Best Clients, User Personas, and Ideal Customer Avatars

Myth of the Ideal Customer Avatar

Ask any “marketing person” what you need to know before you start marketing your product or service and they’ll tell you some version of:

  • ideal customer avatar
  • buyer persona or user persona
  • voice of customer research (this one’s a favorite of copywriters!)

But do you know what’s wrong with all of that? It’s jargon. And jargon-y language has no business in the real world. It’s great if you’re at a conference, learning your craft among people with similar education and experience. But all jargon does when you’re talking to your audience, to a potential client, is set up a wall between them and you.

When you go to a good doctor they say to you, “Wow, that’s a nasty bruise.” Their notes in your medical chart will say something more along the lines of, “Patient presents with a significant hematoma.” They reserve their jargon for THEIR notes, not their interaction with you, the patient.

When marketers throw around terms like the “ideal customer avatar” it sets up a barrier between them and you. It’s a way of shortcutting, it reeks of expert status run amok, and in the end, it doesn’t serve either party.

Are you working with customers or clients?

Service providers working 1:1 or in small group programs should be getting to know their clients. Do they need to best friends? No. But they likely desire more personality exchange than you might find from your local Target checkout employee.

Also–most course creators genuinely care about their students learning from their courses. They’re embarrassed to hear most courses have only a 5-15% completion rate, depending on the stat source.

I prefer working in as little a transactional way as possible, whether it’s a client choosing my $37 course helping them organize their content planning or a client choosing to hire me for a full content measurement dashboard, working together for several months. Thus, I call them my best clients.

What is a Best Client?

A best client, simply put, is the person you can most easily (and happily) help with a problem they most urgently want to solve.

To channel Liam Neeson a bit, you’ve got a particular set of skills. They probably come easy to you or perhaps you’ve developed them with care over time. And those skills are really good at fixing a particular kind of problem.

Your best client may share some identifying characteristics with others–those demographics you often hear bandied about when people talk about avatars. Perhaps all your clients are middle-aged women–or maybe instead of that being what identifies them, it’s people who happen to have a particular fitness problem and people with that problem tend to be middle-aged women.

One of the characteristics is physical, and another is psychological. Knowing both helps you define your best client.

If you need help putting together the best client profile that helps you create better content and marketing, the Best Client Builder is an easy, quick way to focus on what matters and skip the things that don’t.

Targeted Content About Your Best Client:

  • Guide to Converting with Client-Focused Content

    Guide to Converting with Client-Focused Content

    Hey, friends, how are you guys this week? I hope everyone is leaning into spring. We’ve had the weirdest weather here in Portland for the last month and a half. But I think it might be on the upswing, I don’t know. Yes, knocking on my fake wood desk there, you know, just making sure … Read more


  • Validating Your Offers with Melissa Harstine #191

    Validating Your Offers with Melissa Harstine #191

    This week on the podcast, we are talking with Melissa Harstine, a Customer Research Specialist. As a researcher, copywriter, and trained journalist, she explains the best ways to get to know your ideal customer to improve your sales and marketing. If you are in the stage of business where you need a consultant to take … Read more


  • The Importance of Inclusive Marketing

    The Importance of Inclusive Marketing

    This article is about inclusive marketing and shoulder clients, and I’m gonna call myself out here, if either of those terms are scaring the bejesus out of you, don’t worry, we’re gonna define them in a minute. I want to kind of frame this in talking about inclusive marketing. And some of the concepts I’m … Read more


  • Inclusive Marketing & Shoulder Clients #166

    Inclusive Marketing & Shoulder Clients #166

    Today we are talking about inclusive marketing and shoulder clients. Some of the concepts I’m going to be talking about are very specific, and maybe even feel exclusionary — they’re not. This is actually a way for you to draw people in. Topics discussed in this episode: Why inclusive market and allowing people to self-select … Read more


  • Visibility = Currency #161

    Visibility = Currency #161

    Tracy Phillips, a 20-year, Emmy-nominated video pro, joins me on the podcast today and we talk about using video to market yourself and your business. Topics discussed in this episode: How Tracy has taken her knowledge from the film world and translated it to online marketing Navigating impostor syndrome The beauty of being yourself and … Read more


  • Removing Your Ego From Your Marketing #160

    Removing Your Ego From Your Marketing #160

    Today on the podcast, I’m excited to dive into the topic of removing your ego from your marketing. Topics discussed in this episode: Two concepts that you need to internalize in order to remove your ego from your marketing How to troubleshoot when your launch is quiet The 1% better concept Using marketing and content … Read more


  • What To Do After You Capture the Interest of Your Audience

    What To Do After You Capture the Interest of Your Audience

    Hey everyone, today we’re going to be talking about helping your audience feel seen and heard. All right, if you are new around here, and you haven’t noticed the name of the show, it is called the Know, Like and Trust show, and that’s all based on the quote: “All things being equal, people are … Read more


  • Helping Your Audience Feel Seen & Heard #140

    Helping Your Audience Feel Seen & Heard #140

    Know, like, and trust are three different words, but that doesn’t mean they are all connected. The first step in building your know, like, trust factor is capturing attention or interest, but what about the rest? How do you build the like and move into trust? That’s what we’re diving into on today’s episode of … Read more


  • Reaching Your Business Potential #126

    Reaching Your Business Potential #126

    Leaving the “status quo” crowd behind and aiming for true excellence in your business, based on quotes from J.M. Barrie, John C. Maxwell, the Rubik’s cube, and personal achievement. TOPICS DISCUSSED IN THIS EPISODE: Why the topic for this episode has been collecting dust on my social calendar for three months My theory on why … Read more


  • Niching Your Online Business #125 with Lisa Princic

    Niching Your Online Business #125 with Lisa Princic

    Scaling mentor Lisa Princic shares the many things niching and moving niches can do for your business, including three distinct ways to define your niche and how to test the waters as you move services. TOPICS DISCUSSED IN THIS EPISODE: Lisa’s obsession with niching comes from her own struggles with defining a niche in her … Read more


  • The Client-Landing Formula

    The Client-Landing Formula

    In the last three months, I’ve had three separate clients say something along the lines of, “Can’t clients just find me?!” One of those was in response to putting together a visibility plan at all because it’s a bit of work if you’ve never addressed it before and, well, wouldn’t it be nice to skip … Read more


  • Float Like a Butterfly, Sting Like a Bee #094

    Float Like a Butterfly, Sting Like a Bee #094

    I talk about Muhammad Ali’s rise to greatness and apply it to brand and niche lessons every online biz owner needs to know. TOPICS DISCUSSED IN THIS EPISODE: Why you can’t figure out how to communicate with your ideal client Ali’s story and the three points relevant to branding your business How to define your … Read more