Buyer personas and Ideal Client Avatars (ICAs) are something which regularly confuses people. Why are they important and how do we create them?
The following session was the third in our Tea Time Tips Series. Today we talk about target markets, niches, buyer personas and ideal client avatars or ICAs. Without knowing WHO we are talking to, we will not be able to communicate effectively with them. Therefore understanding your client is vital to your business success.
This video explains all this and more!
These are weekly live videos on a wide variety of topics streamed on the FAQ Business Training Facebook page, and on Founder Jane Tweedy’s LinkedIn profile. As times vary, please like/follow/connect on one of these platforms and ask to be notified by the platform the next time Jane goes live.
Buyer personas and ideal client avatars video
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Buyer personas and ideal client avatars transcript
The following transcript includes timestamps so you can scroll down, find the piece of the time of the piece of video you want to watch and then skip ahead to that in the video.
Good evening, we are here tonight for tea time tips, and so grab a little cup of tea. About buyer personas and ideal client avatars. Why do we need them and what’s important? So today’s tip is for business owners.
This is tip number three in our series. The first one was about negative language. The second one was about risk and insurance. And this third one is about buyer personas. So very different topics. And each week we will bring you quite different topics, just to show some of the vast array of sessions that we complete for our clients.
So do feel free to chat in the comments and let us know any questions as we’re going through. And if I don’t get to them live, I will answer in the chat later. So let’s get started.
Good evening. I just recorded a Facebook live and a LinkedIn live doing Tea Time Tips, and then found out that the sound dropped out and didn’t come back. So unfortunately, I’ve had to record the whole thing. Anyway. So tonight’s Tea Time Tip is about the buyer persona and ideal client avatar, the ICA. What are they? What do they do? How do we use them? So let’s get on with it.
So the Tea Time Tips series is a series that I’m bringing to you, and it is all about just short, like a lunch and learn, but shorter. Grab a cup of tea and we will go ahead and do our tea time tips. So they’re just short learnings that you can sort of get away within about 15 minutes or so.
01:33 Why do we need a buyer persona or an ideal client avatar?
Why do we need a buyer persona or an ideal client avatar? What is it? Now, I found this particular graphic interesting because it was one of the few that actually had men and women equal in all the jobs. So the orderlies, the doctors, the waiters or whatever are all male and female, whereas a lot of them were using you know, the doctor was the male and the nurse was the female. Whereas this one’s got doctors and nurses of both sexes, which I found interesting. But how it relates to this, which makes it kind of more interesting in one respect, is that really our buyer personas are very stereotypical.
02:09 Create a stereotype of our customers
And that’s actually what we’re trying to do, create a stereotype for our customers. So it’s kind of like against the grain of everything that’s P.C. But we need to do that, to have the best chance of connecting with people. So it is an interesting just sort of little moral dilemma there.
02:26 Are you advertising or marketing?
Are you advertising or marketing? If you’re advertising or marketing, then you have to know your buyer personas or your ideal client avatars. The difference between the two, a buyer persona is typically a fictitious rendition of what your buyers might look like, whereas an ideal client avatar is based typically on an actual ideal client you’ve had.
02:57 So how will you connect with your client if you don’t know who they are?
So how will you connect with your client if you don’t know who they are? So that’s really what the buyer persona is trying to do. It’s trying to understand their feelings, their thoughts, their concerns, their problems, their challenges, where they want to go. We need to understand all that. And that will help us to be able to grab their attention. Because we know what words to use, what triggers to use, what pictures to use to stop them in the feed.
03:21 Personal trainer example
Let’s look at an example. A personal trainer who says that 18 to 55 year old females are their target market. And you look at that and you go, well that sounds pretty narrowed down, doesn’t it? You know, we’ve got a, you know, part of the population, not males, it’s just the females. It’s only from 18 to 55 year olds. So we, you know, are losing a few people along the way. But it’s still pretty broad. We wouldn’t call this a niche. We would definitely call this a target market.
03:48 Break target market into niches
When we’re doing our buyer persona or our ideal client avatar, we really need to cut it down to the niches and you’ll see why in a second. So, for instance, in this situation here, we are talking to everybody, which means we’re actually talking to nobody.
