Last week, we discussed why it’s helpful to create avatars that represent the specific types of clients you work with. The benefits of using avatars in your marketing include:
- Specifically defining who you serve
- Understanding your clients’ top challenges and concerns
- Targeting qualified prospects online by using information about your avatars
This week, I want to walk you through the process I recommend for creating your client avatars. The goal is to come up with three to five distinct groups of your existing clients and defining their unique characteristics. Then, choose the avatar you’d most like to work with in the future so we can create marketing campaigns to specifically target them. Here are some examples of avatars my advisor clients serve:
John Biotech works at UC San Diego and has competing needs of saving for retirement and college for his two children, who are now in high school. With $1 million saved for retirement, he’s a high earner, but lacks a disciplined budgeting and savings approach, so he is unsure of how his savings will support his family’s standard of living in retirement. He does not have a well defined tax strategy and may not have rolled over his retirement accounts from past employers. He feels disorganized and unsure of his retirement plan. Driven by confusion and uncertainty, he takes action now as he realizes he’s within 10 years of retirement.
Camille Conservative thrives on saving and worries about having enough to get by during retirement. Divorced for over a decade, she has amassed $900,000 in her 401(k), despite always choosing investments with little to no risk. Camille believes she’s ready to retire, but isn’t comfortable making the leap to living on her savings. She fears another market downturn, healthcare costs, and long-term care needs. She seeks solutions to protect her assets and her income in retirement.
Randy Rainmaker is a business owner with large swings in income. During times of famine, he suspends retirement savings and incurs debt. After strong years, he pays off debt, makes big purchases, and contributes up to the max towards his retirement. Now that he’s married, he wants a more concrete financial plan to support his family, save for college, and be sure he stays on course for retirement. His wife wants to understand where the money goes and whether they’re really on track, since their financial plan feels so chaotic.
Get Started Creating Your Avatars
To get started creating your client avatar, think about your existing clients. It may be helpful to print out a list of your clients’ names and begin putting them into groups of like-minded clients. Consider which of your clients remind you of each other or who came to you with the same concerns. Aim to put at least 75% of your clients into three to five rough groups.
Through this process, be sure to consider your ideal clients. These should be the clients that you enjoy working with, look forward to seeing, and realize a solid profit from. Most advisors know that 90% of their headaches come from 10% of their clients, so leave “problem clients” off your list.
CREATE A PROFILE
Now that you have a rough list of 5-10 clients who fit into each of your main groups, try to find common characteristics they share. Start with concrete information including:
- Job Title
- Previous Employers
These characteristics are important because we can use them to search for prospects who fit your avatar profile using social media.
ADD COLOR TO YOUR AVATARS
Now that you’ve defined the concrete demographic information for your avatars, it’s time to add some color with psychographic information. Take some time to find common threads between your existing clients including:
- What do they do for fun?
- Which causes are they passionate about?
- Which organizations do they belong to?
- Where do they volunteer?
- What are their most pressing financial challenges?
- Which questions do they ask you about their financial plan?
- What are their financial fears?
- What is their biggest financial goal?
- Which financial topics interest them the most?
- Who do they need to care for financially?
Understanding why clients take action and choose to work with you is critically important when developing your marketing campaigns. We’ll want to create “bait” that addresses their most pressing needs to capture their interest and reel them in.
ADD A NAME AND A FACE
Now that you have three to five avatars defined, be sure to name them and become familiar with each. Choose an adjective and a first name that reminds you of the client group for easy reference. It’s helpful to keep a specific client in mind for each avatar so you can easily remember their key characteristics.
USE YOUR AVATARS TO MAKE BETTER DECISIONS
As you make marketing decisions, ask yourself and your team, would Camille Conservative read this piece of content? Would John Biotech click on this advertisement? What types of webinars would Randy Rainmaker want to attend?
When creating marketing campaigns on social media, use the profile information you listed to target your ideal prospects by age, employer, and more on Facebook and LinkedIn. By targeting your paid ads with detailed demographic information, you can significantly improve the conversion rate and decrease your cost per new lead.
Create Your Next Marketing Campaign Around One Avatar
For your next marketing campaign, whether it be a video, a downloadable report, or a webinar, keep one of your avatars in mind. By targeting one specific group with clear traits and concerns, you can choose more compelling topics, offer more relevant information, and better target prospects on social media. Here are a few marketing campaigns we could create for our example avatars. Each of these could take the format of an article, report, webinar, or checklist.
JOHN BIOTECH MARKETING CAMPAIGN IDEAS
- How to Maximize Your UC San Diego Benefits Package
- Strategies to Balance Saving for Retirement and Saving for College
- Three Ways for Biotech Executives to Catch Up for Retirement in a Hurry
CAMILLE CONSERVATIVE MARKETING CAMPAIGN IDEAS
- Creating Income Streams for a Secure Retirement
- Protecting Your Nest Egg with Affordable Long-Term Care
- Single Woman’s Checklist: Are You Really Ready to Retire?
RANDY RAINMAKER MARKETING CAMPAIGN IDEAS
- How to Catch Up Financially After a Banner Year
- Creating a Solid Financial Plan with Variable Income
- Strategies for Business Owners to Save More and Minimize Taxes
When you create and run your marketing campaigns around your avatars, you’ll start to notice more success with your marketing and an easier closing process, since prospects feel that you understand their needs and are experienced helping people like them.
To learn more about how to use paid social media ads to target specific avatars, take my online course, The LinkedIn Course for Financial Advisors. Sections 9 and 10 of the course give step-by-step instructions for creating relevant bait and using paid advertisements to generate qualified leads on LinkedIn. Join the course waiting list by clicking here!
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Claire Akin runs Indigo Marketing Agency a digital marketing firm serving top independent financial advisors. Claire is a former Investment Advisor Representative who holds her MBA in Marketing from the Rady School of Management at UC San Diego as well as a BA in Economics from UC Davis. It’s her goal to help advisors grow their businesses by embracing a true specialty.