When you set out to start your business it makes sense to be optimistic about the size of your potential market and who your product is going to appeal to. It’s also important to be realistic.
As a business matures and learns more about who is buying their product or service and which customers deliver the highest returns back to a business, the importance of narrowly defining your ideal target market becomes clear.
The only way for your business to succeed is to accept that everyone is not your customer, and that’s OK. Trying to satisfy a wide range of different needs is definitely costly and rarely effective.
These days it has become a standard for brands and marketers to create buyer personas to define their target market and create a more effective marketing strategy.
Buyer or marketing persona is fictional/semi-fictional, generalised representation or profile of your ideal customers. You can create one or more personas to define your customers.
To accurately represent your target market, your personas should be created based on research, surveys and interviews of your existing customers, online visitors, or social media followers.
Study their demographics, behaviour patterns, motivations, goals, pain points, etc. The more detailed their profiles, the more targeted your efforts will be, especially for content creation, product development, sales follow up, and anything that relates to customer acquisition and retention.
To help you get started, here’s a guide to creating your buyer personas:
- Name of the persona
- Job title
- Key information about job/their company (size, type, etc.)
– Details about their role (e.g. decision-maker, buyer, administrative)
– Salary / household income
– Location: urban / suburban / rural
– Computer literacy
- Hobbies and interests
- Source(s) of information
– Where they get their news
– Blogs they read
- Goals and challenges
– Primary goal
– Secondary goal
– How you help achieve these goals
– Primary challenge
– Secondary challenge
– How you help solve these problems
- Real quotes from the interview or survey you did
- Values / fears
– Primary values
– Common objections during sales process
- Marketing message (How you might describe your product for this particular type of person)
- Elevator pitch – (Go into detail and set a consistent message on how to sell to this customer)
To give you a sense of what a completed buyer persona might look like — see our example below:
You can utilise online tools to collect the behavioural information that you need to help create your personas. Ask for customers’ data when they first interact with your brand through your website, online store, e-newsletter, or social media account. You can do the following:
- Get your data from the website/email sign ups or the contact form after the customer makes a purchase.
- Track their clicks and research their purchases and abandoned shopping cart items.
- Find out who is commenting on your blog posts and spreading the word about your content.
- Check out who follows you, likes your posts, and retweets or shares them with their followers.
- Study your website and social media analytics.
After collecting this data, you can start interacting with your customers by emailing or talking to them (via social media messaging, chat, or webinar) to get more personal details. Ask them to take surveys via email or social media, and include questions about how they’re enjoying your content and products. It would also be beneficial for you if you take the time to answer questions and concerns over social media, and likewise ask questions to better know your customers.
Once you have your personas in place, immediately formulate your actions. Customise messages to tailor fit the individual characteristics of your potential customers and empathise with them as they go through your funnels.
Since starting her outsourced national marketing consultancy Marketing Angels in 2000, Michelle Gamble has helped hundreds of SMEs get smarter marketing. Michelle helps businesses find more effective ways to grow their brands and businesses.