I don’t know about you but I love the Harry Potter series of books and movies, and J.K. Rowlings own story is almost as magical! Her journey from a one room flat to international fame and to being one of the richest people in the world is one we can all take a few notes from and perhaps leverage a few of her best ideas in marketing.
Characters and customer avatars:
When writing books of such complexity J.K. has to put herself into the shoes of each and every one of the characters in her books, just like a good marketing campaign we start with our characters. In our case our characters are of course our customer avatars, our customers, clients and potential customers and clients. Remember small businesses like ours often only define one type of customer avatar, however we all usually have more than one.
The questions to get started on defining the characters you will be marketing your brand to are: Who are they? What makes them tick? What are their pain points? What irks them? What worries them? What are they seeking? What makes them happy? …How can my business make them happy?
Now write a paragraph in the ‘voice’ of your customer avatars expressing their wants and needs from your business,
“Hi my name is Annie, I am a business woman and grandmother who drives her car daily for work and who wants to be sure she is safe on the road and most of all her grandchildren are safe in her car. I am also teaching my youngest child to drive in my car which adds to the wear and tear on it and I worry about the cost of keeping my car mechanically sound and in good condition.
I dislike taking my car to for a service only to be given a list of often fictional mechanical faults that are going to cost me more than I can afford. I am looking for a mechanic I can trust, who will be honest with me about what needs to be done to my car, who will not try to rip me off and who will give me a quality work without over pricing it. I would be so happy if I could find someone like that who I could trust to do the right thing by me and know that when I take my car to them to be serviced or fixed my car and I are in safe and trustworthy hands who understand my financial situation.”
Where do my characters ‘hang out’ and with whom?
Now that you have defined a few of your customer avatars, your next step is to figure out where and with whom they would ‘hang out’. This helps you to ‘flesh out’ the character of your ideal customer and to give you a goal for your marketing promotions. This information will give you the ideal places to post your promotions and connect with your customers demographics and most importantly get those word of mouth recommendations your business needs.
What would my characters do and say about my product/service when things go right for them or when things go wrong?
Now that you know a little more about your customer and potential customer it’s time to put yourself more firmly in their state of mind. Imagine if they purchased from you and loved your service or product what would they be saying about it?
Now imagine what Annie would say if things went wrong? What words would she use? What would be her biggest bug bear and how would she handle it? Would she come back and ask you to sort it out, or would she just complain to her family and friends and take her car elsewhere?
What words would this 50 year old grandmother be using?
How would my characters feel when things go right? or wrong?
Now we go even deeper into empathy, imagine just how Annie is feeling about using your business when she is having a great experience with your firm? When she feels she is getting just what she asked for? When her car is mechanically sound and going well and she doesn’t have to worry any more? When she knows she can trust you and your business to do right by her and the costs are financially acceptable to her? What words would she be using? Who would she be telling?
This Annie would be telling the world! Literally because this customer has a huge audience on social media, think about that!
Now think about the consequences to your business of what Annie would be feeling about you and your business if the opposite were true…
What words and calls to action would engage and attract my characters to act?
Now that you know your character… er… um… customer avatar quite a lot more than you did before reading this post, it’s time to define what words and calls to action would attract the attention of this customer, what would make her feel safe in coming to you with her business?
What words would immediately gain her trust? Once you had her business how would you retain it? What would keep her trust? What would entice Annie into not only becoming a loyal customer but also an advocate for your business? Spreading word of mouth recommendations to her friends off and online? What would it take to make Annie a raving fan of your business?
In other words what spells can you write that will magically make your perfect customers appear and stay?
Now the rest of this magical story is up to you! It’s time to write your characters into the story of your brand…
We may not all be able to write like J.K. Rowling, but we all can access the magic of creativity, intuition, and empathy. When we draw upon this magic in the service of our prospective customers and clients, marketing can be spellbinding.