“Think Jaws…in space.”
That's how Ridley Scott's Alien was pitched to 20th Century Fox (…with the unfortunate working title of Star Beast).
“Think Pocahontas…in space.”
That's definitely NOT how James Cameron pitched Avatar to Fox studios, though it would have been an apt summary of the plot. Likewise, FernGully, The Last Samurai, and Dances with Wolves (all in space) would have worked too.
Perhaps surprisingly, Fox initially rejected Cameron's proposal on the grounds of his overly-ambitious vision (and astronomical production budget of $237 million).
Critics were likewise skeptical, predicting the film would be a major box office disappointment.
Cameron, however, was undeterred by the naysayers.
His sentiment is that pressure is good for filmmakers, that pressure…
“Makes us think about our audience and what they want.”
And clearly Cameron succeeded.
Avatar became the highest grossing film in history on January 26th, 2010, at $2,779,404,183 USD worldwide.
Which begs the question…
How does a story we’ve been told numerous times become the biggest blockbuster of all time?
Well, it’s quite simple, really…
It all comes down to one thing:
Understanding how to connect with your audience.
That's how you put butts in seats.
That's how you move audiences to tears at the sight of a CGI tree burning to the ground (…or was that just me?).
And that's also how, to be a successful network marketer and online entrepreneur…
You connect with your most profitable audience and maximize your advertising budget—producing more leads and sales from every dollar you spend.
The Importance of Targeted Traffic
Imagine paying for thousands of visitors to your website,
But none of them actually buy anything from you.
That's no bueno!
Yet it happens all the time.
Many marketers make the mistake of approaching traffic generation with a “shotgun” mentality; they figure the wider and broader their marketing, the more people they reach, the more potential customers they'll attract.
Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth.
“It no longer makes economic sense to send an advertising message to the many in hopes of persuading the few.”
– M. Lawrence Light, Former CMO, McDonald's
No matter what traffic strategy you're using,
Untargeted traffic is USELESS.
It's a complete waste of time and money! In fact, it's equitable to chasing down “prospects” at the mall.
Marketers trying to sell to a broad market are increasing the amount of competition they’ll have to fight through in order to stand out from the crowd … long before even thinking about closing a sale.
And all too quickly, this “spray and pray” approach will burn through their budget, keep them broke, and wind up killing their businesses.
To be a successful network marketer, you need targeted traffic! And this is accomplished through focusing your marketing and content towards a laser-targeted, ultra-specific, and highly-responsive demographic.
In the words of Philip Kotler; renowned author, professor, and marketing consultant…
“Don’t just go after everyone. Define the target market carefully … and then really position yourself as different and as superior to that target market.”
The good news is…
Once you do this, you’ll have a MUCH easier time creating ads and content that will truly resonate with your prospects, grabbing their attention, and peaking their interest…
So they’ll actually want to find out more about you and your products or services.
And the simplest way to focus your efforts to attract a specific audience is by creating a customer “avatar.”
What's an Avatar?
A customer avatar—forget about James Cameron’s box-office hit for a minute or two—is an “imaginary” representation of an individual person, which brings together all the key characteristics of your “best customers.”
Sometimes referred to as a “perfect audience,” your customer avatar will gather all the traits shared by the people who are most likely to buy from you, and will exclude any traits that are not shared by this specific group of people.
Eben Pagan, a highly-respected Internet marketing pioneer, defines an avatar as an imaginary representative; person you create and picture in your mind to stand in for your actual customers.
Pagan also explains that, in order to create your perfect customer avatar, you must first understand who the people that buy from you actually are, instead of defining this imaginary person as you’d like them to be.
So, in order to be a successful network marketer, and even before you start bringing your avatar to life, you must first figure out…
Who Will Relate to You?
Trace your steps back to even before you ever thought about building your own business.
Identify key events in your life that have helped shape you as a person; acknowledge your failures and think about what you’ve had to do to overcome the obstacles that stood between you and your goals.
Take a good look at yourself…
- What sets you apart from the rest?
- What will make people resonate with you over someone else?
- What kind of people will relate to you and your struggles and successes?
- Who will be inspired by your story and be compelled to follow in your footsteps?
Being aware of your background will help you identify which type of people you will be most comfortable building relationships with…
…because building relationships is really what online marketing is all about!
“Marketers need to build digital relationships and reputation before closing a sale.”
– Chris Brogan, founder of New Marketing Labs
Once you’ve figured out your story, how to tell it, and who to tell it to…
Think About Your Avatar’s Pains and Frustrations
Potential customers are looking for more than just someone they can relate to; they’re looking for a solution to their problems!
Whether it’s in the form of a nutritional supplement, an effective cure for a overly-hairy neck, or a business opportunity, your target market is looking for a solution to a specific problem.
As Larry Weber, author of Marketing to the Social Web says:
“People don't want to be sold. What people do want is news and information about the things they care about.”
- Is your avatar having financial problems?
- Is he/she looking for a way to make some extra cash?
- Is he/she working two jobs to pay for someone’s college tuition?
- Is your “perfect customer” a high-school dropout or a grad student?
- Does he/she have children?
- Is your avatar frustrated he/she can’t spend enough time with the family because he/she is spending too much time at the office?
Be as specific as possible!
And always remember…
Even the happiest person has pains and frustrations!
Once you’ve identified your avatar’s problems, it’s time to…
Figure Out the Details
Remember: your avatar is an imaginary representation of an individual, so you need to be extremely specific when it comes to bringing your avatar “to life.”
The more specific you get, the easier it will be for you to picture your avatar as an actual person.
If at all possible, talk to your actual customers and try to pinpoint what they all have in common; listen to their problems and concerns, so that you may understand how you are providing them with solutions.
