4 Simple Steps To Creating Your Ideal Customer Avatar (ICA)Apr 07, 2021
Before you dive in, or decide this is a load of fluff and dismiss it, let me take a minute to explain why defining your ideal customer avatar is an essential piece of your business plan.
Ok, so first things first, what is an ideal customer avatar? Well, put simply; it’s the person you think of when you sit down to write anything for your business. It’s the person you design all your products and services for and it’s who you talk to when you create your courses and record your videos. Your customer avatar defines everything you do!
Which kind of explains why you actually need one! Getting clear on who your ideal customer is will let you create products and services your clients really need, and your business will be much more profitable, and purpose-driven as a result. You’ll also be able to write much better content, and you’ll be far more focused in terms of where you spend your time and energy. It also helps weed out the people who won’t be good clients for you as they won’t like your offers or your messaging!
Convinced? Good. Let’s jump in.
Quickly though, don’t be tempted to have multiple avatars at this stage. Yes, you might have male and female clients, women who are in their early 20’s or their late 60’s. You might work with people for free, and you might work with people in Australia but for this exercise, pick your dream customer who you would love working with and who your products and services can help.
How Do You Create Your Ideal Customer Avatar?
STEP ONE: THE BASICS
First, you need to define the basics. Step back, get a clear picture of your ideal client in your mind and answer the following questions. Please note that I’ve used she/her as pronouns here, but please change them to he/his (or whatever floats your boat!) if that’s more appropriate.
DEFINE YOUR CUSTOMER AVATAR
- Physical Appearance. Describe her—hair, eye colour, height, weight etc.
- Marital Status and/or children? Describe them, ages etc.
- Where does she live?
- What is her annual income?
- What does she do for work?
- What are her core beliefs? What values does she stand by?
- What are her favourite books/tv shows/magazines?
- What blogs does she follow?
- What websites does she visit regularly?
- Where does she shop for food?
- Where does she shop for clothes?
- What are her favourite brands?
- What are her guilty pleasures?
- What events does she go to?
- Who does she look up to or admire? Who are her role models?
STEP 2: BECOME YOUR CUSTOMER AVATAR
Now you’ve spent some time in your ideal customer’s shoes it’s time to get a bit existential and look at your business through her eyes.
So, pretend for a minute that you are your potential client, and you are about to sign-up for your service.
What are you thinking? What are your doubts? What questions do you have? Is there anything you don’t like about what you’re about to sign-up for?
As you look at your business through your avatar’s eyes, write your thoughts down, everything that comes to mind, the good, the bad, the ugly and the non-pc. The more honest you can be, the better.
Get it all out!
STEP 3: GET DEEP AND MEANINGFUL
Now you’re going to answer some questions about what’s going on in your customer avatar’s life. What is she most scared about? What is she hiding? What does she want from her life?
It’s time to get all the stuff she probably wouldn’t tell you down on paper.
This is going to be the fuel you’ll use to create powerful, deeply thought out, authentic and purpose-driven services for your clients.
So again, in relation to the service you are offering, answer these questions from the perspective of your ideal client.
- What do you secretly fear might be true in your life?
- What goes round and round in your thoughts and keeps you awake at night?
- What creates the most stress and anxiety in your life?
- What issue in your life can you really not face dealing with?
- What are you most scared of losing?
- What is the worst-case scenario in your life?
- If money were no object, what dream solution would you buy to solve these problems?
- Describe this dream solution you’d pay anything for.
- What would you be able to achieve with this dream solution in your life?
STEP 4: SPEAK TO SOME REAL PEOPLE!
You’ve got an enormous amount of insight into the nitty-gritty of who you are going to serve, her lifestyle, her issues and her deepest darkest thoughts, but nothing beats speaking to her in real life.
You don’t have to go the full third degree, sometimes just listening very carefully during the conversations you’re already having with clients is enough to pick up invaluable nuggets you can build into your business.
But equally, it’s worth investing the time to find three of four people who you trust and who fit your customer avatar, to give you 30 minutes or so of their time to get to the bottom of what they think about the kind of services you offer.
Here are some questions you might want to ask in the context of you working on developing some new ideas for your business.
Remember, this isn’t about asking people to criticise your competitors; it’s a genuine fact-finding mission to see how you could deliver your services even better.
- What are your biggest frustrations around….?
- What do you think is causing this?
- What have you tried in the past to solve this?
- What results have you got?
- I’m just curious, who do you currently use for….?
- What do you like about their services?
- What do you like most about their approach?
- What do you think could be improved?
- What could three specific things be better?
- Why is this important for you to deal with this now?
- How would your life be better if you could get a handle on this?
- Have you ever paid for a service to solve this problem before?
- If so, what would you be prepared to pay for this now?
- What frustrates you about these kinds of services?
- Have you ever researched these services before? If so, where did you look?
- What do you most wish businesses offering these services understood about you?
- What’s really motivating you to look for these kinds of services right now?
What Do You Do Next?
So there you go, everything you need to create your customer avatar.
I know from experience that it’s tempting to skip this step but, having worked through this process several times the insight, direction and clarity you get from investing a few hours into thinking these questions through is genuinely worth its weight in gold.
So, get yourself a pen and start scribbling. Book up those sessions with real people (eek!) and maybe think of what you can give them to say thank you.
Then get on with building all this insight into your business, it will make a world of difference. I promise.
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