So do you want to get healthy, want to shake your booty on the dance floor? Call us today. And then a picture of a sick man in bed. Remember, our target is 18 to 55 year old females. For a start what’s this got to do with personal training. If I’m an 18 year old female looking for a personal trainer or thinking about personal training, is this going to stop me in my feed? Well I might go, he’s kind of hot. Maybe I pause, but it’s not really going to work.
04:33 You can’t be vague
What we need to do is look at it. Healthy is a vague term. It’s far too vague, far too broad. People are typically seeking some sort of transformation. Well, then you’d go with shake your booty’s kind of seeking a transformation, but it’s not for the older end of that demographic. So, 18 year olds, sure, maybe they want to shake their booty. 55 year olds nah not so much, and they certainly wouldn’t use that turn of phrase.
04:59 What will stop them in their feed?
It’s a picture of a sick man, it may not be relatable to the target market or may cause them a bit of a chuckle thinking of man flu. But it’s not necessarily going to stop them in their feed, particularly looking for a personal trainer. And is it about medical or is this a medical thing? Is this about Covid? You know, what is this about? Doesn’t again resonate personal training. There’s no connection to PT at all. What do we do instead?
05:23 Connect better with niches
If we want to really target the market, we need to segment it further or create these niches. So each niche we can allocate certain demographics, certain issues that they’re facing, and that’s how we can connect with them on a better level.
So, for instance, the 18 – 25 year old single market, you know, you put a picture of an eighteen to twenty five year old in the picture. You’ve got them working out with weights, they’re nice and slim. They look fit and healthy. And then you can say something like. So the picture will stop them in their feed if they are looking for some personal training and things or considering a gym. You then capture them with a bit of copy. So want to fit in that cute little pair of shorts for your next summer night out, tighten up your tushie in 10 weeks. Join us today.
06:06 Stop people in their feed
I’m not saying these are the best ads, but I’m just trying to highlight the fact that if we are at least targeting them more to the audience, they’re going to appeal more. Hopefully, that would stop an 18 to 25 year old in the feed and actually make them click on the link and have a look further.
06:21 Interest with the picture then the text
What about if you are a 25 to 45 year old mum who’s working, who’s juggling everything and this picture might stop them in their feed. Sure, it doesn’t have personal training in it, but it will stop them in their feed if that’s their situation. If that’s how they’re feeling. So then they read the text – juggling kids and have no time to work out. Check out our 30 minute HIIT sessions with childcare on site. Get results in less time. Join us today.
06:47 Target the issues they’re facing
They’ve targeted the issues that they’re facing, the fact that they don’t, they know they don’t have much time. So they’ve tackled the time issue and given them a solution and they’ve said, by the way, you know, you can bring your kid along kind of thing. So they’ve given them a couple of solutions to a couple of problems they’re facing, which is a good way to go.
07:05 We can’t overcome objections if we don’t know what they are
And again, if we don’t know our audience, then we can’t narrow down to those particular objections and obstacles. We can’t overcome them if we don’t know what they are.
07:14 Give people aspirational ideals
Then the 50 plus empty nester. Kids flown the nest and finally have time to put you first, hit those fitness goals with fifty and fabulously fit. Join us today. And that, the picture of the woman doing the grr, doing the bicep curl, looking very strong. If that’s a woman that is, you know, looks in her feed and thinks, wow, you know, that’s someone aspirationally they want to seek to be, then that may stop them in their feed.
So again, remember, the picture is going to stop them in their feed if they’re scrolling through, say, Facebook. But the text will hopefully hook them in to read further, to click on the link.
07:50 Why does an ideal client matter?
Why does an ideal client matter? Why do we care about ideal clients in the first place? Isn’t any client a good client? No, not really. Ideal clients are the people that are aligned with our values, our purpose and their purpose collide in a good way. They mesh together. They’re great.
08:07 Ideal clients make us happy!
