What is an Avatar and how can it help outreach?
January 2, 2017
Avatars - or Audience Personas - help us narrow down our focus and communicate more effectively with the people we're most qualified to help.
In marketing and communications, “avatar” is a way of saying target persona, customer profile, ideal customer, etc. Today, we’re talking about why developing an avatar is so important to our outreach strategies, how defining our avatar might change our message and why getting narrow and specific with our avatar is actually a great decision.
Plus, I’m sharing the Outreach Avatar Worksheet I use to define these profiles with my clients. Grab it here!
So, why is developing an avatar so critical to your outreach?
It helps us understand who we’re trying to reach, and the values, pain points, interests and demographic information that is specific to those people. Getting a good understanding of those variables helps us determine the right strategies, tactics and messages to use in our outreach.
Does our avatar change our message?
Ultimately, no – our real message (the Gospel!) doesn’t change, of course, but defining our avatar may change the perspectives, channels, sub-messages, and tactics we use to reach those people.
For example, I was recently working through this exercise with a pastor, and through our conversation, we uncovered that the people in his target market were busy, working parents who were stretched for margin and family time, yet their families meant everything to them. They dealt with long commutes, packed weekends full of sports and family obligations and by the time Sunday mornings rolled around, they were tired…and mostly just dreading Mondays.
Based on what we were learning about our avatar, we decided that some our outreach content should revolve around (quick! easy!) activities, lessons and studies that families can do together. We needed to put 15-minute family devotions and Bible lessons into parents’ hands so they felt like they had the tools they needed to talk to their children about Jesus, and they had the support of a local pastor.
One of the toughest parts of the avatar exercise is getting specific. We often fear that specific means limiting and that we might alienate one group or another. But here’s the thing:
If we’re trying to attract everybody, we end up appealing to nobody.
That’s right – in our over-communicated-to world, blanket statements simply end up feeling bland and generic. We desire to be spoken to directly, to be understood, and to share our stories with people we believe will understand them. Defining our avatar, and getting narrow in our focus actually has a way of speaking to the hearts of the people you’re trying to reach in an authentic and real way, helping your outreach to be more effective.
That doesn’t mean you can’t have more than one avatar, though. In many cases this is true, especially in our multi-generational churches. When we target multiple avatars, we simply must make sure that we define each avatar thoroughly, and then create an outreach plan that speaks to each group individually.
Free Worksheet: Outreach Avatar
I’ve designed a profiling worksheet that can help congregations define and discover their target avatar. Click here to download the worksheet.
Once you complete the exercise, let me know how it goes! I’d love to chat with you more about the people you’re trying to reach!