To paint a clearer picture of who your avatar is, ask yourself:
- Is your perfect customer male or female?
- What is his/her name?
- What does he/she look like?
- What type of clothes does he/she wear?
- Is he/she 10 or 20 pounds overweight?
- Is he bald, balding…or excessively hairy?
- How old is he/she?
- What does he/she do for a living?
- What kind of movies does he/she like?
- What kind of music does he/she listen to?
- Does he/she read the newspaper?
- How many books does he/she read in a year?
- What are his/her favorites?
- Does he/she own an Android phone or an iPhone?
- Is he/she a PC or Mac user?
- How much time does he/she spend on Facebook? (Trust me; this is more important than you might think!)
- Does he/she have a website?
- Is he/she an avid blogger?
- Does he/she comment on other people’s blogs and websites?
- Is he/she a social person?
- Is he/she a member of a specific group on Google?
Now, beyond the physical appearance and personality of your ideal customer, you need to get specific when it comes to your avatar’s problems and desires:
- Is he/she $20,000 in debt?
- Is he/she frustrated because he can’t make enough time to take a basic web design online course?
- Is he/she fed up with his “9-to-5,” and looking to gain more control over his time?
- Would he/she be willing to sacrifice a “steady” income for large commissions in a sales position?
- Does he/she feel unappreciated at his current job?
- Is he/she tired of being stuck behind a desk all day?
- Would he/she be more comfortable in a creative or artistic field of work?
- Is he/she a frustrated writer?
- Does he/she walk past the community college and wishes he had time to take a course or two?
- Does he/she have an unfinished novel gathering “digital dust” on an external hard drive?
- Does he/she wish he could turn into a full-time travel blogger, but doesn’t even know where and how to get started?
It’s these details that will help you figure out…
How Can YOU Help Your Avatar?
Once you’ve painted a very detailed picture of your avatar, it’s time to figure out how you can help this person with his problems.
Would he/she be interested in…
- A fill-in-the-blank game plan to set SMART goals and get out of debt?
- Learning the basics of entrepreneurship and what type of business to get starting with (real estate vs. franchising vs. network marketing vs. affiliate marketing)?
- Studying WordPress development and to learning how to sell pre-configured websites?
- Advanced strategies to increase the average transaction value per customer via multivariate split testing?
- A course on time management so he/she can finally start making money on the side and quit his/her day job?
- Personal coaching on closing high ticket prospects over the phone?
- Learning systems to “scale” your sales into repeatable, predictable, and automatic revenue
- Training for artists to turn their passions into profits?
- A daily writing challenge to overcome writer's block or finally finish their unfinished masterpiece?
- Insider advice from a former tax professional on hacking business travel deductions?
- The best place to get an online “MBA” for a fraction of the cost (from “professors” that actually run successful businesses)?
You've got to dig deep and get inside your avatar's head to answer the questions.
Take your time and figure out what's really motivating them.
“Think like a customer.”
– Paul Gillin, author of The New Influencers
However, this is not just a matter of how to communicate with them, but also where to communicate.
- How is your avatar searching for solutions to his/her problems?
- Does he/she trust a blog more than a corporate-looking website?
- Does he/she use Google, Bing, or Yahoo!?
- Is he/she a member of an online marketing community?
- Is he/she fed up with the onslaught of poorly-targeted advertising every single time he/she logs into YouTube to watch funny cat videos? (And who isn’t, am I right?)
- Is he/she looking for a business opportunity on Facebook?
- Is he/she a musician and still visits MySpace once every month or so?
These are all details that will help you determine the best way to reach your avatar, whether it's by PPC, SEO, content marketing, solo ads, video marketing, Craigslist, or even the local newspaper.
Now that you’ve got a better idea of whom you’ll be addressing whenever you create a piece of content (or create an ad), you should also have a better idea on what will actually get their attention.
However, keep in mind that you should always…
Address Your Avatar as an Individual
The whole point of building an avatar is being able to imagine that you’re speaking to ONE person at a time, even when you’re crafting an article that will be read by hundreds, if not thousands, of prospects.
More importantly, you should be yourself at all times!
“Bring the best of your authentic self to every opportunity”
– John Jantsch, author of Duct Tape Marketing
To be a successful network marketer, every piece of content you create should be addressed to that single imaginary person sitting across from you at a café or a restaurant.
And remember that nobody likes to be pitched the latest organic “miracle Amazonian berry” supplement when they’re simply trying to enjoy a nice, hot cappuccino (or one of those pumpkin chai spice lattes I keep hearing so much about).
Create Your “Pre-Filter”
Now you are ready to detail your perfect customer avatar.
You might be surprised of how specific you can actually get once you put your mind to answering the following questions outlined above…
- How do I relate to my avatar?
- What problems of theirs can I help solve?
- What specific questions of theirs can I help answer?
- How I'm uniquely positioned to help?
- Where to find them and how to speak to them about their needs?
- Why should they give a $#!+ about my product/service?
Once you've created your avatar,
You're ready to set up your advertising “pre-filter.”
What's a pre-filter?
A pre-filter is a method of leveraging the advertising platforms (like Google, Facebook, or YouTube) to weed out the people who are NOT interested in what you have to offer—thereby saving your marketing dollars and a lot of heartache marketing to people who might otherwise NEVER become your customer.
A pre-filter ensures you achieve a “message to market” match and, for example,
Filter out all the vegetarians…
…if you're in the business of selling steaks.
You'll exactly how this works in day 2 of our 10-Day Online Recruiting Bootcamp.
Ferny Ceballos, CMO of Attraction Marketing, has already done the “heavy lifting” and outlines exactly how to get started quickly with creating a precise and effective advertising pre-filter.
Until next time,
Director of Content