You can’t boil the ocean.
We say this a lot in marketing. With only so much time, energy, and resources, you’re lucky to boil even a bucketful at a time. This is particularly true when it comes to attracting a base of customers for your product. Short of running a Superbowl commercial—which you probably can’t afford—you’re not going to reach everyone. Better to aim smaller and smarter.
That’s where buyer personas come in.
Aim smaller and smarter
Buyer personas are fictional representations of ideal customers, used to target your audiences more precisely. They help you allocate and spend your budget more effectively because you're pinpointing the best possible audiences for your product. While some businesses might have upwards of 10 or 20 personas, it’s good to start small. Especially if your company is new to developing personas, begin with one or two. You can add more further down the road.
Research your target audience
Figuring out your buyer personas is about humanizing consumers. Their needs and interests are in no way homogenous, so it’s your job to figure out who is a good fit for your product or service. This requires a degree of intuition. You must understand your product and who might be interested in it. But soul searching alone won’t cut it. Creating buyer personas requires much more work and time. We’ve brainstormed a few strategies:
Get to know your audience. Understand who uses your product or service, and why. Discover what they like most about you, and learn what they wish you did differently
- Use your sales team for input. Sales speaks to customers and prospects every day. They understand the buyers’ resistance, confusion, struggles—and objections to your product or service. Use these insights to get a better picture of your most promising prospects.
- Conduct research, surveys, and interviews. Get to know your audience. Understand who uses your product or service, and why. Discover what they like most about you, and learn what they wish you did differently.
- Study your contacts database. Your product is already attractive to some people. Take advantage of that. Research the channels that drive people to your page, the content that they consume, and which of your leads are most effective.
- Help your audience sort itself. Forms on your website should ask for pertinent information. If your personas vary based on company size, for instance, your email sign-up form should ask about that. Use this kind of data to create separate email lists for different personas.
Crafting buyer personas
Once you’ve researched your target, it’s time to craft profiles for your personas. In each buyer profile, you need to spell out the following:
- Background: Job, career path, and family.
- Demographics: Gender, age, income, and location.
- Identifiers: Demeanor, communication preferences (i.e. mail, phone, email).
- Their goals: Both primary and secondary. For instance: Keeping employees happy. Supporting legal and finance teams.
- Their challenges: Both primary and secondary. For instance: Getting everything done with a small staff. Rolling out changes to the entire company.
- How you help: How does your service help the persona overcome challenges and achieve goals?
- Common objections: Why might someone push back and decide not to buy your product/service?
With these profiles fully conceived, you can begin to launch more focused marketing campaigns. You are ready to form a more personal relationship with targeted groups. Gone are the days of boiling the ocean. By scooping just a bucket at a time, you’ll find your place in the market—and make your customers a lot happier in the process.
Need more guidance? Set up an appointment for a Whitespace Consultation to learn more about how your company can grow and shape its target audience.