The goal of marketing for most interior design businesses is to attract prospects, convert prospects to leads and convert leads to customers.
Sounds simple, right? Well, it can be.
Many businesses begin crafting content – writing blog posts, shooting videos, posting all over the social media universe – but never attract any prospects.
The most common reason for failing to attract prospects is the business doesn’t really know who their ideal customer is. As a result, the message falls flat. It doesn’t resonate with the prospect and the message gets ignored.
Sometimes the business manages to get the prospect’s attention and they become a lead, but they fail to keep the lead engaged or fail to motivate them to take action. Thus, the lead never becomes a customer. That’s sad.
Good news! I have the solution – the Ideal Customer Avatar.
From here on out, let’s just call it the “Avatar”. Saves a few syllables.
The Avatar is a fill-in-the-blank form that describes the important attributes and characteristics your ideal customer has, that you need to know, in order to attract, engage and motivate them to hire you.
Your marketing is about to get exponentially easier.
Stick with me and I’ll explain why the Avatar is important, the elements of the Avatar and how to create a custom Avatar for your business so you can start attracting prospects, converting them to leads and then into customers.
Why is the Avatar such a big deal?
A well-crafted Avatar provides a foundation for your content, copywriting, ads, email marketing and more, by identifying the unique attributes and characteristics of your ideal customer.
The avatar also enables you to know what stirs your prospect emotionally. When you invoke emotion, you get their attention and compel them to take action like clicking a link to your blog or scheduling a consultation, signing a contract and/or sending the downpayment. But you can’t do this unless you know who they are.
Without further ado, I give you The Ideal Customer Avatar.
You can download a blank form here Ideal Customer Avatar blank form download.
Here’s a completed Avatar to refer to.
Elements of The Ideal Customer Avatar
This is your business name (shocker).
The name of the service this avatar pertains to. For example, Kitchen Redesign, Exterior Makeover
Pretty self-explanatory. Identify the goals that this person has relative to the service. For example, someone interested in a kitchen redesign may have a goal of entertaining family and friends in her newly transformed dream kitchen.
You can get this person’s attention by sending them an email showing a photo of several people enjoying themselves at a party in a modern, updated kitchen with the caption “This could be you entertaining in your new kitchen”.
What does the person value relative to the service? For example, a person may value quality.
You can get this person’s attention by highlighting the vendors you work with that are known for their quality. This information would be appropriate on the homepage of your website.
Sources of Information
List how the customer gets their information such as books, magazines, online sources, conferences, industry gurus and more.
You can get this person’s attention having a Pinterest business account and pinning inspirational kitchen redesign photos. Advertising on this platform would make a lot of sense if this is where your ideal customer spends time.
It’s important to be as narrow as possible when completing this section. The more niche the information source, the more success you’ll have.
For example, if you know the Pinterest boards they are likely to follow, list that. If there’s a niche interior design magazine they subscribe to, that would be better than Better Homes.
What are the challenges this person faces relative to the service? For example, maybe the person has no idea where to begin with the kitchen design. This provides an opportunity for you to educate them on the available options (DIY, hire professional designer, hire remodel contractor, etc).
You can deliver even more value by writing an article such as “What to look for when hiring a professional to redesign your kitchen”.
Similar to challenges, we want to identify their fears. What gives them anxiety relative to the service? For example, someone wanting a kitchen redesign may be afraid the end result is not going to match up with her vision of a dream kitchen.
Armed with this information you can really engage with the person. The email subject line could read “Are you afraid your dream kitchen will be a nightmare?”. If it were me, I’d open that email. Wouldn’t you?
Consider the reasons why your ideal customer may have apprehension about buying the service. For example, if a kitchen redesign conjures images in the mind of your prospect of doing dishes in the bathroom sink and cooking on the camping stove, you can squash this roadblock by sending a blog post titled “No you won’t have to do dishes in the bathroom sink”, which goes into detail explaining the reality of a redesign and what the customer could actually expect. (I’m assuming any kitchen sink downtown would be less than a day. I have no clue, but you get the picture).
You must know who the decision maker is and whether there are multiple. Who’s a decision influencer and who’s just along for the ride.
In a commercial environment, it’s especially important to identify all decision makers to ensure all are present during discussions. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself hashing the same topics over and over again.
Also, during the closing phase, you want to be sure you’re talking to the person authorized to sign the contract and cut the downpayment check.
Bring your Avatar to Life
Gather standard demographic information for your ideal customer. This enables you to really pinpoint your audience especially when advertising (i.e. Facebook audience definition).
Give them a name and even replace the shadow person with an actual photo. Talk about bringing the person to life!
Another trick to really understand the mind of this person is to learn a quote they like. It really tells a lot about a person and may even help target them on social.
Our sample avatar’s quote is “It’s not drinking alone if the dog is home”. This tells you they have a sense of humor, likes wine and may even be an animal lover.
Collecting Data for the Avatar
Don’t worry. You don’t need to be a statistician or Big Data guru to get the job done.
If you’re an established business you probably already have the information to complete the form based on your experiences in dealing with ideal clients. Just be sure your focus is on the clients you’d like more of, rather than the PITA tire-kickers you’d rather not deal with at all.
If you’re an existing business that doesn’t know the answers, reach out to your existing customers and ask them. Position it as you’re doing market research.
If you’re a new business that doesn’t have a customer yet, you’ll have to do some scouting. It will take a bit of time but well worth it!
- Facebook: Find a Facebook group where you ideal customers gather. Search “interior design”, click the “groups” tab and you will find many groups where they gather.
- LinkedIn: Again, find a group and observe the comments and questions.
- Hang outs: Discover other places your ideal customer hangs out and show up! Real-time networking is great. Be sure they know you’re asking for research purposes, not selling. They’ll be more likely to open up.
- Competition: Stalk your competition by reviewing their content (website content, blog posts, social media comments & responses, etc). If it’s a highly regarded and successful business you will learn about customer challenges that they’ve already discovered.
Until you have definitive information, put down your best assumption. Don’t forget to circle back and update the Avatar after you have real information. Otherwise, you may find yourself spinning your wheels churning out a message that relates to no one.
How many Avatars should I have?
You should have at least one Avatar for each service or product you offer. Ideally, you should also have an Avatar for each person you will interface with during the journey.
Commercial designers may be working with the owner, office manager, department head and more. Each has its own unique goals, challenges, and objections so you’ll want an Avatar for each of these people.
The logical next step is to download your blank avatar form and start filling it in. Remember, ask existing clients if you don’t know the answers. If you don’t have customers, get online and start stalking.
I hope you’ve realized the value of creating an Ideal Customer Avatar for your services. Your content writing, email campaigns, and marketing, in general, will become so much easier. I promise!
Print out the completed Avatar and post where you can always see it. It will soon become one of your business’s most important assets.
Questions or comments about the form? Please comment below.
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