Your Avatar Might be Killing Your Online Business
Your avatar might be killing your online fitness business, as in before it even has a chance to take off. Here's how...
For gym owners, former or otherwise, who are attempting to brave an online fitness business before you've even had a chance to see what that this business can become, you may have skipped foundational aspect of building your business.
It’s the way you plan to build your personas.
Now, when I say persona, I'm talking about an avatar. They’re the same thing, depending on who you talk to. I tend to use the word persona, but I know the common term used in micro-gyms is avatar. Same thing.
The persona that you've been using to market your brick and mortar might not serve you in the deep sea of online business.
Three considerations for you to chew on:
1) Personas are meant to be benchmarks, not absolutes.
2)The online business fear is a wild sea, but it's an abundant one.
3) Your personas are meant to evolve with your business and vice versa.
Personas as benchmarks rather than absolutes
What do I mean by that? Traditionally, let’s look historically at marketing strategies. Long before really smart people created strategies like Six Sigma and Jobs theory (JTBD), you would’ve hired a person or a group of people to perform market research for you to find your ideal prospect.
Youu might not have taken that data and turned it into avatars, but that would have been your starting point for how you think about your customers back in the day.
For context, personas came about around the turn of the milenea, but they didn’t become common in marketing until the 2010s.
Even back then, that research would have only been a starting point, that is, if you were smart. Strategists have known forever that real customer data trumps any creative concepts we might have about who our customers are, what we now call avatars.
Whether it's informing your copy or any other aspect of your business strategy, the goal when talking about trying to understand your customers is to uncover who they truly are.
Even more importantly than that, you want to figure out what sucks for them. You're going to use that information to talk about how your business is the solution.
As you move your business into an online space, the clarity with which you understand that information becomes absolutely critical: Especially in terms of how you're going to use it.
The wild sea of the internet
As a business owner, I'm sure you've heard the phrase, the riches are in the niches. I always want to pronounce it, the reeshes are in the neeshes because I don't say niche. I say neeshe.
However you pronounce it, it's true. The more tightly knit your business, the more exclusive you're offering and the more you can charge for it.
Micro gyms are a perfect example of this.
For context, while big box gyms have battled for years to steal market share from each other, micro gyms came in and undercut the need to even measure that metric. I mean, they did it by skimming the market to sell a premium product that people loved them for.
It's kind of brilliant when you think about it. The big dogs and the old mom and pop gyms built the foundations, and did all the value building. Now, the micro gyms tap the disenfranchised users of those aging formats, but at a premium.
For micro gym owners, who cares about market share? When you don't have a dog in the fight, there's nothing for you to lose or gain by paying attention to that metric.
The variety of prospects that you can appeal to online, however, is far more vast. It’s worth netting up too, if you can, because your scalability is almost infinite online. As such, why would you limit your pipeline to one super perfect persona in an online atmosophere?
You can create 3 or 5... 10? Start with one, of course, but plan to move quickly on developing others and plan to use real human being data.
To make your avatars something more than just a creative project, customer profiles, those of your prospects have to evolve with your business and yes, vice versa, your business will evolve with your customers.
You kind of already know this.
To illustrate this, let's talk about a journey around the planet, which is apt in an online business model. If you're going to try to circumnavigate the globe, there will be large sections where you will need a raft if you want to move forward. There will also be large sections where that raft it's nothing but an anchor to your movement.
Think of your customer profiles, sort of like your options when trying to navigate the globe. You want more than one option, right? You want many. You want to create a robust profile of customers that evolve with your business.
Doing so, will allow you to navigate a more varied terrain (to mix my metaphors). It'll also keep you from leaving a bunch of money on the table.
You can accomplish this by constantly upgrading your customer data, as far as who they are and what sucks for them.
A simple way to stay fresh with that data is to run surveys monthly or quarterly. This is something you can do easily as a business owner. You probably already do.
An extension of that idea is voice of customer (VoC) research.
Now, I don't want to get too deep into voice of customer research because I could do not only a whole video on that. Probably a series of videos.
This is research that you conduct every 90 days, at least once a year to do it. You bring in a third party to complete this task; it can't be you. Somebody else must talk to your existing customers, your former customers, your prospects. They have to really dig into with what matters to those individuals, into the what sucks for them.
From that data, you can build some very robust and lifelike personas. They’re lifelike, because they're built from real people.
That data is everything to your business. It's more than just the way you talk to your customers. It informs many aspects of it, how you actually build and evolve your business. The two work together.
That data will inform your marketing strategy, your copy, your product and service offerings, your hiring practices, how you budget your time. I mean, at the end of the day, it'll tell you just about everything else related to your business. That's no exaggeration.
You may start to wonder why you didn't do this with your brick and mortar business.
Well, you still can, and I can help you. Hit me up.