Marketing strategy usually starts with determining what it is your customers want. But do you really know who your customers are?
For maximum return on investment, your plans need to be based on what your potential buyers are actively searching for and need help and information on. Otherwise your ideal customers will inevitably end up being attracted to one of your competitors rather than to your business.
The inbound marketing methodology is based upon getting your target market to find you by creating relevant and useful content to draw them in, rather than spending vast amounts searching for them and battling to stand out from your competitors.
To establish what your customers will engage with, you firstly need to get a clear view of who they are. This is where buyer personas come in.
What is a buyer persona?
Buyer personas are educated, fictional profiles that represent your ideal customers. They help you understand their pain points, what motivates them and what their wants and needs are. It makes it much simpler for you to decide what content it is that they will be interested in, meaning you can create truly focused plans. Depending on what your business does, you may only have a couple of personas, or you might have multiples.
How do you work out your buyer personas?
Creating your personas is a vital piece of work that shouldn’t be rushed as when you get this right, your marketing efforts will be more accurate and cost effective.
You may feel you know who your customers are, and you can always use personal opinions as the base to get started building your personas. The best way to tackle getting a true picture is to gather as much intelligence as possible using the various methods available to you, which include:
- Interviewing current customers to find out their opinions on your product or service and to obtain other specifics that will be useful, such as what their buying concerns are. You could send out as survey to get a decent volume of responses as well as speaking to some of them by phone to get a more in-depth perspective.
- Talking to your sales team and get feedback from them on who the leads are that tend to convert and common things they get asked.
- Examining your database to gather basic demographic details and to see if there are any recurring patterns of where your customers are coming from, i.e., what content is driving leads.
- Looking at the data being collected on your website. If you don’t have useful intel coming in, you will need data collection points adding to website forms to capture key facts about who the visitors are.
- Check Google Analytics as it provides insights into where web visitors are coming from and which keywords they’ve used.
- If you have a social media presence, most platforms feature excellent analytics, so you can see amongst other things, what type of content your users find the most engaging.
Once you’ve compiled all your research, you’ll see patterns and be able to piece together your personas and to give each one a name to really bring them to life. Each will need to contain demographics, their goals, values and challenges, amongst as much additional helpful information as you have discovered about each one.
If you have the time, it’s worth also creating negative personas so you can identify who you aren’t targeting as customers. This can help you avoid wasting time and money on trying to attract the wrong people for your product or service.
Your personas are likely to evolve as your business develops and you can redefine them to reflect these changes.
How do you use your personas?
You'll be able to focus your marketing activity much more accurately and segment and tailor your communications for each persona so that rather than generic pieces going out, your potential customers will feel you're talking to them.
As well as making sure your activity is speaking to people in a way they will respond to, you’ll also know the best way of reaching them, i.e. are they Instagram advocates or is Twitter their favoured social media? You’ll also be able to perfect the right tone of voice to appeal to your prospects.
In terms of content, you’ll be writing about things that your market is looking for and roll out a plan that will engage your readers and keep them coming back for more.
This lays the foundations for a relationship that should lead to your prospects converting into customers and to them recommending you to others.
Taking the time to work out who your audience is will prove to be a thoroughly worthwhile exercise that allows you to put your customers at the centre of your marketing and help your brand to grow.
How we can help
At Secret Source we have helped many of our clients go through persona exercises that have redefined their marketing approaches and delivered great returns.
To find out what we could do for your business, contact us by
e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org, phone us on 01522 700266 or leave your details below.