How do y'all form your customer avatars?

15 replies
So after years of study, practice, and lots of trial and error, I've been getting pretty solid results copywriting for certain markets now, yet there are still certain aspects of the art that I feel I need clarity on...

Chief amongst them right now is the specifics of the customer avatar.

You see, like all of you, I know that the entire point of forming a detailed customer avatar is to gain insight into the mind of your prospect, which enables you to tailor your message specifically for them, aimed directly at them, and worded in the language they use in their minds.

To be frank, I *think* I'm pretty good at it so far (and my results testify that I'm at least hitting close to the mark).

However, I'd like to know more about how some of you talented copywriters form your avatars and how much detail you ideally want in an avatar.

For instance, I'm sure we all already know to form an avatar as a specific individual and detail out the basics of their life, their wants/needs, and perhaps even what Frank Kern calls their "Core Influence".

However, I didn't know how much detail some copywriters went into until I saw the impressive customer avatar Perry Belcher did for one of his consulting companies (which he gives away for free on his list btw so you aren't looking at proprietary info):

Attachment 21539

THAT is a TON of detail (practically a novel's worth), and not only does it go into incredible depth, it also seems to make quite a few very specific assumptions...

So what do y'all think?

Any tips/tricks/guidelines/golden rules to follow when forming a customer avatar?

How detailed should one get?

And how far do you go with your assumptions?

Looking forward to your thoughts.
#avatars #customer #form #yall
  • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
    I look for the prospects frustrations when buying
    from others in same market.

    Benefits of this approach is you are messaging to proven buyers,
    not educating in the hope of buying.

    Next you can name those frustrations up front and guarantee
    they will never happen to them. This makes coming up
    with irresistible offers sooo much easier.

    Follows the classic problem solution track.

    There's opportunity to play the "whistle blower"
    or "good guy" "bad guy" approach. too.

    The drive thru at fast food joints started by observing
    the frustration of mothers with young children getting take outs.

    Plumbers and electricians are notoriously bad at turning up late
    and not cleaning up after them. The rare few which guarantee
    they will turn up on time routinely own their local market.

    Once again, just knowing what buyers bad experiences are.
    and having the guts to say it wont be happening in your watch.

    Best,
    Ewen
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  • Profile picture of the author sethczerepak
    Originally Posted by Cool Hand Luke View Post

    So after years of study, practice, and lots of trial and error, I've been getting pretty solid results copywriting for certain markets now, yet there are still certain aspects of the art that I feel I need clarity on...

    Chief amongst them right now is the specifics of the customer avatar.

    You see, like all of you, I know that the entire point of forming a detailed customer avatar is to gain insight into the mind of your prospect, which enables you to tailor your message specifically for them, aimed directly at them, and worded in the language they use in their minds.

    To be frank, I *think* I'm pretty good at it so far (and my results testify that I'm at least hitting close to the mark).

    However, I'd like to know more about how some of you talented copywriters form your avatars and how much detail you ideally want in an avatar.

    For instance, I'm sure we all already know to form an avatar as a specific individual and detail out the basics of their life, their wants/needs, and perhaps even what Frank Kern calls their "Core Influence".

    However, I didn't know how much detail some copywriters went into until I saw the impressive customer avatar Perry Belcher did for one of his consulting companies (which he gives away for free on his list btw so you aren't looking at proprietary info):

    Attachment 21539

    THAT is a TON of detail (practically a novel's worth), and not only does it go into incredible depth, it also seems to make quite a few very specific assumptions...

    So what do y'all think?

    Any tips/tricks/guidelines/golden rules to follow when forming a customer avatar?

    How detailed should one get?

    And how far do you go with your assumptions?

    Looking forward to your thoughts.
    The one I use is a lot more detailed than that.

    Mainly because I also collect language subtleties for each target market. For example, whether they're more likely to say "sale," "conversion," "aquisition," or simply "new client." I also record their preferred media channels, political and religious beliefs, Heros (living and historical), enemies, etc.

    Interesting though, while Avatar profiling is the foundation of great copywriting, it's the topic most copywriters seem to be least interested in learning about.

    Case in point, for about a year, I had my own personal Avatar profiling form up for my members to use. In that entire time, ONE person filled it out, compared to the hundreds of uses of forms for creating headlines and sales letters.

    After seeing that, I'm convinced that's the main reason most copywriters aren't getting the results they want.
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    • Profile picture of the author Cool Hand Luke
      Originally Posted by sethczerepak View Post

      The one I use is a lot more detailed than that.

