How to Get the Customers You Want With Effective Buyer Personas
Is there a trick to finding the ideal customer?
Between managing your business, bringing in new customers, and planning for the upcoming year, your time gets eaten up. But to make sure all this work pays off, you need to understand WHO you’re marketing to, and be laser focused with your arrows.
Enter: buyer personas, a fictional character that represents your perfect customer.
Seems weird, but is it really that important to make this person up?
The answer is yes.
If you’ve chosen to start a business, chances are you’ve seen the statistics: 66 percent of businesses fail within the first year. This is a bleak look at entrepreneurship, however the statistics don’t really matter. What matters is why businesses fail.
Since the dawn of the internet, small businesses have been able to do more with less…much less. But doing more comes at a great cost. In today’s business world it’s easy to take on the burden of paying invoices, making phone calls, bringing in clients, and dealing with conflict.
Because of this laundry list of to-dos, small businesses spend less time on the things they SHOULD be doing, like planning for the future, creating operational structures, and making strategic decisions.
It’s the timeless issue of working IN the business rather than ON the business.
So how exactly does that play into buyer personas?
What is a Buyer Persona?
Buyer personas are semi-fictional biographies and representations of what an ideal customer for your business looks like. Creating personas will do two things:
Give you an opportunity to cultivate a message that connects with your customers. By creating buyer personas, you will convert potential customers to paying customers at a much higher rate.
Hone in on your marketing. You don’t need to be everywhere all at once. What you need to do is to be at the right places at the right time. Creating a buyer persona will help to strategize what marketing channels are the most important to your bottom line.
Crafting these personas can be a huge undertaking, and may have big implications on many facets of your business, including your content marketing, customer service, and even product development.
Essentially, buyer persona’s are your first step in working on your business rather than in it.
Effective buyer personas and targeting can optimize your communications and marketing efforts, which will drive down your cost of acquisition significantly. They will also create a universal understanding for how your product or service is demonstrated, advertised, and sold.
So, how do you make a buyer persona?
You may have a lot of questions right from the start. How many personas should you create? How specific or niche should each one be? What questions do you ask?
The good news: there are no right or wrong answers for any of these questions. Your personas can and should be consistently altered and enhanced. The more and more data that trickles in will allow for determinations on habits and lead you to infer what tendencies will be made.
The following outline will help any individual or team to construct their first buyer persona, which will guide you to a better understanding of your customers.
Gather employees, consolidate data, and ask questions
First things first: take some time before getting started to brief different parts of your organization on the upcoming creation of buyer personas. Each department can bring something important to the table when contributing to these personas.
If you’re a smaller organization, these departments may be all one person, or just a single person each, but it’s still important to consolidate information from all stages of the customer journey.
Getting representatives or ideas from your sales, service, and marketing departments will form a solid foundation upon which to start building your persona, and ensures that everyone has a voice. But, in order to get the best information about your customers, you may need to speak to them directly, through questionnaires or surveys.
The objective is to understand your customers’ behavior. Your personas will try to replicate these behaviors and tendencies into one specific and targeted individual, allowing you to better understand the challenges they face, and the solutions they need.
At the beginning, don’t focus on catering your investigation and research into just one persona. Analyze contacts from each segment of your book of business, and narrow the results into several different personas that each have different experiences and customer habits.
Anatomy of a (typical) buyer persona
The beauty of the buyer persona is that they can be made however you want them to. For your first ones, it may be helpful to start with a template, but once you get a hang of it and find some success with your start, you might consider creating your own from scratch. To start, we suggest creating a one-page buy persona.
There are some pieces of information that are critical, and that can be found on virtually every single persona in existence. We’ll go over this backbone in a little more detail.
Identify the demographics and backgrounds of your target customer or customer group(s)
When designing your personas, you should include basic demographic information. If you are conducting surveys or asking over the phone or email, remember that some people may be a little hesitant to share personal information.
Each persona should have key details like:
- Size of household
- Education level
- Current job and salary
When asking for basic information, don’t forget to take note of any mannerisms or tones that might be widely applicable to others under the same persona. Even noting something like “easygoing,” may later down the line when drafting marketing copy for this persona.
In this area, you can also remark on traits of the individual. If you are offering software, you might note that particular populations are more tech-savvy than others, for instance. Any details that may allow the marketing process to get a little more dialed in can generate efficiency in targeting and acquisition.
Determine their goals and focus pain point(s)
Ultimately, your buyer personas should answer one question: what can your product or service deliver for a contact like this?
Distilling a specific persona’s motivations and challenges can provide excellent framework when selling your product or service, either through copy writing or direct sales calls. “What can we do to help our persona reach our goal?”
It’s important to understand in this step that potential customers do not make decisions based on logic and reason. Yes, you read that right, buying decisions are based on emotion, not reason.
Because of this, determining your customer’s pain point is extremely important, even more so, your solution must speak to the emotional distress, rather than simply the logical one.
This is your chance to see the value proposition of your product or service in action. Who, exactly, are your offerings most likely to be relevant to? Why should they be interested in your product or service? What emotional barrier do they have to overcome to become a customer?
This step has the potential to be an eye-opening part of the process. You may find that the people you have been trying to target are not at all suited to or interested in a product offering like yours. On the other hand, you may also find an entirely new population of contacts that you’ve previously left untapped.
Assign a fictional name and photo to your persona
It may sound silly, but adding a name and photo to your personas is actually a crucial step!
You don’t need to spend much time on it all (you can use a name generator, or the names of characters from your favorite movie). Humanizing these templates will help out later when constructing your marketing campaigns.
When you think of your customers in a more broad sense, merely as the group they’re in, you may more easily lose sight of the fact that you are communicating with real people, with real interests, and real lives. Adding a little life to the persona can keep messaging more personal and direct, and add authenticity to your marketing efforts.
Making your buyer personas work
The great thing about buyer personas is that they are useful at all stages of the customer life cycle.
Once you’ve constructed your buyer personas, you and your entire team should have a deeper understanding of your customers, and will know how to best target, support, and work with them.
For prospective customers, an effective buyer persona will shape the marketing material that they see, and help those that need it most to see it more often.
For current customers, an effective buyer persona will shed some light on how they might respond to issues that arise, and how hands-on any approach for customer service may need to be. As an added bonus, should you add additional products or services down the line, you can use your personas to know how to up sell these existing clients.
Refine and refine
Over time, as you continue to use your buyer personas, you can continue to rework them as more and more customer data becomes available. Buyer personas never have to be final, and should be a living document that evolves over time, with your customers and with your company.
By following the above steps and taking the time to create at least three key buyer personas for your company, you’ll be able to create content and launch campaigns seamlessly.
Working ON the Business
Throughout this article we analyzed why you need a buyer persona, and more importantly what to do with it, but your 2021 success doesn’t stop there.
It’s not enough to be more organized than you were last year. It’s important to be able to do the right things for your business in less time.
That’s where THRIVe comes in, making it easier for your buyer personas to work for you.
THRIVe is an easy-to-use marketing tool that helps your business grow. Whether you are looking for ways to connect through email, automate your social media, or simply track your website’s analytics, THRIVe is an all-in-one marketing solution that can help you get there.
To get more information on THRIVe, simply head over to our website HERE. Be sure to use the chat feature to get all of the answers you need to make this next year your best yet.