The best investment of your time when doing any in online/digital marketing, is to begin by identifying your customers to determine exactly who your target audience (or Customer Avatar) is, so that everything you do has focus, result in more money.
By knowing who your customer is, you will instantly improve your marketing results and of course, your cash flow.
This works in offline business too – and is actually one of the first things you will learn in business school, but as most of us (including me… lol) never actually had any official training to teach us how to run a business, it’s something that often gets skipped or glossed over.
Don’t EVER let anyone make you feel bad for not having studied professionally, or give that as a reason why you are struggling with your business online.
I know more MUCH more successful business owners who learn as they go. I’m not belittling those who have studied, all power to ya! Knowledge most definitely is power – but, by being here on this page, reading with the purpose of further developing a business you are creating puts you are ahead of those who just have training – taking action wins over inactive book smarts every time.
Why Should You Care About Identifying your Customers Avatar in the First Place?
The most important indication of a company’s success is what its customers think about its products. You might have the best product in the world and still fail if you don’t correctly identify who you’re building the product (whether a blog, marketing campaign for affiliate product, or a full blown software platform) for and where your marketing messages could reach them.
When you create your customer avatars – you know what their clients need, where to reach them, what they’re thinking, how they act online and what they want to buy… the only part you then need to figure out before getting ridiculously rich is what is the right product for them and how to deliver it in a way that will encourage them to open their wallet.
And now with so many tools available it is easier to build your targeted audience than ever!
How to Build a Solid Consumer Avatar: The Tools
It’s always great to have your assumptions confirmed by facts, and that’s why you should consider using some or all of the tools we’ll dive into in a minute. Many times “knowing” or “feeling” a new product will be a hit proves to be a poor indicator of later success, and most times this happens because business owners didn’t invest enough time in researching what their audience is really up to online or in private.
Luckily, you can increase your chances of success with a fact-solid consumer avatar! The tools you can use to create it are very diverse, but they cover 3 essential functions:
- Establish the size of a market
- Give you insights on nation-wide trends
- Allow you uncover what your individual consumers actually think and do
By using them in different stages of developing your product or combining them to create a sophisticated customer avatar, you’ll manage to really improve your marketing and sales results.
Letís start with the tools that help you establish the size of a market:
1. The U.S. Census Bureau / Any National Census Department
There’s no need to guess how many people over the age of 64 y.o. live in the United States – you can access the data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s website. The same goes for finding out what’s the median gross rent in Massachusetts and how it compares to the rest of the US. The large volume of data can help you establish how big a market could be and then use that for identifying your customer better. It can also show you how big are the differences between states regarding a family’s income and how many registered businesses there are in any county or zip code.
Best for: The U.S. Census Bureau’s website can prove to be a valuable assistant during your initial phases of writing a business plan and appraising the size of various markets. The same goes for other national census bureaus. The only issue is that all these websites are usually very intricate and less friendly than your average website so they might eat up a lot of your time.
2. Quantcast & 3. Alexa
Let’s say you know what websites your ideal customers are using. By using Quantcast and/or Alexa to check the estimated traffic for those websites, you can start seeing the size of a particular market. Also, you can tell which one of those website gives you the best opportunity to reach more of the people you target.
Best for: Quantcast and Alexa will help you when you don’t have much info to start with. Their estimates aren’t exactly accurate for all websites, but they do allow you to identifying your customer and the key websites in any niche & what your consumers are most likely reading/visiting.
4. Facebook Ads Manager
When you know what’s the penetration rate for Facebook in the age group you’re interested in, you can calculate, even if not 100% accurately, how many people could buy your product. Let’s say you’re selling party supplies for young guys living in Los Angeles. Facebook Ads Manager will tell you there are 1.1 million men in the 21-31 years old age group, and that 6.600 of them have a birthday coming up in 30 days. And let’s say you know that 50% of the men that age use Facebook. That means you could make an educated guess about how many guys are going to need party supplies in the next 30 days.