They’re happy with the solution that we’re offering. They understand that we get them and the solution will help them. Are a dream to work with, they’re awesome to work with. They often will leave you a great review and they’ll refer others, without you even asking them to, they just do it, because they love you so much. They are ideal clients. If we could fill our entire roster with them, we would be A OK, right. We would be really happy.
08:33 The opposite of ideal – PITA
What’s the opposite of an ideal client? You may or may not have heard the term PITA. PITA stands for Pain in the Ass. PITA clients are those that are definitely not aligned with our values. They, our purpose and their purpose don’t collide like that, they collide wooo train wreck. Typically they are unhappy with the solution that we’ve offered and don’t really think it fits their need. They will be a nightmare to work with. They’ll be challenging us every point along the way. They’re just not pleasant to work with.
09:04 We do not want PITAs!
They often will leave us a bad review, even if we did the job fine for them. They won’t refer us to others, and they often will ask for all the extras. They’ll always be adding something more onto it. Can you just do that electrical point why you’re here? Can you just do that why you’re here? And they might not pay on time or they may not even pay at all. They are PITAs. We do not want PITA’s.
09:26 How do we repel a PITA?
So how do we repel a PITA? We want to repel a PITA or our non-ideal clients. We can add a don’t work with us section on our website. So you do all the sales pitch, work with us, etc. but you can also do a don’t work with us if … and actually try and repel those that you wouldn’t work well with.
09:47 Be yourself
Make sure that you are you in your marketing materials. So make sure that you are the front that you’re going to be. I’m not going to dress up super nice on these videos, because that’s not me. You’d meet me in person. You’d go ahhh you’re not kind of the person I thought you were. So just be yourself.
10:03 Make sure if using a copywriter it’s your voice
Be very careful when you’re using copywriters particularly, to make sure that they’re not using their copy voice, that it’s actually your copy voice. It’s the way that you sound, the way you react. So that the person when they deal with you, after being helped him by this amazing website copy, is actually hooked into you, not hooked into the copywriter. So just check that out.
10:25 Always include pricing!
And always include some form of pricing on your website. It helps to weed out those people that are price conscious.
10:30 What is a buyer persona or an ideal client avatar (ICA) and where does it start from?
What is a buyer persona or an ideal client avatar (ICA) and where does it start from? We have a market, a broad market. The market could be everybody, right? Well, that’s not a market. That’s just the world. So we have a market is people wanting personal training. The target market was the 18 to 55 year old [females] wanting personal training. It’s still a bit broader than a niche. So a target market is defined as a particular group of consumers at which your product or service is aimed. Okay. So a particular group of consumers. So in this case, the 18 to 55 year old female, but it’s still broader than a niche.
11:10 This is a business example, narrow it down to target market then niche
So if we want to go down to a niche, let’s look how we bring it down. This is a business example, but hopefully it makes sense.
So we start with the market. The market is all businesses. Then we narrow it down to target market, which is small businesses. Then we narrow it down further to things like micro businesses in New South Wales, those with zero to four employees. We narrow it down to New South Wales, small businesses looking to grow in 2021. But the niche can be really, really specific. How specific you want to go, really depends on you. But make sure there’s enough people in your market to make it worthwhile, but not so many that you can’t target them.
11:50 Remember, the more niche you go, the easier it is to talk to a specific person
Remember, the more niche you go, the easier it is to talk to a specific person, because it’s easier for us to, to get that demographic information sorted. An example niche is Western Sydney, so a very tight location. Micro businesses, a particular sized business, with issues around self-belief causing underpricing. So say we offer pricing workshops, which we do, and we know that a lot of the pricing issues come from self-belief. Then that becomes the obstacles and the challenges, their pain points that we are focussed on. Understanding the niche helps us to communicate with our customer.
12:28 What is a buyer persona versus Ideal Client Avatar (ICA)?
What is a buyer persona? Once we’ve got a niche, we can then develop our buyer persona. A buyer persona, according to HubSpot, is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal buyer. It’s based on data, interviews and some educated guesses. So if you already have a customer base, you can kind of work out, as we said before, pick someone who already is your ideal client and base the avatar around that particular person.
