How To Create an Ideal Customer Avatar
Your ideal customer avatar (ICA) should be at the forefront of every marketing decision you make. You could have the best product in the world, but if you’re selling it to the person, you’re never going to make any progress. By understanding exactly who you’re selling to, you can create marketing material that genuinely resonates with your audience.
If you either a) don’t have any ICAs or b) have them but they’re stowed away in a deep Google Drive folder never to see the light of day, then we’re here to help.
Today we’re going to explore what an ICA is, why they’re so important and of course, how to create one.
Let’s start with the what….
An ideal customer avatar is a single profile, used to represent your target market, or segment of your target market. The profile is extremely in-depth, and covers everything from your customer’s demographic information to their pain points, buying obstacles, hopes and dreams. The information on the profile is not guessed or assumed (for the most part), it’s driven by detailed customer insights and data. This data can be gathered through customer surveys, focus groups, social media insights, Instagram polls and more. Your ICA is not the fairytale version of who you want your customer segment to be, it’s who they actually are.
Why you need ICAs
An ICA helps to ensure that your marketing efforts truly resonate with your audience. When your brand resonates, your target market is more likely to take action (i.e buy). So in the simplest form, your ICA helps you achieve more sales, and create a brand that people feel a connection to. Your ICA is there to guide you to create products, services and marketing materials that genuinely provide value to your customer. Without an ICA, you’re basically taking a stab in the dark (a technique we do not recommend).
What? Check. Why? Check. How? Let’s dive in.
To make things nice and easy, we’ve created an ICA template for you at the end of this post. All you need to do is download it, create a few copies for each of your customer segments and fill it in with your team.
Your ICA template has six sections for you to fill out:
This is the most basic (yet very important) information about your customer segment. How old are they? What geographic area are they based? What are their interests? Are they male or female? This information can be directly translated into targeting for your digital advertising, eg. Facebook ads targeting.
#2 Information sources
As expected, your information sources section of your ICA explores where your customer goes to gather their information, both consciously and subconsciously. Are they fans of particular blogs or magazines? Do they prefer Instagram or Facebook? Do they rely on their friends’ opinions more than Google ratings? Why?
Knowing where your audience hangs out online and the information sources they trust is vital in order for you to effectively reach your customers. For example if you know they follow a particular blog, you may look at having banner ads on their site, or doing an influencer marketing campaign.
The goals and values section of your ICA goes into the deeper psychological make-up of your customer segment. This is particularly important for creating marketing content that truly resonates with your customers. Understanding what your customer wants to achieve or where they want to be will help you position your product, service or overall brand to help them achieve their goals.
“Value” and “Values” are terms that get used a lot in the marketing industry, and rightly so – a huge part of marketing is about providing and understanding value. However, there’s a difference between what your customer finds valuable, and their deeper values.
For example, by providing your customer with a free tester pot in their skincare delivery, you are providing added value to them (given that’s what your customer finds valuable). In comparison, deeper values are the things that are most important to them in their lives, for example “Kindness above all else” – which is one of LKO’s four core values.
What your customer finds to be valuable and their deeper values are often linked. But it’s important to make the distinction, research both, and create marketing materials that cater and align with each.
#5 Pain points/problems
Understanding the pain points and problems of your target market allow you to empathise with their position, provide authority over how you can solve that problem, and give them a solution (your product or service). If you don’t thoroughly understand what your customer’s pain points are, you simply cannot position yourself as a viable solution.
#6 Key buying obstacles
Every customer has some form of buying obstacle, but alas, obstacles can be overcome. However, you can’t help your customers overcome buying obstacles if you don’t know what they are. By identifying the buying obstacles, you can create campaigns that lift your customer’s over these humps and reassure them that your product or service is the best solution to their problem.
Let’s say you’re a wellness coach selling a 6-week course. A key buying obstacle of your segment is that they’re busy, and don’t have enough time to complete it. Now that you know this information, you might decide to run a part-time study option that goes over a longer period of time, and create campaigns that resonate with their busy schedule.
Now that you’re clear on each of the sections, it’s time to apply what you’ve learnt by downloading and filling out your very own ICA template.
Get Your Free ICA Template:
If you have any questions about how to fill out your template, or questions about ICA’s in general, please leave in the comments. Our team of digital marketing experts are more than happy to help.