Facebook Ads Manager is also, of course, a great tool for advertising to your target surveys that would help you shed more light onto what is it that they do and think and want.
Best for: For many online marketers, Facebook is the go-to tool for identifying how big a niche is. The many ways of targeting people can allow you to find out how many potential customers you have going about their business on Facebook. Since Facebook advertising is cheap in comparison to many other options, some marketers aren’t even thinking about the few people who aren’t on Facebook yet.
Now itís time to check out the tools that give you insights on nation-wide trends!
5. The Marketer’s Almanac
Google loves businesses and good marketing, that’s why they are happy to share valuable insights about what consumers do online. By tapping into their stream of insights, and selecting the info relevant to your core target, you can get a better picture when it comes to identifying your customers, who they are and what they do.
For example, if your core target is represented by young dads, the Marketer’s Almanac will show you that Millennial dads strive to be amazing parents, that they turn to the web in their time of need, and many more valuable insights.
Best for: The Marketer’s Almanac is an easy to use tool that is perfect for uncovering or checking your assumptions against statistical data when you don’t have the budget to conduct the market research yourself. Because it operates with nation-wide stats and search trends, it might be more helpful to you if you’re launching a mass-market product than a niche one.
Nielsen’s MyBestSegments is a top level tool, used by professionals from many fields, and you’ll understand why in a second. MyBestSegments offers people a glance into an area’s particular lifestyle and demographics. You can search for info about specific demographic groups by life stage, education, employment, household income, family composition and so much more.
For each segment, you’ll get insights on their demographics traits and also for their lifestyle & media traits.
Best for: It’s one of the best tools available to find out what brands the people in your target group already buy, what are their media habits, and what they do for leisure, and it’s free.
7. Pew Research Center
The Pew Research Center is a fact tank conducting public opinion polls, researching and publishing their findings on various demographic segments, and doing a wide range of data-driven research. By going through their reports, you can uncover valuable knowledge about your ideal customers. You can find out about the living arrangements of young adults, how working parents share housework, what issues do middles class families struggle with, and what their perspective on life is, and this is only a tiny part of the available insights.
Best for: It’s a great resource for understanding social trends and how they impact your customers, how society is changing, and how the needs of your clients might change in the future.
Now let’s quickly go through the tools that will help you discover what your individual consumers actually think and do! You’ll see there are many points where you can start.
8. WolframAlpha Facebook Report
You can start finding out more about your ideal customers directly on your Facebook profile. If you’re like most online marketers, your Facebook profile has become a magnet for customers and potential customers, or maybe you’ve added them to your network yourself.
WolframAlpha has built a tool that allows you to analyse your profile and friends for free in under a minute. You’ll find out what are your most liked or commented posts, which are your top commenters, friends locations, ages, genders, relationship status, etc.
Best for: It’s a fun and easy way of looking at your Facebook friends as a demographic segment.
It’s easy to get to understand your customers when you ask them what you’d like to know. To make the process efficient for you and delightful for your customers, Typeform created the most user-friendly survey form that ever existed.
Best for: Typeform is fantastic for taking a closer look at what your customers desire and do, with one question at a time, like a natural conversation would go.
When your consumer avatar is almost ready or already done and you’re only looking to polish the image you already composed, you might find ClickInsights to be the perfect tool. What it does is to send email surveys to your customers. For each survey, there’s only one question and up to 10 possible responses. To respond, your customers only have to click on one of the listed possible answers.
Best for: If you’re selling a digital product or have a membership website, ClickInsightsIO will help you improve your offer and better serve your customers.
With these 10 tools, you are on your way to identifying your customers, defining your consumer avatar and have a much more educated guess about who your ideal client really is. Remember that a great consumer avatar is one that is frequently used to remind you who you’re talking to through everything you do.
Did you like this article? Don’t forget to hit share!