It’s so easy to get caught up in WHAT we’re trying to sell that we can easily lose sight of WHO we’re trying to sell to!
That’s why defining your Ideal Client Avatar (ICA) is such an important exercise to work through. By marketing directly to the ‘right’ people, your products or services will resonate with them so much more and pretty much sell themselves!
In this blog, I’d like to explain what an Ideal Client Avatar (ICA) is, how to go about defining yours and how you can start using it to add real value to your business.
Let’s dive in!
What is an ICA?
Just like you would see in a video game or the online world, an avatar is simply an icon or figure representing a particular person. In this case, it’s the kind of customer you’d love to see walking into your business or checking you out online.
Why is it important for me to define my ICA?
Without clearly defining your ICA, your marketing messaging can easily get lost and fail to hit the spot with any of your potential customers. You could have the most amazing product, but it's completely useless if you’re marketing it to the wrong people!
When you have your ICA mapped out, you should find that people come to you and say, 'It was like you were talking straight to me in your post!' or 'You always bring out services or products I need right now. It's like you're a mind reader!'
These are things that people have actually said to me since I really drilled down and got to know my ICA inside and out. Now I know how I can market directly to them and make their lives that little bit easier!
Once you can truly visualise your target audience, all your interactions with them (your customer touchpoints) can be carefully planned and maximised, from content creation to product development to special offers.
How to define your ICA
Follow these simple steps and you’ll have your avatar defined in no time!
Consider your ICA’s demographics, such as age, gender, income level, education, relationship status and geographical location.
What does your ideal customer do and what influences them at work or in their personal lives? Also, think about what might be stopping your ideal customer from buying from you or using your service.
Really get to ‘know’ them by thinking about their attributes, hobbies, interests and values.
Delve deep into your avatar’s goals, challenges and pain points. What stands in the way of them achieving their ambitions or what frustrates them? Your ICA might be just like you, or they might be having the problems you had 5-10 years ago. Try to think back to that time, especially how you felt and what would have made your life easier!
Consider defining your non-ICA avatars too, so you know who you don’t want to be marketing to as well!
If possible, involve other team members (e.g., sales and marketing) to gain an insight into your existing customer base. This is useful to find the most common queries they’re asked, what people like, love and loathe about your products or services, and the objections they hear. Another way to obtain this valuable intelligence is to conduct an online survey or hold polls on your social media accounts.
Take some time to delve deep into your website and email analytics. Which types of content or special offers have worked well and which ones have flopped? This will provide more helpful information on how you can shape your marketing messages in the future.
3. Bring your avatar to life
Make your avatars more human by giving them catchy names to help you visualise them! So maybe you’ve defined a Glamorous Gina, a Stressed-out Steve or a Time-Poor Tom!
Some dos and don’ts!
This is an exploration exercise. It's not a decision you have to stick with for the rest of your business life. Your avatars may well evolve over time, or you may wish to tweak them slightly once you’ve tested them out. Nevertheless, it’s worthwhile having an ICA at each stage of your business, as it certainly makes a massive difference to your marketing. Trust me. I’ve witnessed it first-hand in my own business!
You may have to make some educated guesses on the kinds of things your ideal customers enjoy, so get creative! The more vivid your ICA is in your mind, the more engaging your content will be. For example, you could mention a holiday destination in one of your posts or email newsletter. Or you could reference a TV show they might enjoy watching. When they see you talking about things that resonate with them, it automatically builds familiarity, fosters a stronger relationship with your brand, and hopefully leads to more conversions!
When completing this exercise, you may have to drill down into a person’s age demographic. For example, saying someone is 35-45 years old may be too broad, so you might have to choose an arbitrary age of 37. Of course, this doesn’t mean you will only work with 37-year-olds. It just means you get a clearer picture of your avatar for your marketing purposes.
Need some extra help?
If you need some extra help identifying your ideal client, book a 121 session with me and we’ll thrash it out together!