What Is An Avatar And Do You Need One?
Do you want your online marketing to be easy, profitable and fun? Do you want to spend $100 and earn back $500 in return? If you answered yes then it would be wise to ask what is an avatar and do you need one?
Know this before you continue reading. What I am sharing here is not often shared.
And it is perhaps THE main difference between super-successful marketers and those who struggle to make even a single sale. More on that in a moment.
So let’s begin at the beginning – what is an avatar and do you need one?
Many of us are familiar with the term “avatar” from the famous movie of the same name. But the avatar I’m talking about is not some giant blue alien.
This avatar is your perfect customer.
And every time you try to sell things online you should be thinking about him or her. Every time.
When it comes to driving traffic to a website there are really only two choices. You will either earn the traffic or buy the traffic.
One online marketer is fond of saying that traffic is like milk – if you need some you just go to the store and buy it.
That’s a great point … if you have a huge budget like he does.
But what about the rest of us? The ones who don’t have multi-million dollar budgets and huge staffs to whom we can outsource getting traffic?
For us, making every minute and every penny count can mean the difference between success and failure.
Between breaking through and breaking down.
And because we need to make every minute count (and every dollar) we need to understand what an avatar is and why it is vital that we use one.
WHAT IS AN AVATAR?
Here is how Dictionary.com defines avatar.
Notice the red box. The avatar I’m discussing is a REPRESENTATION of your ideal customer.
In the beginning, you will imagine what this person looks and acts like. You will imagine and infer what their needs and goals are all about.
As you gain experience, do research and gain customers, your picture will become sharper and sharper.
And soon you will enter the ranks of online business people who KNOW who their target is and exactly how to reach them cheaply and easily.
WHY DO YOU NEED AN AVATAR?
When most people try to sell things online they begin with the wrong things.
They begin with a product or business opportunity they heard is “hot”. Or they focus on the amount of commission they can earn.
Or they begin with arbitrary factors like “gravity” which have no real meaning.
Professional marketers begin at a different place.
They begin with the person, the avatar. And once they have that they know they can sell him or her a wide range of products and services.
You see, every person you reach online IS going to buy something. And they are going to buy it from someone.
The real trick to succeeding online is to make sure they are buying it from you!
And STARTING with an avatar is the best way to make that happen.
HOW DO YOU DEFINE YOUR AVATAR?
Below are a few steps you can use to begin defining your avatar today. But before we do that I need to share something VERY important.
You need to think about your avatar as a REAL person. Not as a group of facts and figures.
Professional marketers I know, who earn many millions per year, actually name their avatars!
While you might not go that far, using your imagination and being creative here will help you.
That said, let’s look at four major factors you can use to begin understanding exactly who might want to buy what you sell.
NOTE: Whether you have a product in mind to promote now or just want to reach a particular niche, using the information below will help you zero in on your perfect prospect.
IMPORTANT: If you have customers now begin with a profile of them. If you want more customers like them, knowing their avatar will help you reach new audiences quickly and cost-effectively.
FACTOR 1 – START WITH THE BASICS
You need to define some basic information. This is the beginning point of getting a feel for your perfect prospect.
NOTE: Even if you don’t yet KNOW these things, write them down. Make your best guess first and then refine. Do not wait until you “know that you know” to begin.
Here are the basic factors you want to discover.
- Marital Status
- Children at home? If yes, ages and stages.
- General location. (Be as specific as you can)
- Education Level
- Annual income.
- Other. (Add anything you think of from the list above)
Google will help with most of this.
Once you zero in on a few things it is all too easy to determine what a 45-year-old architect earns in a major metro area vs. a plumber working in a small town.
HINT: The plumber probably earns more! 🙂
FACTOR 2 – GOALS AND VALUES
Now that you know a bit about your avatar, what are their passions and dreams? You will use your imagination and experience here to write down what you believe they are aiming for in life.
As best you can, list out …
- Their long term goals.
