There’s no doubt having an avatar of your ideal client makes a difference when you’re writing for business.
At last, someone in your sights as you create blog posts, emails and newsletters, videos and podcasts.
Constructing an avatar means you have a picture of the person who will relate most to your message. You’ll know her age and occupation, what she earns and where she lives, her dreams, and the difficulties you can help her with. Most avatars even have a name. It’s a great way to help imagine someone who’s real.
Except an avatar isn’t a person.
An avatar is a collection of characteristics from your existing and ideal customers.
It’s a good start but if it’s all you’ve got, you’re short-changing yourself and your audience.
That’s because people are a mass of contradictions. Basing your writing around a single idealised customer can make the end result feel forced and sales-y. It can make it harder, not easier, to write to real people.
Why write to real people?
Because audiences are sick of being sold to. They’re sick of writing that’s all about the sell. They want to hear from real people about the work they do, and what it could mean for them.
So to be real ourselves, we have to start talking to real people. That carefully constructed avatar is a good start but it’s not going far enough.
You’re already halfway there.
Having an avatar means you know a lot about your customers. You might have kept records of what people have said about your service or product, or the reason they found you in the first place. Or maybe you’re not that organised but you do remember the feedback you get and the things you’ve learned about clients.
That’s great because everything you’ve used to create that single, representative identity (your avatar) can help you create individual profiles for real people, who connect with what you have to say and sell.
The power is in personality profiles
The way to do it is to pick at least six people who have been good for your business. They may have bought from you or referred somebody who has. It’s handy to include someone you’d love to have as a customer, as long as you can find out enough to feel you know them.
For each of those people, have a separate document where you will record everything you know. Think of it like creating a bio for each person. It’s the sort of information you gathered for your avatar but this time, it’s real people. Be sure to have their photo in your document as well: looking at each face will help you speak to them as you write. And most of all use their actual name whenever you think of them.
These people represent your market. Real people, not a made-up outline of someone who doesn’t exist.
Write for an audience, not an avatar
Knowing more about your right people puts personality onto the bones of your avatar. You’ll have a target audience instead of a target client. Think of it like giving a presentation. As you speak, your eyes connect with people. At that moment you are speaking to one person, but you are still addressing the room as a whole.
That’s how it is to write for an audience – you speak to one person at a time but still reach a range of individuals.
Knowing who they are will help you write in a way that’s genuine and original. A way that feels right to you, and to your audience.