Thursday, July 14, 2016

How to Create and Use Buyer Personas as Essential Marketing Tools

This blog has been inspired based upon some current struggles with some new clients in finding their corporate "voice" to their prospective clients.

Quick! It's time to market. Do you know who your customers are?

This may seem like a simple question, but the reality is that if you do not have a deep understanding of your current and prospective customers, your marketing efforts will be largely ineffective. How can you get this deep understanding? One of the best marketing tools to use to truly understand your customer base is the creation of buyer personas.

Marketing tools

Buyer personas help you uncover the true identity of your target audience.

What is a Buyer Persona?

Simply put, buyer personas are fictionalized representations of your ideal customers. Hubspot describes buyer personas in this way: "Personas are fictional, generalized characters that encompass the various needs, goals, and observed behavior patterns among your real and potential customers. They help you understand your customers better."

Personas, then, are designed to help you better visualize to whom your marketing messages should be targeted. Creating buyer personas helps you "put a face" on your marketing strategy, so to speak.

Why You Need Buyer Personas

What is the advantage to that? There are several. SitePoint's "Four Important Ways Buyer Personas Improve Your Business" notes that buyer personas help you create irresistible content. As you carefully create your buyer personas, you will uncover significant information about your customers. The more you know about your customers, the more targeted your marketing message can be.

Forbes' "How to Develop Your Buyer Persona and Reel in Better Customers" compares the process to fishing. Just as a good fisherman gives thought to where to find the fish he wants, what time of day to do the fishing, and what kind of bait will appeal to the particular type of fish he is after, creating buyer personas helps you to narrow down important information about your customers and aim your marketing campaigns in a more focused way.

Taking the Blindfold off Your Marketing Strategies

By creating detailed buyer personas, you can, in effect, rip the blindfold off your marketing strategy. The process of building buyer personas gives you a clear line of sight on your target audience.

How does that process work?

The best place to start when building your buyer personas is with the demographic information you already have about your customers. For instance, you likely already know something about their income, occupation, gender, level of education, interests, and geographic location.

That is the surface information. The next step is to discover more in-depth information by answering such questions as:

  • How does this person spend his or her day?
  • What problems or pain points is this person likely to experience?
  • Where does this person typically go to find solutions to challenges?
  • What method of communication does this person prefer when dealing with a company?

While you may not have that information readily at hand, you can acquire it through customer surveys, feedback from current customers, and so on.

Marketing tools

Well-crafted buyer personas help you take the blindfold off your marketing strategies.

Armed with this information, you can develop a multi-layered picture of your typical customers. In most cases, you will find that information you gather leads you to more than one picture of your ideal customer. This will enable you to design distinct marketing campaigns that will appeal to multiple segments of your customer base.

Leveraging Buyer Personas as a Marketing Tool

The simple truth is that the more you know about your audience, the more focused your marketing efforts become. Buyer personas are effective marketing tools because they help you to develop a deep understanding of the needs and wants of your audience, and design strategies to meet those specific needs.

Do you have a handle on solid buyer personas for your business? For help with developing a nuanced picture of your ideal customers, contact us. With years of experience in analyzing and interpreting marketing data, we will partner with you to craft highly specialized marketing campaigns that truly appeal to your target audience.

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