If you’ve hung around the marketing world for more than about 15 minutes, you’ve probably run across the term “avatar.”
In marketing-land, when we say “avatar,” we’re not talking about the tall blue movie aliens.
We mean a composite character that represents your ideal client.
Keeping this character in mind helps you write better copy. It helps you get inside that ideal client’s head and speak to what they care about. It helps you know where they hang out.
Avatars are helpful.
The problem is, you can spend LOTS of time (and money) to invent these characters — and then discover they’re not as ideal as you thought.
That’s the danger of fiction.
As a master of nonfiction writing 🧐, I have a bias:
Why INVENT a character when you can FIND one?
When I was working on my MFA in nonfiction, a sticky note on my desk read, “The truth is much more interesting.”
It was a reminder that convenient stereotypes and tropes are just that — convenient. They’re not necessarily better. In fact, they usually aren’t.
Wrestling with the messy truth of reality tends to be worth the effort.
I see that in reported storytelling and in memoirs.
And so far, I find it to be the case in marketing, too.
It’s why when I write someone’s website, I often interview their previous clients. I like to picture (and feel) a real example of exactly who I’m writing for. I even borrow their words.
It’s also why I practically leaped with joy the other day when I heard my friend Sarah said, “I want more clients like Janet. I loved working with Janet. I want 100,000 Janets!”
If you have a Janet you want to replicate, that means you have an avatar. Hurray! Congrats! Your business is ready to take off in ways that could make you really happy! All you need to do is attract more Janets!
Armed with your new insights about your real, beloved customer, you’re ready to seduce the world in a much more authentic way. (More about that some other time.)
So… Who’s your Janet?
This post was originally sent as an email to the Magic Words of the Week newsletter list. Every week, I share reflections on a word, quote, or phrase I think will help you thrive in your life’s work.