Could creating an accurate customer profile be that important? You could have the best marketing design, most effective services, and know the right things to say to close a sale, but if you’re saying it to the wrong person, you won’t be successful. Creating your buyer personas is the missing key. If you do it right and well, you’ll know exactly how to market your services, where to focus and overall increase your ideal client profile.
What is a Buyer Persona?
No matter who you are or what type of business you run, your main marketing goal is to reach someone with your message. A buyer persona represents those "someones" you are trying to reach, specifically, a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customers. We say semi-fictional because rather than just demographics or a sample of a population, you create a profile of a person - kind of like creating characters in a play, novel, or movie. They serve as a representation of a subset of your customers.
However, buyer personas are only "semi-fictional" because you have to back up your profile with market research, real customer data, and some educated speculation. A buyer persona should consider customer demographics, but also behavior patterns, motivations, and goals.
How to Create a Buyer Persona
Buyer personas define who you're creating, or curating, your content for and who you are trying to reach. But, how do you build your ideal client profile? There are four major steps to creating your persona:
Step 1: Create Questions That Can Help Develop Your Persona
If you could sit down and talk to an actual buyer persona, what questions do you want to ask them? Asking questions are key in developing buyer personas, but first, you must ask the right questions. You want to know more about your ideal customer, so you need to know things like who they are, what's their role in their organization, and their goals. So, you might want to ask questions like "What is your job and title?", "What industries do you/your company work in?" and "What are your responsibilities?"
However, you are not just creating a profile of a particular demographic, but you also want to know more about them, like where they hang out, their buying preferences, and even their personal background. So, make sure you list down questions like "What websites do you visit each day?" or "How do you find buying and pricing information on products you want to buy?"
There's no one correct formula for writing questions, but the above guidelines can guide you. However, you should also be flexible and tailor questions based on the industries and people you are targeting.
Step 2: Decide on How to Conduct Your Research
There are many ways you can start researching your buyer personas. For example, you can interview or send surveys to your current customers. After all, if they are already buying from you, then there must be others like them who are looking for what you have to offer. If you do already have customers, then this is the best and most important step towards creating your ideal customer profile. Talk to as many as you can, at least until you start seeing patterns and trends and getting an insight into their buying behaviors. If you don't have customers, then you can always make educated guesses and assumptions - but remember, these have to be based on research. You can also talk to your coworkers, or other people in your agency that interface with clients. You never know what you'll learn from your receptionist or account manager about your customers.
You can also do research online by looking through different social media sites and blogs. Find out what people are blogging or talking about in industry forums or websites. You can also leverage social media and ask your followers questions or look through LinkedIN profiles.
Step 3: Compile Your Research and Data
Don't forget, the reason for conducting research is to compile all your data, so you can find patterns and trends from various sources. You can use various tools, like Google Drive, Dropbox, Trello, or whatever your organization may already have in place. Use whatever tool you have available to you or that you are comfortable with - there really is no "wrong" or "right" tool.
By putting all your data into one place, you should be able to see trends and common answers to your questions. This can help you start forming your customer profile, which will be the basis of all your marketing efforts.
Step 4: Complete Your Buyer Persona Story
Now you have all you need to start creating a buyer persona. Make sure you focus on your persona's motivations behind their behaviors. Again, your personas must be fictional, so they can represent all your ideal customers, but they must also remain realistic. You might also want to add a picture that represents your persona (but not one of an actual customer.)
In the beginning, choose only one persona. If you have several, which one should you choose? That depends on your goals, but generally, the one that brings in the highest revenue should be your main persona. You can complete your first profile and then create a buyer persona template, which you can use later on if you want to add more personas. Finally, you might also want to create an actual story around your persona. Aside from just having a list of statistics, you should also tell your persona's story. Describe what they go through in a day, their challenges, where they go for information, their backgrounds, as well as any complaints they may have against any products or services you offer.
Why Details Are Important In Creating Your Ideal Client Profile
Because of all the steps needed to create your buyer persona, you can see why details matter. A buyer persona is much more in-depth than a list of statistics and details. You want to bring your persona to life and small details can help you create a persona that jumps off the page. But more than that, details allow you to understand your customers better. Buyer personas are important in your marketing strategy and everything you do, and create, goes back to these customer profiles.
How to Use Your Buyer Persona
So, now that you've spent your time creating these personas - how do you use them? Buyer personas can help you focus your marketing strategies and allocate resources to activities that will give you the highest ROI.
At the very basic level, buyer personas can help you create messages and content that can attract your ideal customers. Whether you're tweeting about your latest offering or creating infographics, you can tailor your materials and messages that appeal to your target audience. On a higher level, you can segment your contact lists and send them highly-targeted messages or even find leads who are ready to become customers. By creating your buyer persona, you don't have to take a shotgun approach to your marketing and cross your fingers, hoping someone out there can see your message. Instead, you'll be creating a specific message that can appeal to audiences who want your product or service.
Again if you take the time and do the research to create your buyer personas properly, you’ll know exactly how to market your services, where to focus and overall increase your ideal client profile.
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