audience, write that.
Why Your Brand?
Until now, your Ideal Customer Avatar template has been about a semi-fictitious character.
No matter the industry, it’s always about the people we serve first and our vision second. After all, no people means no business.
But, THIS is your space to share your story. Let loose and finally, tell your avatar Why Your Business.
So, Why Your Brand ?
–What Problems Do You Solve For Your Ideal Customer Avatar?
–How Are You Improving Their Lives?
–What Are You Doing For Them That They Couldn’t or Aren’t Willing To Do For Themselves?
–What Makes Your Business Relevant To Them?
–Why Should They Choose You As Opposed To Your Competition?
–Why Will They Choose You?
The ‘Why Your Brand’ area is your response to your ICA’s Needs & Pain Points and Habits & Behaviors. It’s the reply you want your social media marketer to spout and the competitive advantage you want cashiers to promote.
Be the proud blabbermouth you are when you’re telling your pals about what you’re working on. Tout your heroic feats of glory and scream-write your pride in your product on that paper!
Don’t worry. Ideal Customer Avatars are for private, internal use. Blab on, because if you can’t express your awesomeness to your team -they won’t either.
Ideal Customer Avatar – Fact or Fiction?
The whole ‘ICA’ thing sounds like the breed of useless gimmicky, hogwash ‘micro-marketers’ use to turn tricks on a Facebook ad, drawing in unsuspecting.
It just does -but it isn’t!
Ten years ago, you could sell a product to a customer, gain brand loyalty, and expect their business for ever more -AND that of their progeny. Today, not so much.
People don’t buy products anymore. Millennials done kicked that bucket to the curb…says the early gen. millennial. They support businesses and brands which support and reflect their Values.
Bohos buy boho clothes to be more boho. Cloth diapers may be the bane of your existence, but if you want a better tomorrow – cloth it is.
In a world where we’re supposedly ‘more connected than ever,’ we’re also quite distant. We share LOLs via a screen with a ‘friend’ we haven’t seen in the flesh since the Nintendo years. We hop on zoom calls with people across the world, yet we’re looking at our computer camera and not in their eyes – not on the screen and not in real life.
Something inside of us knows screens aren’t cutting it. That’s why people expect the businesses making their lives possible to go the extra mile to get to know them before they’ll swipe that card.
Of course, we understand that companies can’t familiarize themselves with every one of us. But, the effort counts for more than you might expect.
Ideal Customer Avatars allow you to get closer than a demographic, imparting a face and a beating heart to the human behind the numbers.
Connection is everything. Avatars are a way to do that.
Making It Count
I have a gut instinct that making this know-how available to entrepreneurs and marketers en masse will result in some dynamic avatars.
Use this as the base to launch your next audience campaign. Dig deep and find new ways to get up close and personal with your people.
“Growth Is A Community Movement. The Only Limits Are The Ones We Impose On Ourselves.”-Hannah Ellaham
So, go forth, break some glass ceilings, and come-on back to tell us about it in the comments! Until then, fellow badasses.