      Mainly because I also collect language subtleties for each target market. For example, whether they're more likely to say "sale," "conversion," "aquisition," or simply "new client." I also record their preferred media channels, political and religious beliefs, Heros (living and historical), enemies, etc.

      Interesting though, while Avatar profiling is the foundation of great copywriting, it's the topic most copywriters seem to be least interested in learning about.

      Case in point, for about a year, I had my own personal Avatar profiling form up for my members to use. In that entire time, ONE person filled it out, compared to the hundreds of uses of forms for creating headlines and sales letters.

      After seeing that, I'm convinced that's the main reason most copywriters aren't getting the results they want.
      Thank you Seth because this is exactly what I'm talking about...

      The avatar is so crucial yet so little is made of it by so many copywriters that it's hard to get a beat on the best way to do things.

      I know how important it is because the entirety of your marketing efforts need to be aimed at this one specific person, yet what I hear from other copywriters seems to be either:

      1) form your avatar about their basics (wants, needs, desires, habits, etc)

      2) form your avatar using an incredibly detailed narrative that fills out every single aspect of their lives down to such minute things as how many seconds on average they brush their teeth, who they lost their virginity too and how that experience was for them, and that one field trip to the museum they had when they were seven and how they felt about the dinosaur skeletons there.

      I've traditionally fallen somewhere in between these two camps, mainly I think because I didn't want to make too many assumptions, but I also know if I could tailor my message more specifically, it would be of tremendous help.

      So Seth, any particular resources or guidelines you recommend or can point out in regards to the construction of an avatar?

      Anyone else have sections/chapters/modules of courses or books by the masters that they can recommend? I've got some of the most well-respected and in-demand copywriting courses ever put out, but VERY LITTLE seems to be made about avatar formation in particular in many of these other than a general "know your market" sentiment.

      Any help is appreciated!
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      • Profile picture of the author sethczerepak
        Originally Posted by Cool Hand Luke View Post

        Thank you Seth because this is exactly what I'm talking about...

        The avatar is so crucial yet so little is made of it by so many copywriters that it's hard to get a beat on the best way to do things.

        I know how important it is because the entirety of your marketing efforts need to be aimed at this one specific person, yet what I hear from other copywriters seems to be either:

        1) form your avatar about their basics (wants, needs, desires, habits, etc)

        2) form your avatar using an incredibly detailed narrative that fills out every single aspect of their lives down to such minute things as how many seconds on average they brush their teeth, who they lost their virginity too and how that experience was for them, and that one field trip to the museum they had when they were seven and how they felt about the dinosaur skeletons there.

        I've traditionally fallen somewhere in between these two camps, mainly I think because I didn't want to make too many assumptions, but I also know if I could tailor my message more specifically, it would be of tremendous help.

        So Seth, any particular resources or guidelines you recommend or can point out in regards to the construction of an avatar?

        Anyone else have sections/chapters/modules of courses or books by the masters that they can recommend? I've got some of the most well-respected and in-demand copywriting courses ever put out, but VERY LITTLE seems to be made about avatar formation in particular in many of these other than a general "know your market" sentiment.

        Any help is appreciated!
        Well - since you asked - I have a pretty in-depth one in the first volume of my mastery course, which goes out to my monthly subscribers around day 45 (he said self-servingly).

        As I said before, very few people fill in all the fields, but if you're into that sort of thing, it will take your nerdiness to "James Bond Villain" levels. I've seen a few others, but for obvious (<-- Read "Narcissistic") reasons, I think mine is the most thorough.
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  • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
    Luke, this may help you:

    How To Develop and Use Buyer Personas

    Fair warning:

    No disrespect to anybody, but I think this article is a little off base.

    Just like you get to know your friends better over time, I don't think you're ever done creating a buyer's persona/avatar.

    This comment of theirs makes me think to them it's a do one and done activity: "Once you’ve created your buyer persona profiles, you can adjust everything from the words you use on the phone to the content that’s served up on your website to ensure that prospective buyers receive the sales pitches that will be most persuasive to their personal situations."

    And like getting to introduced to new people or groups, first impressions are usually not what they appear.

    The next thing I'll say about this is you may want to dig a little deeper than this article advocates.

    For instance, asking "Why?" your market has these fears, objections and perceptions of theirs can be a mind blow. Also listening to their stories of how they got to be a member of this specific market.

    And what your market SAYS isn't necessarily true. So you can't just take things at face value. You have to judge based upon their actions. So you have to test them.

    What I'm really advocating is not just documenting and categorizing what you discover, not just getting curious, but getting intimate with your market.

