Understand Your Ideal Customers With Buyer Personas
In an ideal world, you’d have the time and resources to sit down and have a conversation with every potential customer to help increase your sales success. Until time travel is invented, however, marketers have the next best thing: buyer personas.
These composite profiles group together common traits of demographics that a company is trying to reach, coalescing them into a single “person” that can be used to guide and focus marketing campaigns. This unique – and relatively new – research approach is valuable for targeting, reducing wasted effort and cutting out ineffective outreach.
So how exactly do personas help you find and engage with your ideal customers?
They Give Your Team a Place to Start
It’s no secret that it’s easier to keep up your half of an organic conversation about a shared interest than it is to pen a complex introductory speech with zero cues. Personas give your marketing team a common ground to start from. Let’s say one of your personas is at the C-Suite level – you’d want to market to them in a manner that speaks to their ability to invoke great changes in their respective departments and the level in which they can have changed made. Each one of the components of your personas offers an existing “way in” as opposed to building a proverbial staircase from scratch.
They Help Develop Approaches and Language
Personas can inform nearly every facet of your marketing approach – from basics like age ranges and gender to highly granular aspects, such as the time of day that a persona is likely to read and absorb your marketing message. When the method of your message delivery is as honed as your content itself, you’ll get even better success rates. Those successes, in turn, will help you further develop and evolve your personas, leading to a symbiotic cycle of improvement.
They Clarify Delegation
While group meetings to develop overall marketing plans will always be essential, personas let you divvy up work along clear divisions. Group A might be responsible for reaching and speaking to the “Business Betty” CEO persona, while Group B might focus instead on reaching senior-aged “Retired Ralph.” This allows for a more targeted result, rather than reaching each target in a shallow, and most importantly, non-engaging way.
They Can Even Influence Design
While their most familiar implementation is within marketing spheres, personas can be strengthened, vetted and passed on to other divisions as well. Once a persona has been “tidied up” and reliable, that dossier of information and personality can then be copied over to research and design.
The result of this collaboration is a product or series of products that work to sell themselves to the persona(s), giving every marketing effort more impact, more reach, and driving down natural buyer resistance. Once again, well-built personas feed into a symbiotic cycle, ensuring that less “from scratch” effort is required with every round of sales-marketing collaboration.
While building your initial personas will require a deep dive into research and buyer data, the long-term benefits they offer are well worth the work. If your company isn’t already using buyer personas – or, at the very least, collecting consumer data points that can be utilized build them – you’re missing out on a golden targeting opportunity. Yes, your personas will change over time, but better to update those nuances than wear down the carpet between your current state and the drawing board.