- Their shorter term goals.
- Their values and principles.
Here’s an example. It’s safe to assume that people with children want their children to be good people and for them to have a great education.
Since education costs so much today, it’s also safe to assume that most parents are either saving for college or know they should be.
And it’s safe to assume that most parents are interested in things that will help their children develop good character traits as well.
Using this type of logic and imagination think about your avatar and list what his or her goals and values might be.
Remember, your first attempt at this is just a starting point. But it is an important starting point!
FACTOR 3 – WHERE DO THEY GET THEIR INFORMATION?
In this step, you want to imagine where they might be getting their information and who they might consider an authority.
The authority factor is huge, so don’t skip this step.
Why is authority so important? Because it determines buying behavior.
The reason you see movie stars endorsing products is that people want to be like their heroes.
We somehow believe that using the same makeup as a supermodel will make us more beautiful. Or wearing the same shoes as a basketball player will make us move better.
It’s just human nature.
Here are the basic factors to consider when trying to determine your avatar’s authority figures.
- Books they read.
- Blogs they read.
- News shows they watch.
- Social media channels they use.
- Magazines or ezines they read.
- Celebrities or gurus they follow.
- Television shows or channels they watch.
We live in an entertainment-obsessed culture. A recent study by the Pew Research Center indicates that over 60% of people get MOST of their news from Facebook!
Factoring in where people get their information and who they believe credible is an important step in your marketing.
FACTOR 4 – WHERE ARE THEY HURTING?
People buy things because they want or need them. And they most often buy them to solve a problem they have.
Whether their problem is real (I have a toothache) or perceived (this blouse makes me look fat) does not matter.
What does matter is that people take action when they have a need or want.
And your job, if you want to sell things online, is to speak to that need and let them know you can help them.
So here we list two very simple, but profoundly important, items.
- What are their challenges?
- What are their pain points?
Take some time on this one. To help people you will need to know where they are hurting and provide a solution.
Because SOLUTIONS are what people buy.
This one step alone can change how and where you advertise, what articles you write or curate for your blog, which products you choose to promote and more.
FACTOR 5 – DO THEY FIT THE M.A.N. PRINCIPLE?
Many years ago I learned how to separate the buyers from the tire-kickers. I had to. I was 19 years old, newly married to the love of my life and working on straight commission.
If I did not sell, we did not eat. Now that’s motivation!
I had to make the best use of my time so I could make as many sales as possible. My first sales manager taught me a formula I use to this day.
He said, “Make sure they pass the man test”. I was confused, until he explained that “man” was not meaning “male” but rather stood for MONEY, AUTHORITY, and NEED.
You see, a person just can’t take action until all three are true.
- They must be able to pay for what you sell. That’s MONEY.
- They must be able to place the order without consulting others. That’s AUTHORITY.
- They must feel a need for what you are offering. That’s NEED.
Use the M.A.N. test when you define your avatar.
Does he or she have the money, authority and need to make the purchase? If they do you are in good shape.
The more you know about your avatar the easier it will become to know if they are buying other products, what they are searching for and who they follow online.
And knowing these things gives you a big leg up when it comes to determining if they pass the M.A.N. test.
The more you know about your perfect customer (your avatar) the better.
Because you will go to work thinking about them. You will want the best for them. You will want to serve them.
And you will begin to recognize them online.
The more you know about your avatar the better you will do when it comes to producing content in your content marketing. The better you will do when it comes to designing ads to get their attention. The better you will do with choosing products they need and want.
Defining your avatar is not sexy and it’s hard work. I get that.
But I started out asking this …
- Do you want your online marketing to be easy, profitable and fun?
- Do you want to spend $100 and earn back $500 in return?
If you answered yes to either of those (or both!) then doing the work to define your avatar will be both fun and very rewarding.
When you know exactly who you want to reach your work becomes more of a game than work and your efforts are highly rewarded.
And those are beautiful things indeed!