I am having trouble clearly defining an avatar for prospects who may require branding and strategic web design. I cannot figure out how to find their pain points or their needs, as I haven't offered services to this market as yet. The trouble is defining who is actively looking and where I can find them, and then to understand them, and how broad or narrow I should define them.
What a great question! You are on the right track. First, lets define Avatar as "An icon or figure representing a particular person." In business application, an avatar is a representation of your ideal client/customer. A business may have multiple avatars representing several target demographics. Some prefer to distill this down to one person as an “avatar.” I recently interviewed super entreprenuer John Lee Dumas of EOfire.com and he has a very clear Avatar he calls "Jimmy" that he uses for business decisions you may want to check out.
I hope that you have already gone through the exercise of your UVP, or Unique Value Proposition. If not, may I suggest the worksheet on this page, first: http://bit.ly/1kYTLbf Ok, so once you've clarified the why choose me, then start working on your Avatar, that's the who, or as we marketers like to call them: personas that represent segments from your target market.
You have to start somewhere, right? So do. Are you going to first focus locally in your zip code and surrounding area? That can be one piece in helping you visualize your Avatar's lifestyle. Target marketing has to do with breaking your potential global audience into segments, specifically only the potential buyers of our product, service, or cause. As much as we might be tempted, we can’t be all things to all people. We have to commit and put some stakes in the ground. Are you ready to write your personal ad? Who are you looking for?
Some of the most basic questions you should ask in forming an idea of Customer Segmentation has to do with what these people want, need, think, and feel. No time is wasted from this exercise because it will ultimately lead you to where and with who they hang out (their tribe.)
Why is that our desired end point? Because that virtual or real (coffee shop, tradeshow, website, search engine, twitter feed, health fair, street location, podcast, meetup, traditional media) is where I should be hanging out with my product, service or cause and shouting my UVP from the rooftops as part of the conversation! Taking this thought experiment all the way through will also assist you in the critical understanding of whether the segment is large enough for you to be successful.
I like using the Personas app (available on iPad) to put forth a visual representation of my potential target markets, but a white board works too! Literally put in a photo representation of your Avatar with a Name, and start brainstorming out: Think and Feel? See? Hear? Say and Do? Hangs out with/where?
For you, offering your B2B services, maybe explore linked in to find where your peeps hang out and get a clearer idea of, let's call her, Samantha. Samantha is a small business owner of a growing service business whose revenues just got in the black. She has two employees and she's looking to hire another. She is struggling with getting her website up and mobile friendly and feels like she needs to be more effective in communicating what she does. She is overworked, in her mid 40s and recently divorced with 2 boys ages 10, 12. She has little time for fluff and needs guidance in creating a system that will help run her business. Can you help Samantha? :-)
If you'd like to get more tips that sound like this, I'd be tickled if you let me know if Sell Local. Think Global. speaks to you. It's my first book and I'm feeling very vulnerable putting myself out there! eep! Available now on Amazon: http://bit.ly/olgasbook
The avatar is going to be defined by your ideal customer. Your ideal customer needs to be defined by:
-The market they are serving
-Business size -- solo entrepreneur, 3-5 employees, 10+ employees. etc.
-Specify the service that you want to provide: web site design, logo design, offline brochures, etc.
Always, always narrow down as far as you can and then build from there. You never want to be the business that says: 'We specialize in everything' Because we all know that this means you are not any good at anything.
I am not sure if you are even sure yet what you want to offer never mind who you want to offer it to, but here's a quick thought:
If I was a web designer looking for clients I would niche down to a tight niche, then determine the avatar of my ideal client and then find where they are -- finding them is easy once you know who they are. ;)
Example: Web design -> WordPress-> Mobile responsive -> Chiropractors
This is still really vague and based on not knowing you or your business at all, but hopefully it will at least get you unstuck enough to keep moving ahead.
Let me know if I can help further.