There are many ways to harness customer avatar work to inform your content strategy and create customer centric content and copy. This helps align what you write about, when and where to write what, and how to connect and nurture your audience in a way that converts clicks to clients.
In this article, the final part 3 of 3, you’ll learn what you can use your avatar for, in terms of really informing and driving your content planning and copywriting.
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Let’s first just do a quick recap…
In part 1 – we looked at defining your ideal customer, why creating an ideal customer avatar actually matters, how to simplify the process and avoid common mistakes.
Then in part 2, we moved into the more practical process of constructing your buyer persona. And we walked through an ICA ideal client avatar creation exercise, and I shared a worksheet with you to keep going and go deeper.
If you haven’t gone through all of that, that’s the starting place. Because we can talk about content planning and copy, but we’re really homing in on using your avatar as a driving force to create that resonant identity with the people that you are actually writing to, and the messaging that you are using.
And now in this final third part, we’re going to focus on how to harness that avatar for content planning and copywriting. And it’s going to bridge us into my next planned topics.
We’ll dive deeper into how you create content and write great copy, but looking at it from a more strategic angle. It will help you think about what is the intention of each piece, where it fits into the customer journey.
I’m really looking forward to doing those episodes because they’re really like my favourite topics. It all aligns beautifully with brand positioning and all of your pricing strategies even. It’s all about just connecting in with your market.
Harnessing Your ICA Blueprint
We’ve talked about an ICA as a key blueprint for your business and really started to build out some detail – not loads and loads of detail that isn’t relevant, but really the detail that helps you write to a specific person or speak to a specific person and really using avatar driven marketing and sales strategies.
That was the grand plan. I hope that you got a lot out of the first parts, in the sense of getting some clarity. My aim was to help you understand how to connect with your ideal customer or client when you are writing, when you’re writing a script or a speech or a talk.
You want to really connect in with what, what is it about those people. What’s their life like, what’s going on for them? What are the challenges?
When you really get that framework or avatar blueprint into play, that’s when you reap the benefits on the practical task of writing some content or writing copy, whether emails or whether it’s an article, it doesn’t really matter, it’s helping you think about what’s the purpose, what’s the audience and what’s the occasion?
So we talked a bit about why a customer avatar is important and you know, sometimes people think, oh, it’s a bit of a process that I can kind of just go through quickly and I’ll come back to, but you know, then you come up and get really stuck.
People get really stuck with that blank piece of paper in terms of topics because you are not really thinking from your customer’s perspective. You’re thinking about your own expertise and your topic list and what I can write about today. And so you really want to flip that on its head.
Once you’ve got an avatar, it becomes so much easier and you really can get into connecting and just like having a conversation with your ideal customer.
So essentially, this ideal customer avatar is a working picture. Of who you serve that you can use to make decisions about your offer and your marketing and your sales pitch. And I realised in the other sessions, and I think I said this, that I, I’m probably labouring the point quite a lot, but. You know, it’s, it’s so important.
There’s so many misconceptions and myths about avatars and so a lot of people have just really been put off by putting the time and effort in. So, I wanted to open up that box so that you don’t fall into the common traps when creating marketing personas.
So, if you haven’t gone through that – I hope I’m selling it to you. I really suggest that you do that because it’s going to help, uh, an absolute turn. Even fleshing it out a little bit is going to give you a huge jumpstart on any lead magnets, content marketing emails, other communication that you are doing with prospective customers right now.
With a clear ICA, your content and copy are going to resonate better; you are going to have higher return on investment; and you’re going to close more sales. So, if that’s not risk to do it, then I don’t know what is.
We also already talked about the fact that your ideal customer, your avatar, is already a client – so, the best place to start really getting into the demographic, but most importantly, the psychographic, is to start with your very best clients.
If you went through part two and used to worksheet I gave you to keep going with the ICA exercise, you should have ended up with a blueprint for your ideal avatar and that should start you off well going into the process of content planning and copywriting.
Maybe you culminated that work shopping with creating your visual representation of your avatar as well with some of the tools that I gave you, which is where you bring your avatar to life.
What we’re doing in this article is move into application how to. Use your ideal client avatar to inform and drive all of your content planning and copy. So let’s just get crystal clear on what are we doing this for?
Remember what an ICA is good for and why you need it. So, if you need to go back and really get motivated, go to part one for that.
You also want to get crystal clear appreciating how someone feels if you truly know and understand them. When you focus every piece of content and every conversation on your I C A, you are way more likely to attract and engage that perfect person.
Imagine the customer journey path also from your avatar’s perspective. What level of awareness have they got that you need to start with? And how do you kind of move them forward in terms of what they need to know, understand and believe in order to be open to your offer or to working with you.
And most of all, use your ICA to keep different parts of your business aligned. Sometimes people have different kinds of offers that serve different segments of the audience, or there’s a progression where people will start with something foundational and move up to working with you at a higher or deeper level.
To sum up:
- Get crystal clear on what an ICA is good for and why you need it.
- Appreciate how someone feels when you truly know & understand them.
- Focus each and every piece of content and every conversation on your ICA to attract & engage that perfect person.