12:55 Ideal clients who could fill up your day
Because if you would love if your whole thing, your day was full up with those people. Bring ’em on, you know, make them the thing that we base it on. If you don’t have that, if you’re new to business, then think about who you think your customers would be. Ideally reach out further than that. Go into Facebook [or LinkedIn] groups and ask questions.
13:16 Use Facebook and LinkedIn polls to get quick information
I suggest you ask questions rather than ask people to do surveys at that initial stage, because you’ll find that people often won’t do a survey. They will answer a poll to a quick yes-no and things, but they won’t necessarily do a full survey. So just try and get as much information as you can quickly. And one way to do that is through polls and questions in Facebook groups.
13:38 Sample buyer persona template
Here is a sample buyer persona. And this particular one, this particular template I’ve grabbed off a thing called theslidequest.com. Slidequest have amazing, beautiful PowerPoint presentations and things. And I love them [not affiliated]. They’re really useful for all sorts of things. So definitely have a look at them. They’re like US49 dollars for lifetime access often, says it’s on a limited – one of those fear of missing out type things. But I’ll forgive them for that, because the quality of the templates is great.
14:10 Tell a story, demographics and traits
We can use this top area to tell a bit of a story about the person, how are they feeling, what keeps them up at night, what is their need. So we can put as much information as we want up here.
We put down their standard demographic stuff down here. What age range are they? You know, education, occupation. If for instance, you are a landscape designer, you might put down that, are they a homeowner? Because obviously, if they’re a renter, then why would you be doing a landscape design for them? So you need to identify the key traits of the person that you need to work with. Do they have a set, do they need to be a certain income to work with you, all that sort of stuff. So you might say, oh, they, you know, earn over one hundred thousand a year. There are double income, no kids, family, whatever it is.
14:51 Choose which headings appeal to you the most
So whatever is important to you in your business, you can put that in here. And obviously we can put a sample picture of a person that might fit that bill. We can do things like values or motivation to act, so we can choose that sort of thing here. These headings here, you’ll see that I’ve got sort of three things on each one. You can choose which ones appeal to you most, or you can put a couple of these in and anything that overflows, you can just put it up into the story.
15:17 Frustrations or pain points
But do make sure you try and cover these areas somewhere in the sheet. Frustrations or pain points. What is annoying them? Or what is causing them to have a problem that requires your solution? What are the objections or obstacles? Why haven’t they done anything about it yet? What would stop them from achieving their results?
15:37 What goals or results are they looking for? What results do they seek?
What goals or results are they looking for? And what results do they seek? Ideally, people buy when they can get a transformation. So try and find something that will help them to transform. That would be brilliant. Benefits are also emotional benefits, things like will they be relieved? You know, that is a massive benefit. It’s not a physical benefit. It’s not a feature. It is a relief. You know, it’s emotional. The other one there is the feeling. How are they feeling? Are they feeling run-down, burned out? Or are they exhausted? Are they challenged? You know, what are they feeling?
16:16 How price conscious are they? Who are they influenced by? Their social networks.
How price conscious are they? Are they more about quality, quantity? You know, what are they after? And what do they watch? Who do they read and who do they follow? Who are they influenced by? The more information, the better. We’ve also put up here their social networks. So are they a Facebook, a Twitter, an Instagram or LinkedIn person? Put that information in here? Because obviously, if the people are on LinkedIn and Facebook, that’s where we want to be. Funnily enough, that’s where we’re trying to be.
This is where, you know, we need to understand our buyer persona. The more we can do this, the more we can understand them, the better we can connect with them, the better we can create those adverts, like in the personal trainer case.
16:58 What do we do with the buyer persona or the ideal client avatar? It’s for identifying the customer journey.
That takes us to what do we do with the buyer persona or the ideal client avatar? It’s for identifying the customer journey. How do we get them from being a prospect, seeing an ad, seeing something about us, being referred by a friend, through to becoming a customer and also maintaining and referring us further.
So there’s different models that you can see in this. So the RACE model is one of them. Reach, act, convert and engage. We also have models that have some variation of awareness, consideration, make a decision, make a purchase and then retaining the customer. And the flywheel approach from HubSpot is attract, engage and delight.
