Getting Your Prospects' Attention: Create A Character!

Debbie LaChusa

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When you are marketing and selling a product or service, it's key that you understand who you are talking to.

Who is your ideal customer?

Who has a problem that you, your product or service can solve?

Who would be most interested in your product or service?

Who is most likely to buy your product or service?

Once you identify who the best customer or ideal client is for your product or service, write a description of that person.

How old are they?

Are they male or female?

Where do they live?

What kind of work do they do?

What do they do for fun?

What is the problem your product or service can help them solve?

Are they affluent or is money tight?

You may not have all the answers to these questions, but do the best you can to write a detailed description.

Once you have completed the description, take it one step further: Create a character.

What exactly do I mean by that?

Picture in your mind, a single person who embodies all of these characteristics. Once you have a picture in your mind, begin to think about who this person is.

Here's an example

Let's say you are a wellness coach or fitness professional and your ideal client is a middle-aged, overweight woman who does not currently take very good care of herself, but wishes to drop a few pounds and get healthier.

First, here's a description

She is a woman between the ages of 35 and 50 years old; she's married with school-aged children; she works full- or part-time; leads a stressful, busy life trying to manage her family and work responsibilities; doesn't take very good care of herself because she's always caring for others; is 20-30 pounds overweight as a result; and doesn't eat very healthfully.

Now, here's how we create a character

First, we give her a name: Mary Smith

Then we imagine how her typical day goes, as follows:

Mary gets up at 6:00am and fixes breakfast for her two elementary school-aged children. She helps them get dressed and ready for school. She makes their lunches. She kisses her husband goodbye as he leaves for work, and proceeds to get ready for work herself.

Mary loads the kids in the car, drops them off at school, and heads to work. She works in a busy office, and rarely takes time off for lunch. Because she usually doesn't make time to pack her own lunch, she often runs out for fast food or another quick take-out lunch, and returns to the office to eat at her desk while she works.

At about 3:00pm, Mary needs a pick-me-up so she grabs a soda and a sugary snack from the vending machine.

Mary leaves the office at 5:30 and heads to the babysitter to pick up the kids. They arrive home between 6:30 and 7:00pm, tired and hungry.

Dinner is often fast food, frozen pizza or another quick meal, usually lacking in solid nutrition.

After dinner Mary helps the kids with their homework, gives them a bath and puts them to bed.

She sits down to relax in front of the TV with her husband around 9:00pm and has some ice cream f:00am to start this routine all over again.

Now, let me ask you a question

Do you feel like you know and understand your prospective client better based on the general description (age, family status, etc. ) or based on the detailed ‘character’ description about Mary Smith and her typical day?

Which description would best enable you to create effective marketing messages?

Which description would enable you to select places to put your marketing messages to reach this ideal client?

If you're like most people, your answer is the detailed character description because it turns a generalized description of your ideal client into a person you can understand. A person who has very clear challenges and issues you can help solve.

Yes, you will be making some assumptions and generalities when you do this. That's okay. Just consider you are creating a character that represents the type of client you would like to reach with your marketing. This character is merely a representation.

Combine the character description with a photo

To further identify with your ideal client, you may even want to post this character description along with a photo cut-out from a magazine to represent him/her, as a reminder of who you are marketing to.

Creating a character brings your target audience to life

It allows you to market and speak to people. It enables you to create messages that touch those ideal clients and truly address the challenges they face in their daily lives. It allows you to see how you, your product or service fits into their lives as a solution to those problems.

It enables you to market more effectively

I challenge you to look at your target audience description and take it one step further and create a character. Then make sure all of your marketing is designed to speak to that person in language that resonates with them and helps them see you understand their issues or needs.

Try it. I think you'll find that your marketing becomes much more powerful and effective as a result.

(C) Copyright 2005 Debbie LaChusa

Debbie LaChusa created The 10stepmarketing System to make marketing your own business as simple as answering 10 questions. Learn more about this unique, step-by-step system and get a free 10-week Marketing E-Course when you subscribe to the free, weekly 10stepmarketing Ezine at


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