Utilizing Personas for a Stronger Marketing Strategy

In honor of national “Get to Know Your Customers Day,” we want to stress the importance of understanding your customers. You cannot effectively sell and share information with your customers if you don’t know them inside and out. But how can you start getting to know your customers? One way is to familiarize yourself with their situations, backgrounds, and desires. Sometimes, marketers forget to put themselves in their customer’s shoes. Last month, we wrote about empathy marketing or the idea of emotionally connecting with your customers through humor or nostalgic campaigns. But what are other effective ways you can get customers interested in your business/products while getting to know them along the way? Today, we’re going to focus on another effective marketing method: establishing buyer personas.

Creating buyer personas is key to a successful marketing strategy. But what exactly are buyer personas and how do you start making them?

A buyer persona is a fictionalized customer based on specified data research from real customers. Buyer personas are important because it allows your company to target specific audiences. According to HubSpot, making buyer personas is “critical to driving content creation, product development, sales follow up, and really anything that relates to customer acquisition and retention.” All in all, if you create fictionalized personas and include their backgrounds, goals, and challenges, it will become easier for your company to personalize products and marketable content for a targeted group of individuals.

Before you get too hasty, in order to create a good buyer persona, extensive research is necessary. Forbes suggests before making these archetypes to look at available databases in order to discover any trends among your customers. What mediums do your customers use to ingest information? Online searches, newspapers, emails? This article also suggests listening to both customer service complaints and compliments. While most buyer personas are based on your “ideal customer,” it’s just as valid to listen to negative feedback and complaints in order to track these challenges in consumers. This data, which can be collected through the sales team, online surveys, or personal interviews, can provide insight as to what information is most relevant for your buyer personas. In addition, it is beneficial to collect buyer trends from similar companies, such as your competition. What are their customers like? What may those businesses be doing differently in both positive and negative ways?

Asking questions is key when prepping for buyer personas. When surveying customers, Forbes says to “include geographic and demographic information. Know what types of companies each persona works for and what their job position is. It’s important to understand each persona’s challenges and top goals.” Meanwhile, keep in mind that your customers are doing you a favor by participating in the interview, so make it worth their while by offering them an incentive or discount as a thank you for their time.  

The survey questions or customer interviews should be conducted and tailored to current customers, prospective customers, and people completely outside of your market in order to get a variety of perspectives. The questions should gather demographic information (like a customer’s education, age, location, and industry) as well as non-demographic knowledge (such as wants, challenges, motivations for purchases, etc.). Then ask for “why” answers. Forbes suggests this an example when gathering information: “For a clothing boutique, this could be something as simple as understanding whether cost or style is more important to students going to prom.” Then, ask why.

When you’ve gathered enough information from a variety of samples, it’s time to create the personas. The internet has a number of templates and persona profile examples in order to get started. Unfortunately, creating buyer personas is not a box you can simply check when “done.” Buyer personas should stay updated as opinions and trends in consumers change. Feeling overwhelmed? Then, start simply by creating a few buyer personas and branch out from there.

Once your buyer personas have been established, it’s important to create tailored responses and campaigns for each persona. From there, share this information with your team and others. For example, sales would benefit well knowing how to best respond to a particular persona/group on calls. Provide one-pagers for the sales team so they can best market the company. Additionally, you don’t want to just email blast all of your entire audience, especially if emails are not the most effective mode to use for all of your customer personas. You’ll want to match your content to each specific persona by how they gather information. Examine what kind of business you’re running and match accordingly to your customer groups. Also, make sure to stay up to date on social media content for younger consumers. These considerations can be made accurately with a good buyer persona. All in all, there should be multiple versions of materials to best plug your company that makes sense for each buyer persona.

Creating buyer personas takes time; however, the more time you dedicate to understanding your customers, the better you can predict their responses and create successful outreach. Your customers will feel appreciated knowing that information is tailored to them and you will gather more loyal consumers overall. So on this “Get to Know Your Customers Day,” consider investing the time to gather customer sample data and creating effective buyer personas.

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