There has been a lot of controversy in the digital entrepreneur world around the idea of the "ideal customer avatar". Some business owners like to think of themselves as rule breakers and edge pushers, and those are usually the ones who will tell you to chuck the ideal customer avatar idea and just wing it. Then there are the traditionalist entrepreneurs who like formulas and set standards. Those are the folks who will say that identifying your ideal customer is not just advisable but essential.
I think anyone who knows me will tell you I tend to be something of a rule breaker, in business and in life (I mean, within reason...) but this is one place where I stand firmly with the nerdy squarepants traditionalist business people. I mean, how the hell are you going to be able to message to your audience if you are not 100% clear on who your best customer is? Even if you just do the essentials on this exercise, I promise you will have a more refined and understandable message.
Depending on the complexity of your business, you might need to do multiple personas for this exercise. Either way, the best way to get going is to just GET GOING. Here are the questions you'll want to answer. Once you've done that, take a closer look at how you are communicating via your website, newsletters, social media, etc and make sure it's in agreement with the ideal customer. If you write for THAT person, then others will see themselves in your message as well.
Note! You’re not going to want to do this exercise. You’ll want to skip it. Do NOT. Trust me - this is so critically important to your business. Skip this and everything will fall flat.
Wildflower Ideal Customer Avatar - Worksheet
1. Think of your ideal clients first as a group, what do they all have in common? i.e. Women, married, commuters, women with children, divorced women with children, etc.
2. Go freehand and describe this person so well that you can easily step in her shoes. The goal is to know her so well that you can think like her, speak like her, experience her emotions and deeply understand her.
3. Now, let’s fill in some blanks on her specifics:
· Married? Spouse’s name?
· Kids? Names?
· Life beliefs
· Favorite book, tv, movies, music
· What magazines does she read?
· FB pages
· Free time
· Guilty pleasures
· Authors, teachers, experts
· Favorite meal
· Fantasy vacation
4. Now think about your ideal client even more deeply, as though you are her. This is about feeling and emotion. Step into her skin. Look at life through her eyes. What emotion, emotions, does she feel at the precise moment she’s about to purchase your product or service?
a. What is she saying to herself? What specific words and phrases is she using? What story is she telling herself? Is it excitement? Or Fear? Or dread? Go there, then go deeper still.
b. Write everything that comes to mind like a morning pages journal entry, in her voice (as if you were her). Don’t be afraid of getting ugly and going to embarrassing or fearful places…in those places you can and will gain a much deeper understanding of your client.
5. Now that you have spent some time in your client avatar’s skin, it’s time to go to even more depth. Still in her voice, answer these questions with as much honesty as you can muster. By doing so, you will have far more clarity on your client’s needs and mindset. And think how valuable that is!
· What stresses you out on a regular basis?
· What do you not look at or face in your life because it triggers too much fear?
· What’s the worst-case scenario related to your life situation -- the one fear that keeps you up at night?
· What’s the OMG, I can’t believe that exists “dream solution” that you’d pay almost anything for?
· If this dream solution -- product or service -- could appear and unfold perfectly, how would that story go?
· How will others respond to you if you get this situation fixed in an ideal way?
· What will you be able to do, get or achieve if your fantasy situation comes true?
· Where will you be more powerful and influential in your life if your fantasy situation comes true?
OK! GREAT job. Take a break and come back to this another day (but don’t wait too long). Knowing these things about your ideal client gives you a superpower. You KNOW her now. She may even be you (and that’s ok). And that means you can build solutions for her that help her.