- Imagine the customer journey path from your avatar’s perspective.
- Most of all, use your ICA to help keep the different parts of your business aligned.
Believe it or not, people online want to connect to a real person.
Does no good if your resonant identity is aligned with avatar1 (let’s say women over 65) but your offer and/or path are misaligned (for example you’re taking them through a funnel and messaging geared toward young consumers or you’re publishing or sharing content on a platform that is more frequented by a younger demographic).
Why Using Negative Personas Can Save Your Time & Money
What we’ve done last article is one simple exercise and you can see we only scratched the surface in a quick brainstorm – but keep working on it. And talk to people, because that’s one of the best ways to build this out. When people are talking about their capture their problem language, their words and phrases, the expressions they use.
As well as creating your ideal customer avatar, one thing I haven’t mentioned in the earlier episodes is about creating negative personas as well.
Your marketing budget and time is limited, so it’s important you don’t waste it marketing to people who will never buy from you – or will only buy once. That’s why negative personas are also important.
Just as you need to know how to spot an ideal customer, you need to know how to recognise an un-ideal customer and avoid putting your message in front of them.
A negative persona helps you do exactly that. Just as a normal persona profiles the characteristics and habits of people you want to attract, a negative persona does the same thing for the people you want to repel or avoid. This is useful so you get clear what kind of messages and environments to refrain from.
What you don’t want to do is sit in your bat cave trying to figure this out on your own. You can start with data you have and things you know, and you can go back through past client calls and discovery conversations.
Keeping Up with Our Changing Market Environment
You can gather fresh up-to-date information, important because there an awful lot that’s changing out there in the big wide world. No business can afford to rest on our laurels based on what we knew from years ago, or even one year ago.
And when you continuously improve your awareness and currency of your target market and particularly your ideal customer avatar, you can get a much closer alignment and a much deeper connection, because you’re able to layer in more nuanced languaging.
What this means in practice is that the copy you write to connect and nurture your audience will get much better engagement, and much better conversions. I’ve helped a lot of people go full deep on this to create what’s often called a messaging map or messaging platform.
A messaging map or messaging platform is essentially a document that describes what your business or company should say about itself. It’s not necessary – but if you’re in a muddle, it’s very useful to map stuff out, in my experience.
And by copy, I mean everything from your website pages to your emails, using your avatar as a foundation is basically going to help improve the performance of every touchpoint in your customer journey, be it landing pages, sales letters, proposals, videos, webinars, right through to your sales conversations and customer service auto-replies.
Because your avatar gives you a really detailed blueprint both for your marketing strategy and content plan in general and for the copy you use to drive people from one touchpoint to the next.
In the grand scheme of things – ICA work is at the heart and soul of your business and underpins all your targeting, positioning, messaging, branding, offers and pricing.
Are you motivated now to really make sure you’re doing this effectively? I hope so, because it really is one of the ultimate leveraged business strategies you can do – even though it’s foundational.
Staying General vs. Niching Down
When you think about the work you may be doing or have done on your ideal client avatar, the most obvious rule you’re following is that of niching down, which means narrowing your audience. This goes beyond just selecting one segment of a particular market or industry, it means really specialising.
Here are a few ‘for instances’:
- You may work with technical companies but you specialise in working with manufacturing businesses and help them with something specific like logistics;
- You may work with female entrepreneurs, but your specialism is working with women business owners over 50 or mom-preneurs;
- You may work with leaders but you specialise working with those who are new to a leadership role or early career professionals.
And once you’ve clarified things at that layer, it’s way easier and clear how to go deep in your messaging to get to their specific pain points and challenges, and relate that back to what you do to, why it’s important to those specific people and what specifically it changes for THEM in their situation.
And that’s where you’ll have the biggest aha moment about the OFFER that’s right for them, and right for them right now – which is why you should constantly be doing market research in the sense of a new offer or just being in tune with the environment in which your people are working and the new as well as the old challenges that are coming up for them.
And over the pandemic we’ve seen, and are still seeing, some significant shifts in priorities, what businesses are facing and what customers want, that’s different to what they wanted 5 years ago, 2 years ago, even 3-6 months ago in some cases.
Mindmapping Your Core vs. Wider Positioning
If you need more clarity, create a mind map or think about things in concentric circles where your brand positioning is the whole target board and your current or CORE offer is the bull’s eye. It really helps you get focused and cut through all the bits to find the really important bits for what you’re focusing on promoting.
Tell your avatar’s story and bring them to life!
- Give her a name (alliteration is key to keep the avatar memorable; like Career Coach Cathy or Hectic Henry)
- Find an appropriate stock photo or use an avatar generator
- Create a story illustrating her hopes, desires, and fears
You have to put yourself in your customers’ shoes, understand their pain points, fears, and desires. By doing this, you can better create content that will resonate with your audience and get you new customers.
Have you started creating your avatars? What are their names?
Think about any conversations you’ve had with people who are your ideal customer…
- How do they talk about what they need?
- Where do they look for answers and guidance?
- Imagine it’s your avatar… what would ‘Jerry’ be reading or watching?
- Now imagine what they might type into their browser…
Google the question you think your avatar would ask when looking for help with their problem.
