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“Don’t try to cast a wide net … When it comes to your client avatar, if you don’t know exactly who it is you’re approaching, you’re doing a massive disservice”— DEAN GRAZIOSI
Last week we covered why creating and having a client avatar (AKA an ICA or marketing persona) for your business is crucial. And now this week we’re gonna talk about how to get the data and make one.
Dean Graziosi has a great analogy about fish I’m gonna borrow for this post (btw, you can listen to his podcast episode on this topic here).
Let’s compare two fisherman who are going out to catch tuna.
Fisherman number one leaves the dock first and starts casting his net EVERYWHERE – if there’s water, he’s pitching bait and a net. He works hard all day, definitely doesn’t lack in enthusiasm, and genuinely wants to catch a bunch of tuna.
But the second fisherman, before he even steps foot on his boat, goes to a local bait shop. He noticed earlier that they’ve got a giant tuna mounted on a plaque over the door, so he figures they know how to catch them. So he asks questions, all specifically about the tuna: What’s a good fishing spot? What is the best time of day to catch them? What’s their favorite bait? What kind of fishing line and reel do I need? Then purchases what they suggest and heads straight to the recommended location.
Here’s the question: even though the second fisherman left the dock later, who do you think caught more tuna?
Yup. The guy who knew exactly what he wanted to catch and did his research.
So, let’s get to know our “tuna” REALLY well and get started on some deep-dive ICA’s (Ideal Client Avatars)
Research, Research, Research
Here’s the good news, bookkeepers: the first part of creating an ICA does NOT involve writing – it’s research and data! And I know, I know, research is not a fast or sexy place to start; however, it will get you the information you need.
What Am I Looking For?
Here’s the goal – in order to make your business content more effective and personal, you’re trying to create a profile of an ideal client to talk to. So – what details do you need to find to create that profile? What information do you need to include?
I’ve found that the easiest way to start is to use an already-made template (there are plenty of free ones out there, one of which I used myself in the picture below, and a couple of which I’ve linked to below).
You can start with just one persona, but if you have enough data to see patterns grouping together, it’s an excellent idea to create multiple personas like I did in the chart below (this will later lead to something super useful called “segmenting“, but we won’t get into that quite yet). For example, in my own work, “Persona 1” reflects patterns and similarities I saw in one group of my clients that are all female, middle-aged, married, and empty nesters; “Persona 2” reflects a different group of women who are in their 30s, married, and young mothers.
You don’t need to know EVERY detail of a client avatar template for this post, so here’s a bird’s eye view to show some of the common elements you’ll always include:
- Their Demographics: Age, gender, location, education
- Their Personality + Preferences: Hobbies, favorite music, preferred social media platform, etc.
- Their Desires + Motivations: How do they define success? What do they want to achieve? Do they want more money? More time? Healthier bodies?
- Their Obstacles + Pain Points: Do they lack money, resources, skill, and/or time? What keeps them from working with you to help them solve their problem(s)?
I know, some of this information feels like it’s irrelevant and too personal to be useful for a bookkeeping business, but trust me, this stuff is EXACTLY the secret sauce of writing that magical personalized content. (We’ll be going into this more next week, on how to humanize and use all this data)
BUT – you also shouldn’t worry about finding and including EVERY single detail asked for in the template; a client avatar template usually has a LOT of questions and asks for a ton of detail. You won’t be able to fill in EVERY detail for every category, and that’s ok – just put in as much data as you’ve got (data, NOT guesses) because every little bit will help.
And, as I mentioned before, here’s links to a couple of free easy-to-use client avatar templates you can use for your business, including the one I made:
- Ideal Client Avatar Worksheet (from Pukkapith Content)
- Hootsuite’s Buyer Persona Template
- Hubspot’s Buyer Persona Template
- WiredImpact’s Buyer Persona Template
Where Do I Look?
Now that you know what you need to find, let’s talk about where to find it.
Remember, you’re trying to create a tool that helps you get super-effective in talking to your ideal client in the real world – your vague best guess is NOT going to cut it, so you’ll have to track down actual real-world data.
Thankfully, there’s plenty of it out there to be found for FREE. Just give these places a deeper dive to help flesh out your client avatar:
- Your competition: You can leverage the research they’ve already done and use if for yourself! Check out other successful companies in your industry and see who they are writing to, what topics they’re choosing to write about, and what posts they get the most responses on. (And a heads up, just for bookkeepers! I actually have a list of bookkeeper websites you can access for free here)
- Your current clients: Want to know what they do on the weekends? Check out their Facebook profile or Instagram feed. Trying to figure out what they’re struggling with in their business? Look back at the questions they’ve asked you the most – they’ve been explicitly telling you their ambitions and pain points all along. You could even interview a few of them if you’re feeling ambitious.
- Online trends: You want to know what’s current and relevant for them, what answers they are looking for on the internet, specific to their business. Let’s say your client niche is commercial real estate lawyers – you can start by simply typing “bookkeeping for commercial real estate lawyers” into relevant Facebook groups or into Google to see what pops up (don’t forget to check out the “related searches” section in Google, too!). Quora is another great site for this, and keyword tools like Keyword.io are also helpful.
BONUS IDEA: Research niche magazines
This is a GENIUS idea I recently learned about here – it takes a couple steps, but gives you real statistical data for FREE.
- Go to magazines.com, search for topics your clients are reading about (like “small business” or “business finance”) and see what titles pop up
- Pick a magazine, go to their website, and find the “Media Kit” or “Press Kit” (on the “Fast Company” website, I found it under “Advertising” in their drop-down menu)
- You should be able to find a page or.pdf similar to the image below, full of incredibly specific information about their readers, such as: age range, gender percentages, education level, median household income, and more!
I know – this is a lot of freaking information, to read and to find. It’s not a quick fix and it takes time to do well. But like we talked about last week, we live in a world where people expect personalized messaging and tune out/unsubscribe from anything vague or irrelevant to them. To connect with and be heard by our current and potential clients, we need to take the time to really get to know them.
But don’t forget about that second fisherman – he may not have been first on the water, but he had a much better strategy and better equipment when he did, and was rewarded for it.
Hang in there. Get to know your tuna. And I’ll be back next week to talk more about taking all that data and turning it into humanized profiles and useful strategies for your business.
Click here to continue to the next post in this series, “How to Humanize (And Talk to) your Ideal Client Avatar”
Like always, please feel free to comment here with any questions you’ve got, and friend or follow me on Facebook at Pukkapith Content