Identifying Ideal Clients or Buyer Personas
Have you been feeling like all of your marketing efforts are for nothing? Maybe you’ve said, “social media is pointless” or “blogging doesn’t do anything for my business.”
We’ve heard it before and we get it!
We have some good news, though; it probably isn’t your marketing that is the problem...it’s your audience. You simply might not be speaking to the right people!
Let us put it into perspective. Do you remember meeting your best friends and feeling like you’ve finally found people who understand you? Now, think about meeting someone who you knew immediately had nothing in common with you...we can feel the discomfort.
“When a business is speaking to the wrong people, that means the right people are being ignored.”
When a business is speaking to the wrong people, that means the right people are being ignored. This typically happens when the brand hasn’t determined who they are actually talking to. They may not know who they even want to talk to. It’s human nature to think everyone thinks like we do, but when we are speaking for a business, we are speaking to our ideal customer - NOT ourselves!
That ideal customer - the one we want our brand to reach - is what we call the buyer persona. If we can identify our buyer persona, we can tailor our advertising content to target our ideal customers through media channels they are likely to use. That type of targeted marketing can increase the effectiveness and efficiency of our marketing plans.
So how do you begin to identify your buyer personas?
First, you need to understand your product or service. Take an analytical look at it to figure out if it’s designed for specific genders, certain age groups, or distinct locations so you don’t advertise to the wrong types of people or to customers in the wrong geographical areas. For instance, you wouldn’t want to advertise children’s toys in an AARP magazine, and you wouldn’t want to promote denture services to an online community of new moms.
So get really specific. Figure out who needs your product or service and where they are located. Are you trying to reach women? Men? What type of people need your products? College students? Athletes? Widows? Can people anywhere use your products? If so, are you willing to ship nationally or internationally?
What about your services? Do you offer them internationally online, or are your services for people who must come into your office? If your brand is limited to a certain geographical location, then you need to concentrate your advertising efforts within that region.
After you clarify the gender, age, and location of the people you’re trying to reach, collect data points about your actual customers. Look through their LinkedIn profiles, social media feeds, and other platforms that reveal information about your customers’ likes, dislikes, activities, education levels, careers, values, etc.
Your research goal is to identify commonalities and trends among your customers - what we call the “Verticals.” Ideally, you should see the gender, age, and location you identified from your product research in Step 1 appear as verticals among your current customers.
But now, Identify 3 other verticals amongst your current clientele. Do they face similar challenges? Do they consume certain types of media? Do they work in specific industries? Are their hobbies, interests, and values similar?
Take your time and be thorough. If you aren’t finding the data you’re looking for, consider emailing customers and asking them to fill out an “About Me” Survey you’ve created. Maybe even call clients you know well. Explain what you’re doing, see if they are willing to help you, and ask them pointed survey questions.
Once you’ve identified your target audience and their commonalities, it’s time to make a Buyer Persona Profile. In other words, create a written biography about the customers you’re trying to reach.
We suggest that you start by giving your ideal buyer a memorable, alliterative name that captures the essence of who they are or what drives them. For example, maybe you’re trying to reach a Stressed Susan, a Fun-Loving Franklin, or an Eco-Friendly Edward.
After you pick your Buyer Persona’s title, write out specific data points about him or her. Try sorting the biographical information into categories, or verticals, such as:
Once you’ve done all this work, what do you do with it? How do you use your Buyer Persona?
Well, you use this golden nugget to develop marketing strategies to reach your ideal buyers! Knowing the types of people they are, where they live, and what they do will help you tailor your advertising content to meet your buyers’ needs.
You’ll know where and how to display your advertising messages to reach your personas best. You will know which media channels and communication methods to use, and you’ll be able to use a tone/voice that will appeal to your buyers most effectively and move them to take action.
So dig your heels in! Do your research and create your Buyer Persona.