Businesses have historically used marketing as a one-way communication tool – them telling prospective customers what they have to say. This version of marketing is based on assumptions of who a business thinks their customers are instead of building on a foundation of their customers’ realities. So how can a business know which marketing to deliver to whom? The answer: buyer personas – a fictional representation of an ideal customer based on a variety of market research. The process humanizes your customers and helps you understand the problems they are trying to solve, their values, what obstacles they are facing and how they view success. Marketing aimed at too many different people results in unfocused messaging. Artillery recommends you stop focusing on your business and instead, focus on your customers in order to create tailored marketing efforts that connect with a strong target audience.
It is agreed that the place to start when building buyer personas is with your current client base. By examining real customer data, you can gain a clear understanding of which individuals and businesses you should be marketing to. Content Marketing Institute suggests looking at the top 20% of your clients to find commonalities among your best customers. Your persona should include demographics such as age, education, career path, title and level of influence on decision making, personality traits, and web purchasing behavior. This information sets the foundation of your customer avatar so get comfortable creeping around on the Internet. Read reviews your customers have written, analyze social media profiles, publications, websites and anything else publicly accessible online. Involve your sales and marketing teams to include their insight on your findings. You may find it necessary to create more than one persona but that would not be unusual. Mark W. Schaefer reports that more than 90% of a company’s sales will come from 3-4 personas.
Once you understand the basics of “who” you should broaden your focus. To effectively market your business, you need to understand the problems your prospective customers face, how those challenges impact their daily lives and the priority placed on each problem. What will make a client spend money with you? Also, you should know what objectives prospective customers have regarding the services or products you offer. By understanding perceived barriers, both personal and business, you can utilize strategic marketing approaches to counter those objectives. How your solution will improve their lives is another important piece to understand and allows you to tailor your communications to their needs.
Obtaining this information requires multiple layers of research and interaction with current customers. It is suggested that businesses utilize personalized market research as opposed to broad based email campaigns – surveys, direct interviews either face-to-face or over the phone, and continuing to ask clarifying questions as you onboard new clients. Seek to understand your customers’ preferences in communication channels as well as the tone, style and voice that most engage them. These understandings will allow you to use language in your marketing that will encourage the reader to see himself in your content and bring more meaning to the communication. If you create multiple personas, you may want to create multiple marketing tracks that tweak your messaging to appeal to the variations within your client groups. Marketing is about empathy – it needs to demonstrate that you understand your customers and how your product or service best suits them.
A combination of raw data and educated guesses, Kevan Lee of Buffer Social affirms that buyer personas can help improve the ways you solve social media challenges for your customers. Personas may be used to focus your emails, sales page, blogs and even new products or services. The more useful and relevant the content, the higher your conversion rate. While you can’t appeal to everyone, your buyer personas certainly inform lead generation and increase the likelihood of conversions. Once created, the personas should be shared throughout your organization and referenced during every new growth and marketing conversation. Aaron Agius, writing for Content Marketing Institute, suggests a simple, three question approach: What is the first thing my customer thinks about in the morning? What is the last thing my customer thinks about in the evening? Why? Challenge your team to create personas that answer these questions to minimize wasted marketing dollars and grow your client base with the right clients making purchases at the right time for the benefit of their business and yours.
Need help navigating this process? Want to adjust your marketing tactics to better cater to your specific audiences and target your marketing dollars? We can help. Call us today for a free 30 minute business strategy consultation.