One of the main challenges of marketing is attracting high value customers to your organization. There are many factors to consider, that it can be challenging to choose the most effective strategy in order to achieve that goal. Who should I be targeting? Where should I try to reach them? How does my offering solve their needs? These are some questions that every marketer is faced with, and without a clear idea of who you are targeting you are forced to cast a broad net and only to hope that it is wide enough to get the results you are looking for. This strategy is ineffective and outdated. According to the inbound marketing methodology, we should be striving to provide our target audience with valuable content that is tailored to their unique needs. In order to adequately understand what your audience sees as valuable you need to understand who they are as people. When you use buyer personas to create a representation of your ideal customer, you can begin to understand their needs and strategize a way to satisfy them.
What Is A Persona?
Buyer personas are semi-fictional profiles that are created to reflect your perfect customer. These profiles go by several different names including customer personas and marketing personas, but all serve the same purpose. That purpose is to help marketers understand their customers at a deeper level. If you have a clear image of who would use or benefit from your product or service, then you are in an advantageous position to effectively market to those people. Buyer personas are an integral part of any good marketing strategy because they align with a key principle of the inbound marketing methodology, which is to focus on the customer experience. By better understanding our customers behavior and interests we can more adequately comprise a strategy tailored to their specific needs.
When creating personas, it is important to put yourself in the shoes of your customers. The goal is to adequately understand as much of your target audience as possible. Market sizes differ drastically from industry to industry, and that will be a factor when deciding how many personas you want to create. If you’re part of a large company that conducts business at a national scale, then it would be beneficial to have multiple personas that have unique and shared traits. On the other hand, if you are part of a small locally owned business then you might be able to adequately account for most of your target audience with one or two personas. There is no magic number of personas that will maximize results.
All these components combine to create a clear and accurate depiction of who you are marketing to, and this allows you to fine tune your marketing efforts to improve the overall customer experience to best fit their needs and preferences.
Why Are Buyer Personas Important?
Buyer personas are important because they allow you to tailor your marketing strategy to the customer’s needs. Understanding your customer’s unique needs, addressing the issue they’re facing, and offering them a solution is paramount when it comes to attracting and acquiring loyal customers. Creating detailed and accurate personas can give you a significant advantage over your competition. If you do not have an accurate idea of what your customer’s needs are, then you will not be able to effectively market to them.
People respond to empathy. One of the best ways to get a potential customer interested in what you have to offer is by addressing a problem that they are facing. With buyer personas we have the insight to understand the customer’s needs, adequately address the validity of their needs, and offer a solution that will satisfy their needs.
Buyer personas are also valuable when it comes to segmenting audiences. As you research your audience and create your detailed personas you will undoubtedly find that the people who make up the audience have unique attributes and views. Having personas allows you to tailor your messaging to what you know about each segment.
How To Create A Great Persona
In order to create a great persona, you will need to conduct research. The more data you have the easier it will be to create an accurate depiction of the person you are trying to reach. A good place to start is to sort through any customer information that you have readily available and look for any significant commonalities. If you need to get more data, a couple practical ways would be using form fields on your website, conducting interviews, or sending out surveys.
These simple strategies can provide you with loads of quality information that you can use to create high performing personas. Another tactic that can be helpful for creating personas is brainstorming. Once you have conducted enough research to achieve statistically significant results it can be beneficial to have multiple people share their ideas of what they think the persona should be. This tactic exposes people to new perspectives that they may not have thought of on their own.
When creating personas, you need to think critically and creatively to truly understand and be able to empathize with your audience. Collect enough data so you can view this as a person. Not just as a collection of data points. This gives you the opportunity to communicate in a more human way and develop long term relationships with customers. The last thing to keep in mind when creating personas is that it is an ongoing process. People’s needs are evolving all the time, and you need to be able to identify the changes and be ready with the appropriate response.
How To Reach Personas
Once you have created your personas it is time to put them to work. Personas are an integral part of audience targeting. They should be used to more accurately target people in a tailored way. When you develop a targeting strategy and build out your different audiences, it is important to have your personas interests and preferences top of mind. Understanding your personas can help you a lot when it comes to paid media. At Tailwind, we use personas to help us build out a number of audiences including interest based audiences, lookalike audiences, affinity audiences, and in-market audiences. Personas are even helpful when it comes to choosing which channels to run ads on. With your persona in mind you can choose which specific channels your audience is most likely to interact with. From there you can create audiences based on each persona’s unique characteristics and accurately target potential leads at any stage of the buyer’s journey.
In summary, buyer personas are semi-fictional profiles that reflect your ideal customer. You create them by conducting audience research through forms, interviews, surveys, and contact lists. They are an integral component of successful marketing strategies because they give you an accurate idea of who you are trying to reach. This insight allows you to create content that is valuable and tailored to their unique preferences, resulting in happier customers. It also allows you to be precise with your targeting by choosing the right channel and message for specific audiences. Overall, personas allow marketers to have a more tailored approach to audience targeting which drives better results.
Written by Quintin Fiedler