Chances are, you put a lot of work into formulating the decisions that affect your marketing. You know that planning is the most significant part of marketing when deciding on how much money to spend to map out your KPIs. This is especially true when it comes to small businesses, online or otherwise. So why don't you see the results you want?
The simple answer is that you're probably not talking to anyone – not directly. Your audience never gets to see those amazing plans come to fruition. In the infamous words of Travis Bickle from 1976's Taxi Driver: You talking to me?
When you're pitching services or trying to persuade a stranger that your solution works, knowing who you're talking to makes the difference. Without a deep understanding of your prime audience, you could find yourself targeting unresponsive (and even annoyed) leads.
If you're struggling to craft a guideline, we have your new favorite term: buyer personas. In this blog post, we’ll help you understand why you need to incorporate buyer personas into your marketing plans, and how doing so can transform your business.
What is a Buyer Persona?
A buyer persona is a mockup of the ideal client. It covers their pain points, social preferences, habits, and hobbies, and what your company can do to snatch their attention. The persona creates a vibrant example of an actual person searching for what you're offering.
Without buyer personas, you're likely speaking to an audience that doesn't need what you have and doesn't know anyone who does.
Buyer Personas: Marketing to People, Not Numbers
When leads become numbers, your methods become robotic (that's what robots understand, after all). You look to recreate outreach approaches that worked for other companies without getting to the actual heart of marketing. Great marketing asks two questions (no matter the product), service, or business: Who am I speaking to, and how can my solution help them?
For starters, a persona simply describes your buyer and what they're doing right now, then gives them a name. We'll call our potential buyer Sally Online.
A buyer persona is a detailed profile of a fictional buyer, so it should include everything that a potential customer of yours might be and do. For instance, Sally Online is a 30-something with an online marketing business she's trying to grow. She works a day job as an SEO-expert and spends much of her day building link reputation. Sally understands what a link shortener does, and she understands why she needs it.
Sally spends most of her time on her computer and frequents sites like Instagram (she's a visual person), Twitter (she has a short attention span), and various streaming sites. All of this information helps us to understand the best places and ways to approach Sally, stop her in her tracks, and convince her to convert.
When you're coming up with your own buyer personas, consider the most important functions of a buyer:
- Who are they (be specific)?
- How old are they?
- What drives them to action?
- What are their pain points?
- Where do they spend most of their time?
- What types of decisions are they allowed to make for their company (B2B)?
What Makes Up Buyer Personas?
Buyer personas give you clarity, and that opens up a variety of opportunities, including the opportunity to meet the right leads where they are most comfortable. You spend time and money on your lead generation – you don’t want to waste either on flimsy attempts to convert a brick wall.
Buyer Personas will cover a variety of topics, all revealing information about your leads and all tailored to your specific needs, but they will most likely include:
What makes the buyer of your dreams pull out their hair in frustration? What problems hinder their success, decrease their emotional stability, or drive them up the wall? Which of those problems fit into a solution you can deliver?
Preferred Entertainment and Media
Depending on whether your business is B2B or B2C, this might look very different for you than it will for a competitor. What is the avenue your leads typically use to get and give information? This can be anything from blogs and podcasts to whiteboard animations and whitepapers. A list of their preferred social media channels and hashtags related to their preferences is also critical. All of this information tells you when and where you can get your message in front of your leads.
What makes your dream leads get up in the morning, go to work, and give it their best try? Why do they do what they do. And when do they do it? Knowing what motivates your leads – and what you can do to tap into that motivation – gives your marketing strategy a huge advantage. Speaking to people on a level they can understand and relate to is always a plus!
How Can an Online Business Utilize Buyer Personas?
Giant marketing teams all over use buyer personas to increase conversions, keep their budgets on track, and win. How can a small business do the same?
Even without a huge team, you can use your crafted buyer personas to keep the most significant fact of any marketing campaign front and center: your prospects, leads, and clients are human beings.
Engage in a creative exercise to help you see them that way. Write up a quick story about your persona. Find some stock images to give them a face. Develop a mock schedule for their day. Think outside the box, and do whatever you can to help yourself see your buyer as a real, live person. If you do have a team, try to create these personas together.
It's essential to use buyer personas you’ve created specifically for your business instead of those created by someone else. You want the persona to address the personality and pain points that fit your brand and needs to the letter.
Buyer Personas Deliver Results
Marketing is a challenging process when done blindly. To achieve success, it will take dedication, time, and a lot of research. Marketing without buyer personas and research is just shouting the virtues of your business to a brick wall.
You're yelling to anyone who will listen that your business is worth it, but you're doing nothing to prove it to the right people. Create fun and detailed buyer personas, and you'll start converting the leads you always dreamed you'd get!
Do you use buyer personas? What types of traits do you add to your own? Let us know in the comments below!