Build your content themes and topics and point of view marketing around these questions. We’ll go into more next episode on how to create your content strategy and start planning out your content.
How to Create Content for Your Target Audience
Just how do you go about creating amazing content for your target audience. Here are a few important tips to help you get started.
#1 – Identify Questions Your Avatar Might Ask
Think about any market research conversations you’ve had – how does your ideal customer talk about what they need, what are they searching for. How does your avatar ask about their problem or challenge?
I like to google the question that I think my avatar asks when they’re looking for help with a specific problem.
#2 – Audience Research Tools
If you’re drawing a blank thinking about questions people search for, there are some great tools you can use that will give you a fantastic steer on your content topics – and keywords to use for search engine optimisation (SEO) purposes.
#3 – Find Topics Your Target Audience Cares About
Before you can start creating content, you need to find out what topics your target audience cares about. The best way to do this is by doing some research and paying attention to the things they are talking about online.
This is an excellent opportunity to take a second look at your target audience’s pain points. What can you do to help them make that pain go away?
#4 – Research the Kind of Content They Prefer
Once you have a good understanding of the topics your target audience cares about, you can start to think about the kind of content you can create.
You’ll want to make sure you are creating content that is interesting and useful to them. You can do this by thinking about the types of challenges they are trying to solve or the goals they are trying to achieve.
But most importantly here, you’re thinking about the way your audience likes to consume content and how they learn best. Do they like to read, listen or watch? Do they like content that’s interactive?
#5 – Align with your Ideal Customer’s Level of Awareness
- Unaware: they are blissfully ignorant of their need, however serious, so they won’t understand the benefits of what you’re about or what you do
- Symptom Aware: they are experiencing symptoms of the problem, but have not yet understood the cause
- Problem Aware: they are aware that they have a problem, or they are aware that they have a desire
- Solution Aware: they are aware of their problem, and have begun seeking solutions for it. But, they have likely misdiagnosed the real problem and are therefore looking for the wrong solutions.
#6 – Create Content for Different Parts of the Funnel
When creating content, it’s crucial to think about the different parts of the funnel. Not all content is created equal, and you’ll want to make sure you are targeting the right content to the right people.
At the top of the funnel, you’ll want to focus on creating content that allows people to discover you. It’s got to be interesting and hooks their interest, as well as starts to introduce your target audience to your product or service.
As you move down the funnel, you’ll want to focus on creating content that is more specific and helps your target customer understand how your product or service can help them solve their challenges or reach their goals.
Email Nurturing Copy
For email nurturing, think about the series of messages you’re creating as a conversation you’d have with your avatar. Be sure when you’re drafting your emails, you imagine your ideal person is sitting with you.
Imagine your avatar – what would you ACTUALLY say to them? And then, write as you’d speak – don’t over formalise the language you use. It really lands much easier with people and creates more of an emotional connection.
Remember the old adage, it’s not what you say it’s how you say it, right?
Think about what would grab your ICA’s attention – what’s a hot button for them?
Check that you’re truly meeting your avatar where they’re at in terms of their level of awareness and understanding of what you’re talking about.
Help them to see their problem or challenge in a new light, add some perspective or your specific point of view. Because they might not be clear on the benefits of your offer, and they may have heard others talk about the issue or problem in a different way, So don’t assume they’ll just “get it”.
Make sure you have a clear call to action (or CTA) – something of benefit, something compelling or inviting or intriguing.
One thing I see people overlook in a piece of content or copy is guiding or telling people what to do next. Let them know what you’re suggesting as the next action step, and why that’s a good idea – that is, what’s in it for them that they might benefit from.
Top 3 Benefits of Identifying Your ICA
By way of a recap, the top three benefits of getting crystal clear on your ideal customer align with three steps that people get very stuck at, which with a strong ICA become way easier!
1 – Understanding Your Ideal Customer
2 – Finding Your Ideal Customers
3 – Connecting with Your Ideal Customers
All the information you’re building around your ideal customer avatar will help you understand, find and connect better with your perfect people.
Start with the demographics and figure out all the basic personal information. This will give you a detailed look at why your customers behave the way they do.
Then, dig deeper and think about the psychology behind these people. Consider their goals/values, concerns, challenges, and lifestyle.
Figure out where your customers are likely to spend most of their time gaining information, learning and connecting with like-minded other people.
By combining everything, you will create a customer persona that gives you so much information. You can even create a fun cartoon to go with it!
Instantly, you breathe life into your avatar and give them a more personal feel.
When you personify your ideal customer, you’ll know exactly how to market and advertise your products/services to appeal directly to this specific avatar.
And it helps you save money during marketing. You’ll only be pay for things and use ideas that will work, rather than wasting it on concepts that don’t appeal to your ideal people.
In next article, we’ll go much deeper into content marketing side of this. And then we’ll turn to copywriting …
I want to help you develop a content strategy that will totally fit both your strengths and your potential clients’ customer journey and how they like to consume content. And then we’ll turn to the job of copy and give you some copywriting frameworks for how to really connect with your ideal target audience and move them to engage with you and become hyper responsive.
Lots of great stuff coming up… til the next time.