We’ve all been on the receiving end of a cold call or pitch that has zero relevance to our business or lives in general (eye roll). Sometimes, they’re so generic they could literally be talking to you, your retired 85-year old aunt who has an affinity for exotic bird safaris, or your college student nephew who can barely commit to a pizza topping, let alone a major. Seriously, who has shouted enthusiastically after an encounter like that, “Oh yes, PLEASE take my money!”? Anyone?
When we try to appeal to everyone, we end up appealing to no one. And that is a big waste of everyone’s time. Even more than being irrelevant (and annoying), it can be downright damaging; like burning down a bridge that doesn’t even have blueprints yet. In order to develop an effective marketing strategy that resonates with your target audience, you first have to painstakingly define that audience, and become really familiar with who they are and what makes them tick.
Enter buyer personas. A buyer persona is a detailed profile of an ideal customer within a defined target audience. While the persona itself is not a real live human, it could be, because it represents the interests, desires and motivations of one. Once established, an entire marketing strategy should be viewed through the lens of this persona, and each tactic should intentionally serve or appeal to the audience that the persona represents.
Okay, okay you get it – they’re important. But how do you create one for your business?
And here are five more tips to help along the way.
- Consult your existing data. The meat and potatoes of buyer personas comes from real data about your current customers. Spend some quality time with the analytics from your different business channels – Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc. – and immerse yourself in all of the glorious demographic information you can get your hands on.
- Look at the whole person. None of us fit neatly into one little box. Many contributing elements make us who we are, and ultimately drive our decision-making processes. Don’t stop at professional pain points and deliverables – dig deeper to paint a more holistic picture. Does your ideal customer have kids? What’s their binge-watching show of choice? How do their values influence their choices? What may seem irrelevant or trivial now just might be the difference between a lead and a customer later.
- Write it out and share it wide. Once you have the pieces, draft a narrative for the persona. Give it a name and a face, and share it with appropriate employees across your organization. If everyone is pulling from the same playbook, you’ll get down the field faster.
- Rinse and repeat. Depending on your industry, you likely have more than one ideal customer. Create a persona for each, and don’t skimp on the details.
- Apply them. Don’t complete the persona exercise just to check it off your marketing strategy list. It should be used on the daily. As you create your content strategy, define the audience of each piece and measure it against the corresponding persona to maximize efficiency. Do they line up, or is it best to go a different direction? There are countless great ideas, but if they’re not hitting the right people with the right language, they’re not going to budge the bottom line either.
Need to pinch hit this one? We can help create customized personas that will have you well on your way to attracting the most promising visitors, qualified leads and satisfied customers to your business.