How to Bring Your Client Avatar to Life
Photo by Tanbir Mahmud
To get the right customer to answer your knock at the door, you need to first know upon which door you would like to knock. Who do you want to see when the door opens?
This is what a client avatar is for:
A client avatar is a fictional person that you create to represent your perfect customer.
When you know who you’re speaking to, it becomes easier to know what you want to say.
It’s story time for you, but don’t worry if you’re not a writer - you’re not pitching this to a publisher. This exercise allows you to craft the right message and prime your reticular activating system before you head out into the market.
The clients who are looking for you, but don’t yet know that you are the solution to their problem.
Countless tutorials and avatar worksheets template this task out for you, so I won’t bother reinventing that wheel. I will include links at the bottom of this post so you can check some out.
Instead, we will take a look into how you can make your avatar more than just a sheet of facts - how to make it seem as though you two just went out for coffee together.
First of all, don’t let an avatar project railroad you into too narrow an understanding of your target.
It is, after all, a target market, not a target single person named Krista who only eats baked beans one at a time. There is a whole market full of people who you want to meet, who want to meet you.
That is to say:
Create more than one avatar to form your ideal customer base.
This helps you to paint a fuller picture of the different types of people that all share the same needs.
Also, it takes the pressure off of the drive to create the “perfect” avatar. It’s art class, but without the teacher grading your artwork.
Try not to worry about getting the perfect quote, or listing the perfect pain points. Just write whatever is in your heart - you can always update it later. After all, there is no good writing, only good editing.
Repeating the process will also help you narrow it down to the details that best suit what you offer the market. As you put avatars two and three together, not only will the process get easier - the concept of your perfect client will become clearer to you.
Next up, it helps you to understand yourself at least as well as your avatar, so:
Create a client avatar of yourself.
I know you already exist, so it may seem odd to make an avatar of a real person who just so happens to be yourself.
Why list what you already know?
First, this type of exercise is always a good practice to help you understand yourself better. For business, self-reflection… there really isn’t a downside.
Second, it will help you get comfortable with the avatar creation process. If you find it difficult to create an avatar for a fake person, starting with yourself might be easier than creating someone out of thin air.
This will get the gears moving, and kick you out of any potential writer’s block.
Once you have your avatar - or avatars - put together, you’re ready to:
Have a conversation with your avatar.
That’s right, it’s time to go bonkers and have a full-fledged conversation with your pretend client.
Take a moment to visualize the person. Think about what they sound like, how they sit in the chair across from you, and how they move their hands when they talk.
What do they sound like? Do they have a smell? What colour are their eyes? What are they wearing?
Things are starting to sound romantic, but it’s just to build the full sensory experience of this person in your mind.
Once you can see them clearly, talk to them about your business. Talk to them about your life! And listen to what they have to say about theirs. Let your imagination engine run and you’ll be surprised at how complete your imagination can make this person.
This is a creative practice so let your mind go wild. You could even draw them with crayons if you really want to fire up that elementary school imagination machine.
Once your avatar is together, and you have a rapport with them, you’ll find it easier when you’re looking for real clients - you’ll feel more comfortable speaking to them, and they will recognize a message from someone that knows how to speak their language.
An avatar won’t do the work for you. You’ll still need to put yourself out there and, very surely, get it wrong a bunch of times. But that is how we learn, and the avatar will help you to calibrate your approach before you start down the rabbit hole.
Here are links to some client avatar templates and resources:
A walkthrough worksheet from Digital Marketer, who also suggests that you build multiple avatars
Here’s a comprehensive avatar research and creation video from Copy Adriana
Written by Lyle Mustard