One of the biggest questions I’m asked when teaching copywriters to write sales letters is this:

“How do I choose the right avatar?”

Coming right at the start of the research process, the identification and development of your customer avatar is an essential element in the copywriting process.

But it’s more than that.

Your choice and creation of your avatar ultimately defines whether your sales letter will be a success.

Get it wrong and you’ll be pitching your product to the wrong audience and all your efforts will be for nothing.

Craft your avatar with care and attention up front, paying attention to the research you’ve done into your market and you’re halfway there to guaranteeing the success of your launch.

Your avatar should emerge naturally from your research and preparation. You may already have clues as to who it is.

By looking at past customers, if any, you’ll see patterns. Or if the product has yet to launch, your research into the competition will bring forward their customers who’ll most likely meet your avatar profile.

It may emerge there are several audiences for whom your product would be suitable. It may be tempting to craft a piece with all these audiences in mind.

Yet, to do so would be a mistake. Your sales message needs to speak to one person and one person, only.

With this in mind, here’s four key pointers to keep in mind when choosing your avatar:

1 ) Don’t simply focus on whether an avatar wants to buy the product you’re selling or the solution that your product provides. Also look at whether a particular avatar has the capacity to purchase (i.e. can they afford it?) and the willingness to pay for it (i.e. will they buy?).

It’s all too easy to find people who would benefit from buying your product… but it’s a huge leap between suitability and making the sale. The avatar you choose should focus on the avatar with lowest path of resistance.

How do you know which avatar is least resistant? Look at the profiles who have bought the same product recently. They’re your hottest prospects.

2) Don’t use guesswork. One of the difficulties every newbie copywriters has is putting down on paper the avatar in the first place.

An avatar isn’t a work of pure fiction. It brings together all the elements of your ideal customer so that they feel like a real human being you can converse with.

How do you eliminate guesswork? The hands-down best way is to actually speak to potential or existing customers. Failing this use existing case studies, trawl forums and discover the communities where your customer talks about their issues.

3) Go deep. Knowing what your avatar does for a job and where he spends his weekends will only take you so far.

The whole point of discovering this information is the impact it has on their everyday thought process and feelings towards whatever it is you’re selling. When crafting your avatar go deeper into what they think or feel about themselves.

Actually talk in their voice. Use first person perspective. But keep it anchored in reality.

(Once nailed this process can be massively insightful. The real gold is when two belief system or realities that concern the problem they’re trying to solve runs up against each other.)

And, finally, remember..

4) Don’t make your avatar an average of several different audiences.

The worst thing you could do is craft an avatar who pulls elements of different target buyers to create a profile that doesn’t reflect anyone.

Remember, it’s better to write to somebody well, than write to many people, badly.

Of course, it always helps when you have a community of pros around you to help craft and develop your avatar to maximise your chances of success when your product hits market.

This is the bread-and-butter of what marketers and copywriters are dealing with everyday over on Copy Chief. If you want us to run your avatar through the grinder, hop on over right now.

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