Your Customer Avatar
So, what is a customer avatar, and how do you make one? The term “customer avatar” , is just a fancy way of describing who your customer is, what they like, where they shop and even what they look like. It’s pretty much a stand in for your ideal customer. This should never be more then one page.
1. Creating A Customer
You want to start by naming your avatar. Yeah that’s right, give this imaginary person a name. I know it might sound ridiculous, but it’s a proven fact that a name and picture help humanize your imaginary friend here. For the picture you can use any stock photo that represents your primary demographic. For example if you were targeting Caucasian men over the age of 60, you could use any photo of Mike Pence, or any other boomer.
2. Know Your Customer
After you have a name and face to represent your avatar it’s time to add his main traits such as, age, sex, location, religion, marital status, average income, number of dependents. Those are all physical traits, now you want to start listing psychological traits. These are the qualities that are really helpful when putting together a solid customer avatar. You need to figure out what they’re interests are and what kind of lifestyle they live. Hopefully you’re well versed in mind reading, but if you’re not, then you’re going to have to rely on your research.
3. Their Journey
The last part you need to include is their story. Not their epic journey through life (no matter how awesome you could make it), but the more boring journey of their discovery of your product or service. It starts with them needing a service, like a plumber. How did they go about finding them? What skills were they looking for? What are they willing to pay? Why did they choose Steve the plumber, over James the plumber? There are a ton of different methods, get creative and see what works for you.
If this feels overly complicated, or you feel like you’re lacking the research then you might want to hire someone for marketing. If you used a marketing team or a freelancer then you might want to go over the information with them so that you fully understand it. If you pay for research that you don’t understand then you’re wasting your money.
3. What do You Need to Make and Move Your Product?
No matter what you’re trying to sell, you need to know what it takes to get your product or service up and running. Say you were opening a restaurant, you would need a physical location, ingredients, recipes, appliances, cooks, servers, etc. You also need to know how you’re going to sell your product. For example, the restaurant would be selling your food from a physical location and offering delivery.
If you are providing a service and not a physical product, you might think you can skip this section, but you’re wrong. No matter the service you’re going to provide you are still going to need a space to operate. Even if you operate from home, you will still need a home office, website, laptop, software, liquid caffeine, etc. Try and think of as many expenses as possible (past, present, and future).
Will you be selling through amazon, social media, a website, or some other platform? These are things you need to have figured out before you can get your business up and running.
4. How Are You Going to Advertise?
There are so many ways to advertise, but let’s break it up into two sections, physical and digital.
Types of physical advertising are;
● Direct Mail
● Newspaper Ads
The benefits of these ads are that they allow your demographic to physically see something that is available to them regionally. These types of advertising campaigns work extremely well for local businesses. The better the advertising, the better the sales. Flyers are great for events, brochures are very informative, but you can’t crumple up and throw away a billboard. Online advertising is a little more complex and can take on the forms of ads that don’t look like an ad, and these can put some people off to your product.
● Email Campaigns
● Landing Pages
● Social Media
● Web Content
Your marketing plan will help you to figure out which specific methods work better for your target consumer. This usually involves using a blend of both physical and digital advertising. It’s important to only use advertising that will bring in potential customers without pushing them away.
How you sell something and who you’re selling to are intertwined, so don’t spend money on advertising without first researching (you guessed it), your target demographic.
5. What is Your Distribution Method?
With so many companies offering the ability to download digital content, and deliver almost everything else to you, how do you plan your methods of delivery accordingly. You could operate out of a building, a website, a social medium platform, or all three. You could send packages out or email prospective clients, whatever works for you. If you’re not sure what method works the best, you can use your market research or you can look at what competitors are doing, and see what works for them. One of the more creative ways to operate is to partner up with a business that sells to the same demographic you do but offers a different product. This can be mutually beneficial.
An example of this is GoPro & Red Bull. Red bull is one of the most successful energy drink companies out there. Their viral marketing campaigns are genius, and they speak directly to their demographic in clever ways. GoPro was created so that the founder (Nick Woodman) and his fellow surfers could film themselves under water with the goal to eventually be professional surfers hence the name, “Go Pro”. The company blew up from there and allowed anyone on the go to record anything and everything. The target demographics overlap and allow both companies to reach more people and provide their customers with a way to capture their crazy outings and energize themselves while doing it.
Finding a business that offers your demographic a service you can’t, could be a huge opportunity you don’t want to miss. Reach out to businesses that you think would benefit from your service and see if it’s something they would be interested in. Even if they won’t partner up initially, at least you’re creating a network. Having connections to different businesses, vendors, event coordinators, etc., will be crucial to the growth of your business.
6. How Will Management be Structured?
You will need to know who your management team is going to be. What are their salaries, job titles and qualifications? You need to make sure you have all of this information before you actually present itself in your business plan.
Depending on the size of your business this could be a very large list, but you can make it more visually stimulating by using a table or chart to organize this information. This section is not only for structuring out your management plan, it’s also for presenting your team. Your board of directors should also be listed separately along with any partners, and what percentage of the company they own.
7. How Much is it Going to Cost?
Take all of the above information and figure out the most your business is going to cost, and then go through it all again item by item.
I would suggest hiring an accountant for this job. You can’t be ready for every single cost, but professional help can improve your chances.
Make sure your number is as accurate as possible, or you’ll end up having to come back for more money more often. If you go to multiple investors and they think you’re asking for too much money, then look back over your plan and see if there is any cost you can trim off.