Do you know who your optimal customer is? Do you understand their pains, their goals, and the challenges they face? Can you verbalize how your product or service helps this customer?
If you struggled to answer any of these questions, then chances are you need to create ideal customer avatars (ICAs) for your business. These act as a roadmap for you as you decide who to work with, and who just isn’t a good fit for you and your business. In this post, I will outline the how and why it’s so important to develop ICAs for your business.
What is an Ideal Customer Avatar
You may have heard of “buyer personas” or “marketing personas” before. Ideal customer avatars are a bit different. They are much more detailed and put greater weight on what an ideal customer is like, not just what your average customers are like.
Einstein Marketer explains why this is so important, writing, “It’s crucial that you create a customer avatar of your ideal customer, not your average buyer. Your ideal customer is somebody you really want to sell to, they’re high-spending, loyal, repeat buying, referral monsters.” Basically, the better you understand this customer, the better you’re able to attract them with highly-targeted messaging and content.
Basically, you’re outlining the customer who’s going to turn into an advocate for your brand. Someone who’s going to be so thrilled with your product, service, or business model that they recommend you to all their friends and colleagues. This will boost your long-term revenue and improve your overall quality of work and life.
One thing worth mentioning at this point is that “customer” isn’t exclusively the end user of your product or service. Ideal customer avatars can refer to internal team members, vendors, or end user clients. You should use these as a template to ensure that you’re hiring and working with talent who align with your values and advocate for you every step of the way.
Ready to create your own ICA?
Example of an Ideal Customer Avatar
For the purpose of this post, I’ve developed an example ICA that will hopefully help you craft your own.
Kelly is a life coach in her mid-fifties who owns her own business in the U.S. She makes between $150,000 and $350,000 per year, but she wants to boost that figure up to $1 million. Kelly has two independent contractors to help her with her business—an accountant and a social media manager. She works full time and is driven to accomplish her goals, including becoming a center of influence in her industry.
Kelly is down-to-earth and has a good sense of humor, making her enjoyable to work with. Eventually, she’d like to launch a course to market and sell completely online, but first she needs to streamline her business systems.
She is relationship-minded and does what she says she will. Working with Kelly is a pleasure and she encourages other people to work in their areas of expertise.
Not only did I outline Kelly’s budget and needs, but I also added emphasis on what working with her is like—working with Kelly is a pleasure. This is a critical piece of an ideal customer avatar. Before you create your own, spend some time imagining what qualities you’d like to see in your customers.
Ideal Customer Avatars Align Your Core Values
At this point, you’re probably asking, why? Why is it important to create ideal customer avatars?
Well, for me, it helps align my core values with my work. My ICAs are team-focused, mindful of boundaries, demonstrate integrity at every step, are compassionate leaders, and take accountability for their actions. They understand boundaries and non-work related commitments and are mindful of when and how they communicate with me. As a result, my stress is reduced and I’m able to focus on strategic goals, rather than managing an unhealthy client relationship.
Working with my ideal customer avatar allows me to do my best work, saves time, and reduces unnecessary process breaking. It’s a win-win for me and my clients. I look good and they look good.
It’s important to note that ICAs evolve based on your objectives—credibility, experience, rate, strategic partnerships—and it’s okay to revisit your ideal customer avatar from time to time. Perhaps you’ll discover that a client relationship is no longer serving you or that client. It’s time to reevaluate that relationship and offer alternative solutions.
If your business doesn’t have an ideal customer avatar in place yet, it’s time to start creating one. You and your business will benefit immeasurably from it.