Get a few marketers together in the same room for a bit, and it won't be long before someone brings up “avatars” or “personas.”
That's because they're excellent tools for understanding and connecting with your customer.
Too often though, I see entrepreneurs and marketers who invest the time and effort to put together an ideal customer avatar…
Only to find themselves staring at the words and thinking, “OK, great. Now what?”
Reader Carl finds himself in that position:
My real, deep down question lies with the specific things you can discuss with people on your list, when you're using the avatar method.
So you're saying write to each age group—using terms and cultural references —that the different groups will relate to the different things you write.
I guess that's one way around the issue. I read a book a couple of days ago which described the avatar as being similar to a target – so the bulls eye represents the precise persona you've built… and the rings which surround the center represent the other groups.
Whenever you hit the center with your arrow, your still close enough to the others to evoke an emotional reaction and get some connection with them.
That made more sense to me than anything else I've read in courses so far.
Thanks for the great response – its good that you're so connected with your readers.
Bond and trust building on steroids! 😉
I love this “bullseye” analogy, although I think it's a little off target. (Heh.)
Here's the important thing to keep in mind about avatars:
The important part of an avatar is NOT the shared demographic traits of your ideal customers.
Sure it's nice to know that 39% of your customers are men between the ages of 45-55 who enjoy golf and water sports.
This isn't how you find the “bullseye” of your market though.
What if the next “ring” out in your audience is soccer moms between 35-45?
Those golf analogies you're working into your emails might work great for the guys, but for the ladies… Less so.
The REALLY important thing to keep in mind when you're creating your avatar is the SHARED STORIES of your ideal customers.
What unites a 49-year-old golfer with a 37-year-old working mother of 3?
Well they both recently decided they were “sick and tired of feeling sick and tired.”
And 3 months ago both resolved to finally get in shape—and that's when the running bug bit them HARD.
Now they're both training for their first half-marathon, and they're frustrated with the lack of progress they're seeing in bringing their 5K times down.
Imagine you sell a training program for runners.
Think you could write one email that speaks to both of these prospects at once?
Knowing your audience's demographics and their likes and dislikes never hurts.
With that info you can weave in relevant cultural references that strike a chord with different slices of your list.
To consistently hit bullseye after bullseye, though, think in terms of the pain points and common narratives that cut across demographic boundaries—think soldiers in the trenches, bonding with each other.
If you get this right…
Really nail the problem and echo it back to your audience…
Your subscribers will recognize themselves in the stories, and your emails will still find their mark—even if that Fuzzy Zoeller zinger you made zips right by them.