17:36 Marketing and promotion etc.
Marketing and promotion. Make sure that all your activities include these, you know, the things that you found out about your buyer persona. If they had an objection, make sure that objection’s covered off, so that they feel yay, they feel comfortable to buy from this person. They get me.
Sales again to really close the objection stuff is really the key one on the sell side. Client service, making sure we’re delighting them. Making sure that we’re giving them that transformation that we’ve promised them. And we can use this for continuous improvement.
18:07 Actual people override buyer personas
Also, remember that when you have an actual person in front of you, and they don’t behave like your buyer persona, you deal with the actual person. Flag the buyer persona, focus on them. If, however, you get a number of people that are presenting the same way, then you might want to change your buyer persona. Okay. But sometimes it’s just a one-off person that’s just completely different and they just fit the bill and that’s okay, because remember, a lot of this is based on stereotypes. So not everyone fits the stereotype. And that’s okay. Perfectly okay.
18:41 Customer Journey Map training – Bayside BEC
So one of the uses for buyer personas is to create a customer journey map. I facilitated a session on behalf of Bayside BEC mentioned in the video. Look out for future classes on this topic on my online school faqbusinesstraining.com.
19:14 Choose to do list
I always suggest a to do list. Think of it as a choose to do list, okay. Not forcing you, but suggesting, hey, when you learn something, it’s always good to put it into action. So identify your buyer persona, start to create who that person looks like. Which means you might have to do a little bit of work on what your niche is, because if you haven’t identified the niche, you can’t do the buyer persona.
19:36 You can have multiple niches
And remember, you don’t have to have one niche you can have multiple niches, and I personally recommend that. Because I think putting all your eggs in one basket can be very risky. And that’s certainly what happened during Covid. It caused a few people problems because they were too narrow.
19:52 Review your marketing collateral
Review your marketing collateral, make sure it communicates these messages to your ideal clients. Make sure it covers those obstacles and objections and all that stuff. Attend some of our training. And if you need help, reach out.
20:04 Additional assistance and thanks
I am [currently] a Business Connect Advisor with the New South Wales Government funded program. So, you can reach it under that. Pretty much full for June . You can certainly book for further out.
20:13 Online school – faqbusinesstraining.com
The online school is being created in the background, so definitely look out for that coming soon. Group training for businesses, networking groups, conferences, teams, Business Connect, Bayside BEC, all these sort of things. Keep an eye out for those. And I am also a one-on-one Professional Certified Coach (PCC) with the ICF. So if you do want individual sessions, you can certainly come to me as well [outside NSW].
So I hope that that has been useful for you. Has taught you a little bit about buyer personas. But for those of you that want to take it to the next step and learn about customer journey maps and how that might work, because maybe you’ve already done the persona side, great. [Look out for new classes in the future].
20:55 About Tea Time Tips Series
Thank you. And hopefully next time my Tea Time Tips will work and we won’t have to reshoot them. Okay. Have a great night and we will catch you again soon.
Just remember, if you do have any ideas for Tea Time Tips, these are just these sort of 15- 20 minute sort of over a cup of tea kind of sessions. If you have any ideas for them, please let me know. Thanks and good night. Bye bye.
Today’s Tea Time tip featured our host Jane Tweedy. Her details are as follows:
Jane is a Professional Certified Coach with International Coaching Federation (PCC with ICF), business advisor and trainer. She loves working with growing small to medium business owners who are doing the right thing, to help them do it right! Currently, Jane offers at least 50 live sessions a year to train small business owners.
Jane offers a variety of services to clients and her online school and membership site will be available before the end of 2021. Jane’s focus for 2022 is building the membership and offering implementable small group training – something she finds is often the missing link.
If you are interested in training, speaking, or anything else Jane has to offer, please connect via email@example.com or via the contact forms on our websites.
faqbusinesstraining.com.au – our main site with a great blog
faqbusinesstraining.com – our new online school
faqbusinesspodcast.com.au – our FAQ Business Podcast site
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