At work he has two other employees besides himself, one receptionist and one assistant. They have 3 Windows computers and two printers networked together in a Workgroup. It is imperative that these computers are operational and that patient data is backuped up properly, which is why I am on retainer with them and perform regular repairs and maintenance on their systems.
Because he runs his own business, he also calls on me to design and update his website, since he knows these are services I perform. I also help out with his website’s SEO and social media needs from time to time.
At home Dr. Haywood has one desktop computer, one laptop, and a tablet. Here, he and his wife are most concerned with checking email, making the internet safe for their kids, and keeping their family pictures secure. I helped them set up their network at home and I visit once every three months to perform a quarterly maintenance and cleanup. They also call me every now and then when something goes wrong or they have question.
Doug lives in a single family home in an upper middle class neighborhood. He coaches one of his children’s soccer teams and is active in the local community. Dr. Haywood is easy to work with and always pays on time. And because I have such a good relationship with him, he always recommends me to his friends and colleagues which keeps me busy with referrals.
Doug Haywood is my perfect customer.
He’s also fake.
Dr. Haywood exists nowhere but in my mind. He’s a conglomeration of a few different customers I’ve had in the past and he is a detailed example of what I look for in a customer. But why did I spend so much time dreaming up a fake customer? Have all these years of staring at a monitor and breathing in computer case dust driven me insane?
Well, maybe. But in this case I’m simply employing an old marketing technique by personifying the ideal customer into an “avatar”. No I’m not talking the tall blue aliens from the James Cameron movie, in this case an avatar is a representation of someone that either exists or that I HOPE exists.
You Are What You Dream
The law of attraction states that you draw in the type of people that you think you should. In other words, happy people will normally have happy friends while negative people often attract other negative people.
By detailing the perfect customer in your avatar, you are able to visualize the exact type of person that you want to attract to your business. Once you do that, then you can focus your marketing and service offerings on that customer.
It has been shown time and time again that small businesses do better when they segment and target their marketing at a small niche of customers. This helps you save time and money while at the same time earning the trust of this segment. You end up with more loyal customers than you would if you just try to appeal to the masses.
Creating an avatar is like taking your target market to the extreme. Once you know the profile of your ideal customer, you can get in his or her head and figure out how to best reach out to that person. Where do they live, where do they travel, where do they find services that they need? What kind of message will resonate with them? The more detailed you can get, the easier it will be to find them.
After all, wouldn’t you rather have 100 ideal clients (that pay you what you’re worth and come back to you over and over) than 500 pain-in-the-neck customers (that pay late, try to haggle your price down, and complain all the time)?
So how do you get started building your own avatar?
Building Your Ideal Computer Consulting Client Client
Start by closing your eyes and thinking of the clients you currently have that you love getting a call from. Then think of WHY you love getting a call from them. Take all of those positive aspects and write them down.
Next, fill out a form with the traits of your ideal client, using the existing clients you were just thinking of as a guide. Think of this as an “avatar application form”. Don’t be afraid to be super detailed, and have fun! Here are some ideas to get you started.
- Marital Status
- Workplace (business type, # of employees, location, hours)
- Neighborhood (single family home, apartment, city, rural, etc.)
- Personality type (type A, outgoing, reserved, religious, etc.)
- Where does this person go on their off time? (places you can put your advertising)
- What kind of computer services does this person need?
- How does this person like to be contacted? (email, phone, in person, etc.)
What To Do With Your Avatar
Now that you have a detailed profile of your perfect customer. Use that person as the target of all your marketing and communications.
Where does your avatar hang out? Place your fliers there.
Who does your avatar associate with? Network with those kinds of people.
Where does your avatar live? Canvass the neighborhood with door hangers.
Instead of trying to appeal to the masses when you create that next flier or design your website, target your messages to your avatar. Write your copy like you’re writing to that person. Even if this doesn’t always attract avatar-like clients, it will help focus your message, making it more clear and understandable.
All of the above makes it as easy as possible for your ideal customer to find you. Don’t worry about missing out on other types of clients…you and your business will be much better off with a dozen ideal clients than 50 undesirable clients. Desirable clients will keep coming back, and refer their friends (who are probably also similar to your avatar).
Why Doug Haywood Is MY Ideal Client
I chose Doug’s traits based on a conglomerate of customers I’ve had that I’ve enjoyed working with. I also made his traits line up with the type of services that I am good at, that I enjoy doing, and that can earn me good recurring income. He will keep me busy, but not overwhelm me.
Since I started this exercise a few months ago, I’ve added a couple more Doug Haywoods to my client roster. I’m hoping as I continue I’ll eventually do nothing but happily serve nothing but Dr. Haywoods in my business. That’s the ultimate goal.
Having trouble creating an avatar? Check out my Finding a Niche series of posts which explore and outline different customer niches that you can target.
So, who is YOUR avatar?