September 15, 2017
For any small business to thrive, owners and management teams must master the art of putting themselves in the customer’s shoes. It’s necessary to know the ideal customer so well that their wants, needs, aspirations, motivations and challenges are understood — in detail.
If you own a small business, you can start to better understand your customer base by creating buyer personas.
What is a buyer persona?
A buyer persona is a fictional, hypothetical profile of a character representing the typical or ideal client of a particular business. Similar to movies and plays, this character needs to have a back story. Why? So you can fully understand the mind of the customer, and the more information you have about them, the better. This profile might include some or all of the following information:
- interests and hobbies
- career goals
- buying habits
Why does my small business need buyer personas?
There are dozens of reasons why buyer personas are important for small businesses:
Improved Targeted Sales Approach
Buyer personas will give your sales team the key to unlocking the mind of the buyer. The team can use this information as a tool to effectively appeal to particular wants and desires.
Enables Flexibility in Strategy
Changes in market conditions will necessitate a change in your marketing strategy and, consequently, changes in the buyer persona. Altering the personas will give your business the opportunity to quantify the impact of market changes on your strategy.
Sales and marketing departments aren’t the only ones who could benefit from knowing about your buyer personas. Administrators, customer service representatives and other team members also need to understand your company’s buyer personas so they know how to better communicate with your customers.
Increased Sales Leads
To have successful lead generation, your content and marketing efforts need to be tailored to the right people. You should limit yourself to issues and interests that your buyer persona cares about.
Product Promotion and Development
If you intend to launch new products or services (or revitalize existing ones!), the entire process should be informed and guided by the buyer personas your company has created. And if this new product or service is to reach new types of customers, make sure you tailor your sales strategy to address the challenges of those buyers.
How do I begin making a buyer persona?
With lots and lots of research.
The effectiveness of your buyer personas will depend on the level of research you put into them. It is not enough to “know what to look for” — in-depth research is imperative for accurate information. Try the following methods to best understand your current or ideal customers in order to create buyer personas that will work.
If you have an existing online business, you should already have integrated analytical tools to help you understand the client better. These include Facebook Insights and Google Analytics audience reports.
Talk to Customers Directly
For a thorough understanding of the psychographics of your buyer personas, you might just need to pick up the phone and call them. You can also use a tool such as Survey Monkey to get a better sense of who they are and how they are interacting with your business.
Study Your Competitors
Whether you’re just starting out as a new business or you’ve been around for quite some time, a peak into your competitor’s blogs and website pages might help. Take a look at the comments and interactions they receive from their customers.
You can learn a lot about your ideal customers from the internet. For example, you can search for information about a particular location or industry, hot topics surrounding the services or products you offer, or frequently asked questions you hear from your current customers.
How do I create a buyer persona?
After thorough research, you should synthesize all the information you’ve gathered to come up with one profile that best captures each of your ideal customers. You can also take it a notch higher and humanize the persona by giving it a name and a face. If many personas are needed, you can start small by prioritizing the most valuable audience segments.
A successful inbound marketing strategy should attract new customers and impress existing ones. Creating a buyer persona should be your first critical step in this process. The online space is increasingly becoming more crowded, and how you target your content and marketing efforts will matter the most.
Where are your customers in the buyer’s journey?
A buyer persona should factor in the three stages in a buyer’s journey: awareness, consideration and decision. For any of your content to make sense to the customer, it should align with their particular stage of the buyer’s journey.
Are they just now realizing they might have a problem? If so, they are in the awareness stage. They may be having some troubles or challenges and are looking for content that will tell them exactly what the problem is.
However, if they know what the problem is, but they aren’t sure how to solve it, they may be in the consideration stage. This means you should provide content to them that is assisting them in showing their options for resolutions.
The decision stage is for customers who have come to the conclusion that they know exactly what they need to solve the problem and are looking for a specific solution they have in mind. To reach these customers (who are nearly ready to make a purchase!), provide content that convinces them you are the one who can provide the right solution.
Boost Your Digital Marketing Strategy with Help from Hummingbird Collective
Hummingbird Collective offers blogging, SEO, social media and other digital marketing services to small businesses and nonprofits in the Denver area and beyond. We love working with passionate organizations who are ready to take the next step in their digital marketing efforts. Reach out to us online for more information about our digital marketing packages, or call us at (720) 442-0772 to tell us more about your story!