    Here, check out this column: http://copyranger.com/can-just-one-word-make-a.../ Often one word can make all the difference and it's not something that would be immediately obvious.

    Sorry if I sound like a negative Nelly, I'm sure their heart was in the right place when they wrote it.

    - Rick Duris

    PS: Pagan's Get Altitude has a module on avatars.
    Signature
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    • Profile picture of the author Cool Hand Luke
      Originally Posted by RickDuris View Post

      Luke, this may help you:

      How To Develop and Use Buyer Personas

      Fair warning:

      No disrespect to anybody, but I think this article is a little off base.

      Just like you get to know your friends better over time, I don't think you're ever done creating a buyer's persona/avatar.

      This comment of theirs makes me think to them it's a do one and done activity: "Once you’ve created your buyer persona profiles, you can adjust everything from the words you use on the phone to the content that’s served up on your website to ensure that prospective buyers receive the sales pitches that will be most persuasive to their personal situations."

      And like getting to introduced to new people or groups, first impressions are usually not what they appear.

      The next thing I'll say about this is you may want to dig a little deeper than this article advocates.

      For instance, asking "Why?" your market has these fears, objections and perceptions of theirs can be a mind blow. Also listening to their stories of how they got to be a member of this specific market.

      And what your market SAYS isn't necessarily true. So you can't just take things at face value. You have to judge based upon their actions. So you have to test them.

      What I'm really advocating is not just documenting and categorizing what you discover, not just getting curious, but getting intimate with your market.

      Here, check out this column: http://copyranger.com/can-just-one-word-make-a.../ Often one word can make all the difference and it's not something that would be immediately obvious.

      Sorry if I sound like a negative Nelly, I'm sure their heart was in the right place when they wrote it.

      - Rick Duris

      PS: Pagan's Get Altitude has a module on avatars.
      Thanks Rick!

      I definitely get the importance of using your customer's words and language and it's one of the reasons why my biggest success so far (in the women's health niche) came about recently only after I started poring through my girlfriend's COSMO and In Shape magazines and noticing the language patterns used in the headlines, articles, reader write-in segments, and of course the advertisements.

      Discovering the market's language, coupled with the avatar I'd constructed, proved to be absolutely invaluable.

      Appreciate your thoughts, and I'll check out that course of Eben's.
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  • Profile picture of the author max5ty
    First of all, I hate the name avatar. It's a lot of over blown hype that's sold a lot of ebooks.

    I did a post on here before about group movements (for lack of a better word).

    Things that sell the most aren't usually connected to one certain individual, right off the bat. One person doesn't make you wealthy. 2 people don't make you wealthy. 3 people don't make you wealthy.

    The hype goes something like this: You write your campaign as though it's based on one person. I say that's BS.

    A successful product is based on a group mentality, and a profitable campaign is based on the avatar you help create for the group.

    You'll never get wealthy writing for one person. I know that flies in the face of everything you've heard, but let me explain...

    People are pack animals by nature. They follow the pack. The leader of the pack sets the example. People follow the leader.

    We live in a society that's controlled by social media. There are things most would never consider buying but did because the "pack" did.

    You've got to learn to take the group mentality to make real money.

    Real copywriting/marketing looks at the pack mentality. There are some in the pack that have different ideas and wants...but once the pack takes over, they're on board to buy whatever.

    So much to say about this, but would take too long.

    Once you start looking at the group mentality...you'll sell more. Multi billion dollar corporations are built off the group thing.
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    • Profile picture of the author BudaBrit
      Originally Posted by max5ty View Post

      First of all, I hate the name avatar. It's a lot of over blown hype that's sold a lot of ebooks.

      I did a post on here before about group movements (for lack of a better word).

      Things that sell the most aren't usually connected to one certain individual, right off the bat. One person doesn't make you wealthy. 2 people don't make you wealthy. 3 people don't make you wealthy.

      The hype goes something like this: You write your campaign as though it's based on one person. I say that's BS.

      A successful product is based on a group mentality, and a profitable campaign is based on the avatar you help create for the group.

      You'll never get wealthy writing for one person. I know that flies in the face of everything you've heard, but let me explain...

      People are pack animals by nature. They follow the pack. The leader of the pack sets the example. People follow the leader.

      We live in a society that's controlled by social media. There are things most would never consider buying but did because the "pack" did.

      You've got to learn to take the group mentality to make real money.

      Real copywriting/marketing looks at the pack mentality. There are some in the pack that have different ideas and wants...but once the pack takes over, they're on board to buy whatever.

