Customer Service / Customer Experience

How to create your customer avatar

Misty Kortes and Gary Serviss

Updated: Jan 04, 2024 · 7 min read

Toolkit for download in this article

Customer Avatar Meeting

“In the early days, I spent so much of my time saying that I served everyone and helped everyone. I’m telling you: That’s the worst thing I ever did.“ - Lindsey Ardmore, business strategist and Founder of Star Tower Systems

Buyer persona. Marketing persona. Customer avatar. Target market.

These are the phrases that are used interchangeably to describe the fictional, generalized representations of the buyer persona most likely to purchase from you.

It is critically important to the success of your marketing, sales, product development and delivery of services that you have a deep understanding of who your customer avatar is. This means learning how to make an avatar.

You've likely heard the phrase, "You can't hit a target you haven't set." This applies perfectly to the importance of having a clearly defined customer avatar, which will help you:

  • Determine which social platforms they are spending time on so you know where your business should be present and active
  • Be more effective in your advertising. Your marketing dollars will be well spent when you know where to advertise and who to target for maximum exposure.
  • Write copy that connects with your marketing avatar, which will give you a better understanding of their pain points, goals, and successes
  • Deliver and develop better products and services because you are able to anticipate your markets’ needs, behaviors, and concerns.

How to make an avatar

“When I finally sat down and drew the line in the sand that I'm going to serve female coaches and consultants online — things started to change.“ - Lindsey Ardmore

So, having a clearly defined avatar is important; the question is, "How do I create one?" Good news: it's not difficult if you ask the right questions.

What are the right questions? No need to guess — Keap has created a template that shows you how to make an avatar. This template makes it easy to compile your information, knowledge, experience and research into one beautiful and presentable format. 

Take Keap's Lifecycle Automation quiz to identify growth opportunities for your small business

Download your customer avatar template now and set the table for successful marketing, sales, product development and delivery of services that will stand out to your ideal customers. 

Now, you could download the template and begin filling it out right away, but the most effective client avatars use market research and information you’ve collected from your current customer base.

Why not go straight to the source for this valuable information? When you set up message-mining calls with your customers, you’re able to reveal their desires and challenges. Those insights can then be shaped into marketing messages that resonate with the people you’re trying to reach.

Whatever path you choose, make sure you gather the most accurate information possible to develop your avatar. Here are a few ways to do just that:

  • Use surveys or phone interviews to capture feedback from your existing customer base — solutions like Ask Your Target Market can help you survey a larger audience base.
  • Add a Custom Audience Pixel to your website to track and learn more about people who have visited.
  • Interview your customers to capture valuable information and dive deeper into the behaviors that drive them.
  • Dig into the valuable feedback within your customers’ reviews of your products or services.

Multiple avatars

You may be thinking, "What if I have more than one avatar?" Having multiple avatars is perfectly fine. In fact, most businesses will have more than one ideal customer, especially if they offer more than one product or service. The best way to define your customer avatars is to tackle them one at a time. Start with the market that brings the most profit to your small business. Through this process, you may realize your business is too broad and that you need to tighten up your product or service offering to deliver your best to your ideal market.

Negative avatars 

Creating a negative avatar can be as beneficial as creating your customer avatar. A negative avatar is a generalized representation of the persona you don't want as a customer. Having an understanding of who you don't want to serve can sometimes make it easier to know who you do want to serve.

To get a jump start, think of one customer who was a total nightmare to work with and document the things that made the relationship unsuccessful. The key here is to avoid focusing on personal characteristics, but rather on the reasons why they weren't a good fit for your product or service — high prices, the probability of increased churn, not being properly equipped for long-term success, etc. 

Define your customer avatar

  1. Demographic traits: List your avatar's demographic traits (e.g., age, sex, education level, income level, marital status, occupation, religion, and average family size). This area is typically easy to define.
  2. Psychographic traits: These are a little more complicated and require a deeper understanding of your customer. They're based on values, attitudes, interests and lifestyle. Examples include: wanting a healthy lifestyle, valuing time with family, and using Pinterest to do home DIY projects.
  3. Name your avatar: Naming your avatar humanizes the profile. If you are targeting both men and women, you'll want to create a male and female name.
  4. Put a face to their name: Find a picture online in stock photos that represents what your avatar looks like visually.
  5. Design a dossier: A dossier is a one-page collection of information about your avatar that includes their name, picture, information and story.
  6. Speaking of story: Write one about your customer avatar. Imagine you are your avatar and are journaling about the discovery of your product or service. What were they thinking before they bought your product? How were they feeling? Why were they feeling that way? What were they looking for? What were they hoping to solve or accomplish? How did they find you or hear about you? How did they feel once they purchased your product or service? 


“It’s all about empathy. When you listen to your customers and say, ‘I see you and I understand what you’re going through,’ they want to connect with you.“ - Lindsey Ardmore

At the most basic level, developing an empathetic customer avatar will help you become more effective in your messaging and cut through the noise in today's marketing landscape. Using it in combination with a solid lifecycle automation strategy is a surefire way to explode your business growth. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you begin creating your client avatar:

  • Create a negative avatar first to gain clarity about who you don't want to serve as a customer and who isn't a good fit.
  • Give your customer avatar a name, face and a personal story to bring them to life. Be as specific as possible—the more details you have, the more you and your perfect customer will connect.
  • Tackle one customer avatar at a time.
  • Create your avatar based on market research and customer feedback rather than your own opinions and perceptions.

Free resources that can help

Want to dig into avatar creation even further with someone who’s put it to powerful use for their business? Take a look at Keap’s Level Up webinar event with Lindsey Ardmore, founder of Star Tower Systems.

If you’re struggling to understand your ideal customer’s mindset, you’re not alone. A great exercise is to create an empathy map that mines this psychographic information for you.

Another great exercise involves exploring the steps of your buying process from your customer’s perspective. It’s called a customer journey map, and it can be vital to improving the experience of doing business with you in every way.

Now, the big one: automation. Keap recently commissioned the report Small Business Growth Trends, and it’s full of insights that can supercharge your growth — including data on the power of sales and marketing automation.

Ready to give sales and marketing automation a try? Keap’s 14-day free trial is the perfect place to start — and no credit card is needed.

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