Use Your Ideal Customer Avatar to Boost Google Ads Performance

There are a lot of components involved in a successful Google Ads campaign, but there’s one overarching theme that connects most of them: thinking like your customer.

There are a lot of components involved in a successful Google Ads campaign, but there’s one overarching theme that connects most of them: thinking like your customer. Many small business owners who do their own marketing are simply too attached to what they do to take a step back and look at things from a different perspective. An ideal customer avatar can help.

What Is an Ideal Customer Avatar?

An ideal customer avatar — also known as an ideal customer persona or profile — is a hypothetical person who would purchase your goods or services. You may have one or a few, depending on your business, but you don’t want to have too many — the key word here is “ideal.” Avatars are quite granular, which helps you really get in the mindset of your customer. To start creating an avatar, think about your customer’s:

  • Basic demographics (age, sex, location, marital status)
  • Income bracket
  • Education level
  • Hobbies and interests
  • Occupation
  • Household size

This is all useful, but next, we’re really going to dig deep. Here’s where you think about the mindset of your customer and go beyond the numbers and stats. Ask yourself:

  • Why do they need your product or service? How will purchasing your product or service improve their lives?
  • What are your customer’s goals?
  • What are your customer’s core values?
  • What challenges do they face? What are their pain points?
  • What would they be searching for on Google that would lead them to your business? (This question will also help you decide which keywords to target.)

To really help you connect with potential customers, you can take this a step further an write a profile of your avatar in narrative form.

Using an Ideal Customer Avatar for Google Ads

One of the biggest mistakes you can make with Google Ads is to market what you think the benefits of your product or service are. When you do this, you can easily fall into the trap of being too vague and assuming that the very existence of your business is compelling enough to drive sales.

When your Google Ads aren’t customized to your ideal customer, it’s just like launching a campaign with no parameters in place. Throwing things at the wall and seeing what sticks is never good marketing — it’s all about targeting the right customer.

Take the ideal customer avatar you created and think about what would prompt them to click through to your website and make a purchase. Go back to those questions we asked earlier and use them to create customized ad copy. Tell them how your business:

  • Will make their lives better.
  • Will help them meet their goals.
  • Fits in with their values.
  • Will help them overcome their challenges.
  • Is what they’ve been looking for.

Use your most compelling call to action in your Google Ad; keep it short, punchy, clear, and direct. Then, build on that call to action with a custom landing page for each ad you create. The landing pages should touch on all of the points above and flesh out the CTA in your ad.

Naturally, you’ll want to take the demographics you’ve decided upon for your ideal customer avatar and use those in targeting your ads. Remember, you don’t want people clicking on your ads if they’re not going to make a purchase, so don’t be afraid to target a very small subset of Google users.

Expanding Beyond Google Search Ads

When you’re ready to expand your ads beyond Google Search, then you need to expand on your customer avatar. Ask and answer questions like:

  • What publications do your customers read?
  • What podcasts do your customers listen to?
  • What types of websites are your customers visiting?
  • What other complimentary businesses are your customers buying from?
  • What products or services do your customers buy before or after purchasing from your business?

The answers to these questions will help guide your decisions about how to expand your campaigns to other ad networks like Google Display, YouTube Ads, and Facebook Ads.

Want more tips to improve your Google Ads performance? Click here to grab a copy of our Ultimate Google Ads checklist.

 

 

‘Altercasting’ and the Art of Persuasion

Successful direct response copywriters imagine and feel the persona of the prospective customers. That sixth sense — where a writer takes on the mindset of the reader — is a path to persuasive copy. So are marketers using a persuasion technique where a person is cast in a role that encourages them to behave …

Flip the brain switch.Successful direct response copywriters imagine and feel the persona of the prospective customers. That sixth sense — where a writer takes on the mindset of the reader — is a path to persuasive copy. So are marketers using a persuasion technique where a person is cast in a role that encourages them to behave in a desired manner?

Altercasting caught my attention in a recent article in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), quoting psychologists as saying “it’s widely used in the real world—by advertisers, fundraisers, parents, teachers, spouses, and therapists, among others.”

Altercasting is a theory of persuasion created by sociologists Eugene Weinstein and Paul Deutschberger in 1963. The goal is to project the identity of a role you want another person to assume to encourage them to behave in a desired manner. Altercasting supposedly targets both the social role and ego of a person.

Some examples cited by the WSJ drive this point: Want your co-worker to stay late and proofread a report you wrote? Mention that she is a good writer and really knows the subject. Hope to talk your meat-and-potatoes friend into trying the new Vietnamese restaurant? Tell him you admire his adventurous spirit. Want your husband to clean the garage? Point out what a supportive husband he is and how you know he wants you to be happy

Altercasting has two sub groups — “manded” and “tact.”

Manded altercasting is when you don’t change your behavior but openly state a role for the other person. The WSJ detailed another example to demonstrate manded altercasting specifically: “Honey, you’re such a wonderful cook. Would you mind making dinner tonight?”

Tact altercasting is passive, where you don’t state anything explicitly but change your behavior to suggest a role for the other person. If you wanted your spouse to cook, you might fumble around in the kitchen, pretending you can’t find the right ingredients, until your spouse steps in.

By definition, altercasting seems manipulative and even potentially dangerous if misused. But smart adaptation of this approach for persuasive purposes has critical applications in marketing and copywriting.

Begin with your customer’s persona by imagining what they feel. When you write to that individual, encourage self-awareness and thus engagement. This instigates persuasion and gives a customer a sense of permission from themselves to take action.

Self-awareness examples would include:

  • In fundraising, a reminder to the reader — especially past donors — that they are generous individuals, and you hope they’ll be generous again.
  • For life insurance, suggest to the reader that they are likely concerned about their loved ones’ financial future, so you help them realize they should be financially responsible.
  • For a health supplement, caution that while an individual may be an active adult and look good on the outside, inside their body a completely different scenario could be unfolding.

The key is to sense the persona of your prospective customer and place them in a certain mindset before relaying your message. Then engage, build trust and persuade so customers can allow themselves to act in response to your message.

My new book, “Crack the Customer Mind Code” details a dozen persona types I’ve observed over my career. It’s available at the DirectMarketingIQ bookstore. Or download my free seven-step guide to help you align your messaging with the persona of your prospective buyer. It’s titled “When You Need More Customers, This Is What You Do.”