      So much to say about this, but would take too long.

      Once you start looking at the group mentality...you'll sell more. Multi billion dollar corporations are built off the group thing.
      Well, surely, therefore, the aim is to sell to that leader...that one person.

      You'll sell to the actual leaders and to the people who think they are the leaders and the rest will follow.

      In your example.
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    • Profile picture of the author Mark Pescetti
      Originally Posted by max5ty View Post

      First of all, I hate the name avatar. It's a lot of over blown hype that's sold a lot of ebooks.

      I did a post on here before about group movements (for lack of a better word).

      Things that sell the most aren't usually connected to one certain individual, right off the bat. One person doesn't make you wealthy. 2 people don't make you wealthy. 3 people don't make you wealthy.

      The hype goes something like this: You write your campaign as though it's based on one person. I say that's BS.

      A successful product is based on a group mentality, and a profitable campaign is based on the avatar you help create for the group.

      You'll never get wealthy writing for one person. I know that flies in the face of everything you've heard, but let me explain...

      People are pack animals by nature. They follow the pack. The leader of the pack sets the example. People follow the leader.

      We live in a society that's controlled by social media. There are things most would never consider buying but did because the "pack" did.

      You've got to learn to take the group mentality to make real money.

      Real copywriting/marketing looks at the pack mentality. There are some in the pack that have different ideas and wants...but once the pack takes over, they're on board to buy whatever.

      So much to say about this, but would take too long.

      Once you start looking at the group mentality...you'll sell more. Multi billion dollar corporations are built off the group thing.
      An avatar does represent a majority.

      But you want to keep that majority extremely honed in.

      That way...

      You're connecting with and reaching more people... through specificity.

      Mark
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      • Profile picture of the author max5ty
        Originally Posted by Mark Pescetti View Post

        An avatar does represent a majority.

        But you want to keep that majority extremely honed in.

        That way...

        You're connecting with and reaching more people... through specificity.

        Mark
        Not really...

        I know most disregarded my post as nonsense, but hear me out.

        You live in Washington, I live in Ohio. You may have no hair, I have gray hair. You might like NASCAR, I don't. You might like to read fiction, I only read non-fiction. You might have some habits I find weird, and visa versa. And on and on...

        but we all still have the same basic emotions.

        If you're one of those that narrow an avatar down to one specific person, you're alienating a whole lot of others who would want your product, but don't fit the mold you've set. People with the same basic needs, but totally different on the outside.

        Ever see a product that at first didn't interest you? Then you started hearing more about it from others and decided to give it another look?

        I'll admit I've watched an infomercial out of boredom...something that didn't even interest me or that I wanted. By the end of the infomercial I thought it was pretty nifty and wanted one.

        Big companies advertise to people's basic emotions. Their ads are designed for the broadest appeal. They make millions doing it.

        My thoughts are...the only avatar you should have is that of people in general. Not their basic outward things...but their deep seated things that make all people common. There's a book I mentioned before that has a fail proof list of common traits all people share. When you incorporate common traits you have more success.

        The difference comes in when you're selling something...take back pain braces. The people wanting to buy are all the same emotionally. The research you need to do is the common problems these people share because of their pain. They may all share common problems, but they're not all some little old lady in Pasadena that has 3 cats and a 1968 Dodge Valiant...7.5 grandkids and 4 great grandkids, and lives in an assisted living community.

        You'll sell more when you sell to more.

        Oh well, because of time I kinda threw this post together, but hopefully I sorta make myself a little clearer.
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        • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
          Another piece of the what do we know about them puzzle,
          is what do they already believe.

          If we skip over one of their beliefs,
          then no matter how good the offer is,
          how good the demonstration and proof is,
          they'll stall and not buy.

          Example...

          When the training for The Secret was a sales blockbuster,
          it was taken to Spain.

          Two different belief systems.

          American market is... you can create your own destiny.

          People in Spain believe their future is already mapped out
          and have no control over it.

          This means you as the writer had better know what your group believe in
          or you'll be up against a lottery.

          Best,
          Ewen
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          • Profile picture of the author BudaBrit
            Originally Posted by ewenmack View Post

            Another piece of the what do we know about them puzzle,
            is what do they already believe.

            If we skip over one of their beliefs,
            then no matter how good the offer is,
            how good the demonstration and proof is,
            they'll stall and not buy.

            Example...

            When the training for The Secret was a sales blockbuster,
            it was taken to Spain.

            Two different belief systems.

            American market is... you can create your own destiny.

