Are You Spending Your Marketing Money in the Right Place? How Creating a Customer Avatar Helps

shutterstock_380931871.jpg

Knowing who your customers are is crucial to developing a marketing strategy that gives you a decent return on investment. A huge chunk of your marketing budget could be spent in the wrong place, on platforms not used by your customers, or on content your customers aren’t interested in and written in a way that doesn’t speak to your customer’s personality.

The trick to spending money on marketing the right way is figuring out who your customers really are. What are they interested in? Where do they hang out, not only physically but online? What are their pains and problems and how can you solve them? Creating a customer avatar helps you laser-focus your marketing strategy by answering exactly where you should be spending your advertising budget to maximize exposure, what types of offers to use to gain the most conversions, and what tone of voice is most suitable for engaging with your customers.

The best way to understand your customer is to create something called a customer avatar or buyer persona. Once you have answered the questions above, and many more important ones, this customer avatar is used as a cheat sheet to build your marketing strategy around. Using a customer avatar is a way to get into your customer’s head and will give you vital insights into what to say, how to say it, and where to say it.

When creating a customer avatar, it’s important to know what questions to ask and what information you want to get out of it. It can be helpful to start by giving your avatar a name, age and gender. This is the beginning step to creating a customer avatar that feels “real.” The more you know about your customer avatar and the more relatable it is the better. Relationship status, occupation, income, and education are all great demographic indicators to include as well.

Now that you have your basics down, it’s time to look into specific personality traits and interests. As you start to flesh out your customer avatar, this is where things become really interesting. What type of products and services does your customer avatar use? What newspapers, magazines, and blogs do they read and what websites do they visit? What physical locations do they spend their time at? Once you have the answers to these questions, it starts to become more clear as to how you can apply this information when planning your marketing spend. Knowing exactly where your customers are makes it easy to direct your marketing effort to those places, whether it be online or in real life.

Psychological factors also place a huge part in knowing your customers. What traits do they possess that you can use as part of your marketing strategy? Personality plays a huge role in crafting marketing messages and content that resonates with your customers, as does tone of voice and what kind of incentives they’re drawn to. Knowing their pains, problems, and frustrations gives you the tools to easily craft solutions for them.

You might find when creating a customer avatar that you can’t narrow it down to just one. This is common, especially among medium-to-larger-sized restaurants, and it’s an easy issue to overcome — simply create separate avatars for your different types of customers. Still, you don’t want to end up with 15+ different avatars. Try and select your top three most typical customers, which could be something along the lines of the lunch customer, the dinner customer, and the weekend/evening customer.

Restaurants in particular have a lot of crossover when it comes to its customers. You’ll often find that your average lunch customer will eventually become a dinner customer, and in turn, will at some point become a weekend/evening customer. This technique used when creating a customer avatar allows you to bundle what would’ve otherwise been multiple avatars into one or two.

There might also be a case for combining avatars when you know that two certain groups of customers share similar traits, such as in the event you have one group who comes for dinner and one that comes for dinner but stays for drinks. In this case, you can create a single avatar for the two and use the same language and offers for both as they will share a lot of common behaviors.

Once you’ve fully understood who your customers are, you’ll have a much easier time marketing to them. The saying “you can’t hit a target you haven’t set” is especially appropriate here and you’ll find that once you have your target customer in mind. everything else will start to fall into place. Creating a marketing strategy aimed at a much less abstract audience will give you a more profitable return on your marketing investment.