All too often, we dive head-first into marketing. We have a creative ad or event idea and we’re eager to see it come to life. While swift action can be valuable, there is tremendous value in pumping the brakes and making sure you have clarity around your target audience.
Why? Better targeting, when linked to all of your marketing and messaging decisions, usually leads to better results. It’s often helpful to look at decisions through the lens of a client “avatar,” a fictitious person that represents your ideal client.
This doesn’t need to be the start of an MBA thesis. By asking a few simple questions, you’ll have all the information you need for better marketing. Here’s how to get started:
- Outline their demographics
- Determine their needs
- Identify their pain points
- Consider buyer reluctance
- Identify their lifestyle
- Examine their media usage
To get started, you’ve got to think about the characteristics that make up your ideal client. This must go beyond their level investments, which is hard to identify from afar. We find it helpful to start by looking for commonality amongst your current clients, as this is the best indication of those you serve best.
- How old are they?
- Where do they live?
- What’s their marital status?
- What level of education have they completed?
- What is their job title?
- What is their occupation?
- What are the ages of their children?
- What is their annual income?
- How much do they have in investable assets?
- What is their net worth?
Now that you’ve identified them, let’s focus on their needs and how you help solve them. Answer the following questions:
- What are they trying to achieve by hiring you?
- What services are most important to them?
- What is the tipping point that makes them want to engage you?
- How does your service make them feel?
- What is something you provide these clients that your competition does not?
- To what extent do they leverage your technology?
#3: Pain Points
Next, identify what is keeping them up at night. What are the problems they experience that you can help solve? Think through questions like…
- What worries them the most?
- What problems do they encounter by not having a good financial advisor?
- What challenges are common with their stage of life?
Next, consider why someone may decide to not hire you. When you consider potential objections ahead of time, you can squash them before they ever come up.
- What is the most common objection they have?
- Have they worked with a financial advisor before?
- Are they typically very fee sensitive?
- Do they seek to compare investment returns?
Let’s dig into their day-to-day behavior – we want to know what makes them “tick.” Seek to gain some insight into their life by answering the following questions:
- Where do they spend their time?
- What brands do they like most?
- Do they play any recreational sports?
- What conferences do they attend?
- What are their biggest hobbies and passions?
- Do they own multiple homes?
- Where do they vacation?
- What’s their favorite restaurant?
- Do they support any charities?
Finally, let’s take a hard look at where they get their information. Answer questions like what are their favorite…
- What websites do they frequent?
- Which social networks do they prefer?
- What podcasts are most popular with them?
- What type of books do they read?
- What type of videos do they watch online?
Once you’ve answered all the above questions, give your avatar a name. We know that sounds cheesy, but it really helps to bring your avatar to life and streamlines internal communication. Here’s a quick example.
Billy Business Owner is 55 years old, married, and has kids in college. He owns a thriving local business and is heavily involved in the community. On the weekends, you’ll often find him playing golf at XYZ Country Club or having dinner at ABC restaurant. Financially, he’s doing quite well, earning $500,000 per year and has investable assets of $2 million. He’s nearing a point where his kids are out of the house, but may soon be caring for aging parents. He has multiple financial advisors, is conscious of the fees he pays, and values investment returns over financial planning. In his down time, he enjoys Ted Talks and listening to NPR, especially on topics of politics and running a small business.
This may seem arbitrary for some. After all, it’s an amalgamation of various clients that may perfectly identify any one specific prospect. But it’s been our experience that with this type of information in hand, you’ll run better ads, be more targeted in your events, improve your messaging to COIs, and so on. It takes a little work, but it provides depth to your target market and clarity for your team. So…who is your avatar?
Now that you’ve read through our suggestions, put pen to paper and get working!
We’ve created a handy worksheet to go along with this article, which you can download for free by just clicking the button below!