            People in Spain believe their future is already mapped out
            and have no control over it.

            This means you as the writer had better know what your group believe in
            or you'll be up against a lottery.

            Best,
            Ewen
            Bingo, for me.

            I'm putting together my first real lead generation letter for a service I will be starting up soon. Thanks to this thread, I sat down and did some more research into my target market.

            The original concept is based upon one important part of this target market, but there are actually two very distinct buyers in the market.

            They share common traits - such as a distrust of the government and the pursuit of money - but they go about this in very different ways.

            At first glance, they're pretty much the same - same wants and needs and same requirements of a product. But it's in how they approach these wants and needs that sets them apart and having that down on paper has really helped me in putting this letter (or two as it is now) together (or ripping it up, as was the case :p).
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        • Profile picture of the author Mark Pescetti
          Originally Posted by max5ty View Post

          You live in Washington, I live in Ohio. You may have no hair, I have gray hair. You might like NASCAR, I don't. You might like to read fiction, I only read non-fiction. You might have some habits I find weird, and visa versa. And on and on...

          but we all still have the same basic emotions.
          When I zero in on my avatar, I'm ALWAYS looking to trigger the flock effect. ("birds of the same feather flock together")

          And I ALWAYS start with the foundation, fundemental emotions.

          The more specific on what emotions my avatar is feeling...

          ...the more specific I can get on the circumstances that will trigger the emotions I've outlined.

          Make sense?

          I'm USUALLY less interested in, "Does she vote red or blue?" and more interested in the WHY.

          When I can deconstruct why something is important to my avatar - on an emotional level - the circumstances I present in the copy will ring true (hopefully.)

          I call the process Emotional Mapping.

          My avatar is more emotionally-based than anything else. But... the circumstances I use to trigger the emotion does have to be fairly concise. Otherwise, it won't ring true and just come across as hyperbole.

          .......

          Just to directly respond to the superficial differences you brought up in the quote above, you're right.... sometimes.

          Mark
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  • Profile picture of the author shawnlebrun
    Originally Posted by Cool Hand Luke View Post

    So after years of study, practice, and lots of trial and error, I've been getting pretty solid results copywriting for certain markets now, yet there are still certain aspects of the art that I feel I need clarity on...

    Chief amongst them right now is the specifics of the customer avatar.

    You see, like all of you, I know that the entire point of forming a detailed customer avatar is to gain insight into the mind of your prospect, which enables you to tailor your message specifically for them, aimed directly at them, and worded in the language they use in their minds.

    To be frank, I *think* I'm pretty good at it so far (and my results testify that I'm at least hitting close to the mark).

    However, I'd like to know more about how some of you talented copywriters form your avatars and how much detail you ideally want in an avatar.

    For instance, I'm sure we all already know to form an avatar as a specific individual and detail out the basics of their life, their wants/needs, and perhaps even what Frank Kern calls their "Core Influence".

    However, I didn't know how much detail some copywriters went into until I saw the impressive customer avatar Perry Belcher did for one of his consulting companies (which he gives away for free on his list btw so you aren't looking at proprietary info):

    Attachment 21539

    THAT is a TON of detail (practically a novel's worth), and not only does it go into incredible depth, it also seems to make quite a few very specific assumptions...

    So what do y'all think?

    Any tips/tricks/guidelines/golden rules to follow when forming a customer avatar?

    How detailed should one get?

    And how far do you go with your assumptions?

    Looking forward to your thoughts.
    Luke... I was rereading this lecture piece done by Eugene Schwartz to Phillips Publishing... and when I came to the section.. "Who Are You Writing To"... I thought of you and your post about avatars.

    May be another angle on avatars that could help?

    He really gets into the psychology and mindset of how he writes to his market...

    http://infositelinks.com/Free/2012/0...dvertising.pdf
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    • Profile picture of the author Cool Hand Luke
      Originally Posted by shawnlebrun View Post

      Luke... I was rereading this lecture piece done by Eugene Schwartz to Phillips Publishing... and when I came to the section.. "Who Are You Writing To"... I thought of you and your post about avatars.

      May be another angle on avatars that could help?

      He really gets into the psychology and mindset of how he writes to his market...

      http://infositelinks.com/Free/2012/0...dvertising.pdf
      Shawn, you're the man. Anything Schwartz is absolute gold in my book, and anything Schwartz that I haven't seen in a while is Platinum. I totally forgot about that famous speech but I'll be poring over it shortly (and likely having to re-read it a dozen times just like Breakthrough Advertising to actually get all of it lol)

      Anyways, good looking out.
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