Well, for one, if you haven’t identified your ideal customer(s), i.e., buyer personas, how’s your marketing efforts going to reach him or her? You’d be like shooting an arrow without a target, or in a rowboat without any oars, or in an unknown city without your GPS… In fact, this is such a crucial piece to the puzzle, I’m going to go so far as to suggest you pull over, get out of the boat and drop everything to create yours RIGHT NOW!
Buyer Personas 101
When you think about it, your ideal marketing/buyer persona is the core reason your business exists, right? But, how well do you really know them? Do you know what their priorities are in life? Where they put their time and energy? What’s important to them? What about how they measure success? Is it tangible, i.e., increased revenue, or intangible, i.e., impressing their friends? Have you identified the common objections your personas have? Do you know how they spend their time online? Where they do their research and what their preferred method of communication is?
So, enough drilling? If this all seems a little daunting and I’ve just overloaded your brain with questions that have you a little more stumped than you thought you’d be, you’re not alone. Sometimes, and especially in this arena, we do put the cart before the horse… so let’s take a step back and reassess. Even though this does take some thinking cap and brainstorming time, the results you’ll get will give you so much clarity about how to effectively reach your customer, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do this when you were writing your business plan long ago.
Buyer Personas IDENTIFIED
There are five areas to focus on when you are creating your buyer personas. These will form the heart of your persona, since they show the influences on that persona’s buying decisions.
PRIORITIES: Identify the top problem areas or objectives where this persona dedicates time and money, regardless of your business with them. That is, don’t just look at areas that affect the business they do with you. Their focus areas will give you insight into how to reach them. If you don’t know where they put time, energy and money, you won’t know where or how to focus your message. Don’t try to figure out their pain points based on the products or services you offer.
MEASUREMENT OF SUCCESS: Unless you’re selling candy bars at the checkout stand (and even then, sometimes — consider immediate pleasure vs. gaining weight), there is something at stake for the buyer. Identify how they measure success regarding your product or service — with either tangible or intangible rewards associated with solutions you can provide. Tangible rewards (increased revenue, reduced costs, job promotion or salary raise, etc.) are easier to measure than intangibles (influencing/impressing their peers, increasing their ability to control something in their environment, etc.), but either or both can influence their buying decision.
OBJECTIONS: Identify the perceived barriers the buyer has. They will always look for the obstacles that might prevent them from achieving their goals. If you know their reasons to question whether your company is capable of helping them succeed, you can address them in your products or services as well as in your marketing messages.
CHANNELS: Where on the internet does your persona go to do research, gather information and talk to others in their situation? Identifying their favored “watering holes” (as HubSpot calls them) gives you the opportunity to connect with them and demonstrate your expertise.
BUYING PROCESS: Identify the process your persona goes through when considering a purchase. What business factors triggered their search for a solution? Consider the people, tools and resources that are critical to making a final decision. Remember that you are detailing the process the BUYER goes through, not the process your sales team uses in your own company. Pay attention to the specific aspects of your product or service that buyers evaluate as they assess the alternatives. This will reveal details about their expectations for features or capabilities they consider most important. This is where your interview with those who chose a competitor over you, or those who chose to do nothing at all can give you real insight into their decision-making process.
By identifying these five areas of focus for your personas, you’ll be on your way to crafting an identity that your whole team understands and consequently KNOWS therefore, what drives their buying strategy. Meet them where they’re at at each stage and you’ll be on your way to a long lasting and fruitful relationship!
Want the full Toolkit? Download our buyer persona toolkit and you’ll have everything you need to develop YOUR customer personas and create effective marketing that speaks to THEM!