Most small business websites are ineffective because they’re designed completely backwards and they fail to profile the customer. While “profiling” can have serious connotations elsewhere, creating a good customer profile is a key step to designing and building a vastly more successful website for any small business in Fredericksburg.
Building a customer profile doesn’t have to take long. Today I’m going to show you how to a customer profile (also called a customer avatar) in less than five minutes that can make your website 10 times more effective.
Critical Points When Building an Instant Customer Avatar
- Don’t get too hung up on any one aspect of the avatar. Customer avatars should always be evolving.
- Make every attribute as narrow as possible.. You are not making a group of people, but a single Frankenstinien person. Why? Because doing so makes everything else easier. It makes it easier to fill in the blanks, and easier to target your marketing and verbiage down the road.
Core Elements of Your Instant Customer Avatar:
- Avatar Name
- Children and Ages
- Job Title
- Level of Education
- Pain Points
To show you how this is done, I’ve created a customer avatar for an imaginary small HVAC company. Grab a sheet of paper, follow along, and create your own 5 Minute Customer Avatar. Next to each element of the avatar you’ll a short explanation for why.
5 Minute Customer Avatar for a Home Services Industry Website
- Avatar Name: Susan Homeowner
- Gender: Female (“Based on my experience in the HVAC industry my gut tells me that a married woman is the one making the decision 65-90% of the time.”)
- Age: 35 Years Old (“Our best Susan’s recently bought this home. It’s their “raise a family” home, not their starter home. If we can take care of her and her home, she’ll be a customer for the next 30 years!”)
- Children and Ages: 2 kids ages 7 and 4. (“With the second child finally in preschool, Sarah finally has time to look around to find the best company for the long haul. Any earlier and they would only be looking for a quick one-time fix in a crisis.”)
- Location: Spotsylvania
- Occupation: None (“Sarah is thinking about re-entering the workforce after a few years focusing on young motherhood. She’s concerned about all the changes that are happening and seeking stability and reliable answers. While she’s excited to get back to her career she’s also reasonably concerned about the transition out of the home and wants to make sure she can still be a good caretaker for her family.”)
- Job Title: None (Blank for this example)
- Income: $85,000 household income (“With Sarah returning to work, and the kids out of pre-school, their family has some additional income for services that improve their quality of life.”)
- Level of Education: College Graduate (“Do not underestimate Sarah, she is smart and not afraid of hard work or research. Disrespect her or treat her like a lesser and we will never hear from her again. The language we use in our advertising will be very important.”)
WIth the core details figured out, we get to the powerful second half of the avatar. A lot of great ideas come from an understanding of the next four key factors about this customer’s personality.
- Goals: Return to the workforce somewhere she can love her work. Be a loving mother, wife, and friend. With the kids a little older, Sarah is interested in hosting some social events now that the kids require less of her time and energy.
- Values: Reliability, History, Social Proof. (“Sarah hates that their young family had to deal with their HVAC system breaking in the past. She’s no longer willing to try a brand-new fly-by-night technician, but instead she wants a company that’s been around a while and she feels confident will be the answer for many years. She’s not willing to be a guinea pig for something like this. Sarah gets on Facebook and asks friends for recommendations. When she buys a product (such as online at Amazon.com) or a service she does her research and actually reads the reviews”)
- Challenges: Sarah won’t even contact us if we have less than 20 reviews on Google and Facebook.
- Pain Points: System failing on the first hot day of summer (when the kids are home). Unreliable service from inexperienced company. Technician she can trust to be in her home.
Now, if you’ve gotten this far, you’ve probably already thought of several things you need to change about the way you do business. But for the sake of this example, I’m going to stick to the website for now.
Use Your Instant Customer Avatar to Design Your Website
I don’t know about you, but I learn best when I get my hands in and do a thing. So let’s keep going with our home services local company website example.
What we want is for Sarah to land on our website and think “Wow! This company gets me!” Now that we know so much about Sarah, how do we accomplish that?
If you haven’t already then this is the point where it really helps to sit down with a professional website company (like ours!) But however you do it, here are some tips:
- Remember that the website is for Sarah, not for you.
- Choose colors that will resonate with Sarah, not colors you like.
- Choose messages (wording backed up by images) throughout the website that demonstrate you understand her challenges and her perspective and you have the solution. For example: Sweaty kids belong outdoors. Keep your family cool all summer, guaranteed. Read our reviews on Google here. The image might be two kids standing in the doorway waiting to come inside. Even the call to action is “read our reviews” not “Call now”, because you understand how important Reviews are to Sarah. You’re not asking her to skip a step in the relationship – instead you’re showing that you understand her values and you embrace them! This example messaging could definitely be improved, but I hope it helps you get the idea.
- Before you add anything to your website ask yourself “What will Sarah think?”
Isn’t it amazing how much more customer friendly you can make your website when you spend just a few minutes to create a customer avatar? After you’ve gotten the first one complete, it might be time to do a few more (depending on your business.) Ultimately a website driven from the customers perspective will be far more valuable than a website driven by the business owner’s perspective.