Today’s guest post is from Alexandra Recasan– Enjoy!
How would you define success in marketing? Conversions galore? Skyrocketing ROI? Sprinkling that with an attractive and efficient promotion and good interaction? That is a nice scenario we all want to share. But how do you start it all? By setting the right buyer persona.
Nowadays, when consumers are allocating less attention to ads, we can undeniably say that we’re in the race for attention. In this context, unsurprisingly, we’re more inclined to take for granted opinions and advice from people we know, rather than the sponsored ads or email messages or you name it.
Given the situation, having a down to earth, true voiced and non-cliche buyer persona will make or break your business. It’s that simple. Let’s say that if you were invited to talk at a conference about coffee brewing, you wouldn’t share with your audience insights about pruning roses – unless there would be a secret link between coffee and roses.
In marketing, success arises from a deep understanding of “thy customers” – seeing through their eyes without having a magic customer scanning lens. Let’s make a walkthrough the main benefits of developing the right profile, steps to achieve that and some piece of advice on how not to get sidetracked.
Why you should definitely develop that Buyer Persona?
- Because your marketing strategy, product development or brand message will turn out as good as your understanding of your audience. By setting a buyer persona you can be more targeted in a well-established context and thus become more relevant.
- Because having crafted your buyer persona will make the brand message building and tone of voice more true. Once that achieved the real conversation can begin.
- Because a great buyer persona profile will guide you through finding out what triggers activate your audience for long term engagement and eventually purchase.
Having settled that up, let’s get down to business and see what steps to consider when creating the buyer persona, besides the general known approach of gender, age and location.
Step 1: Check out on your existing customers
Which one of us would mind if someone asks us – How you’ve been lately? How are things going? Can I help? I for one wouldn’t mind at all. On the contrary. Same with your existing customers. Don’t overwhelm them with new promotions or giveaways announcements. Instead, open up and set up an online survey asking for their input on your products – how long have they been using it, how was the experience and what are they looking for when shopping for your products and services? That way you’ll get more than demographic data. You’ll get your buyer persona’s needs and expectations. Useful stuff right there.
Step 2: Discover the everyday journey of your customers
When designing it all you could well enough sit at your desk and imagine the journey of your customer, what a day in his lifetime looks like or… you could just get out there and be one of them. Customer journey mapping allows you to step into the customers shoes and analyze customer experiences. That way new insights will surely pop out – valuable ones that could bring out that essential differentiator, that tone of addressing them without any corporate voice barrier. Your choice.
Step 3: Map their online behaviour
A good buyer persona profile is based on great insights from various mediums – and the online one is among the top. So, go ahead, start finding out what they are most likely to do online. Are they consuming news, reading blogs, socializing, hunting promotions or giveaways? Afterwards track the time spent – how much of it is dedicated to reading, how much on socializing and so forth. Move on to discover their topic preferences – are they more into politics or education, sport or trend articles? Knowing all that will further help you leave out generalities and shape a clear-cut profile. A recommended tool to start is Google Custom Audiences that offers more flexibility in targeting users based on their interests.
Step 4: Nuance your buyer persona data
The more adapted to reality your buyer persona is, the better. And reality has a lot of aspects. Buying has a lot of prior stages. That’s why your customer profile shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all but well adapted to the typical marketing funnel – Awareness, Consideration, Decision. This allows you to understand how your buyers behave at each step of the process and to segment your communication strategy.
Mistakes to avoid when creating your first persona
Don’t rely your profile just on one individual – Maybe, who knows… Luck strikes and one day when you do your outdoor research you’ll meet that one customer that meets the quintessence of your desired buyer persona. It’s tempting to stop right there and draw conclusions but take a friendly advice – don’t yield to that. A proper buyer persona profile is shaped of all your primary customers.
Let the “hunch” aside – Your customer’s age gender and location won’t tell you about their interests and needs. Conclude your research and let your customers speak up. Your buyer persona should be as real as possible and not a projection of your speculation.
Keep away from generic traits – Your persona shouldn’t be “between 30-45 years old.” It should have an exact age, specific interests etc. Create several personas to represent different customer segments and make sure that each one represents one of your main groups of customers.
All things considered, keep in mind that the buyer persona is a perfectible tool which calls for a constant update in order to keep it clear-cut and meaningful.
Alexandra Recasan is a PR specialist with 123ContactForm, the form and survey builder that helps businesses streamline their feedback-gathering and other marketing processes. She works with small businesses and educational institutions on building their forms for data gathering, information management and more.