I find that many entrepreneurs/marketers/agencies struggle with the question of who is their ideal client/avatar. The reason they struggle is that they may be working with and trying to solve problems for a variety of businesses that seem to be disparate.
The standard wisdom is that you pick an industry and then find the problem in that industry that you solve. This approach makes a lot of sense for some people, and yet it sends others into confusion and frustration on the level of a category 5 hurricane.
For instance, we currently work with a CBD skincare company, a synagogue, an Enterprise SaaS company, a fitness startup, an innovation company, a printing company, and a medical device company. All in all, we’ve worked in 42 different industries doing over 900 projects. So you might say, “how do all of these companies connect?” We sure as hell did, and it took us five long agonizing years trying to figure it out.
“Actual picture from one of our internal workshops trying to figure out our perfect client avatar. It wasn’t pretty…”
Today we don’t follow the conventional wisdom model at all. We have a completely different view of how you find your target audience. Because the “standard approach” is one-size-fits-all grade-A bullshit.
Here’s how we help our confused clients go about sorting out their ideal client:
1. You don’t have to pick an industry for your target audience. This first notion was the most freeing thing we had ever heard. It was like lights shining down from heaven with the angels singing and the birds chirping a beautiful melody in the background. This was immediately followed by “WTF! Can we do that?” Yes, yes, you can! However, you should have a few necessary variables in position like how big the company is in terms of employees and revenue. Geography and gender can be helpful too. 🙂
2. You look at the type of person you want to serve, not the industry. The kind of person is built around mutual business mindsets and shared perspectives. So you can look at your customers and ask yourself “what are the shared mindsets or beliefs” of the best customers I’ve worked with. Make a list and write down everything you can think of. You will likely start to see a thread between these groups.
3. Use the lens of #1 and #2 to figure out what industry these people are in or might be in. This doesn’t mean your target isn’t in every sector, it just means that they tend to cluster together in some industries more than others. Birds of a feather tend to flock together. For example, if you want people who are methodical and process-driven, you might look at engineering or science-based industries instead of The Arts. Start putting together a list of the sectors that might have your ideal client based on personality, mindset, or shared beliefs.
4. Craft messaging that resonates with the persona you want. Pictures entice, but words sell. Having the right words will resonate much better than all the fancy or witty marketing copy you can come up with because your audience will see themselves in the words you use to connect with them.
Using the example above, you might say, “Do you want a scientific method to grow your business?” or “Grow your business by the numbers.” Whereas, another type of person, may resonate better with the idea of “A picture-perfect strategy.” It’s all dependent on the kind of person you want to attract.
5. Stick to a specific set of solutions; don’t solve every problem. Another way our clients have gotten confused is by attempting to solve too many challenges at once. While Swiss Army Knives are handy, your business is not a simple tool that can be applied in various scenarios. When you solve too many problems, you become confused about whom you’re messaging to and how to connect your message. Conversely, your Avatar becomes confused by what you sell and why they should care. The more you diversify, the more you dilute.
These 5 steps should help you start to think about your avatar differently than the usual run of the mill advice you see everywhere else online. If this article does help, please share this article with more people so they can look at understanding their avatar through a different lens!