You want to engage with the right prospects and the right customers – because those are the people who are most likely going to be happy with what you have to offer. The goal is to eventually have these people be so delighted about their experience with your brand that they become your brand advocates. As brand advocates, these people will help you promote your business, and fuel the growth of your business. They may spread the words by actively recommending you in person in conversations, through social media, or referral links.
These are your ideal customers – they are your targets!
You may already know who your ideal customers are, and have developed an ideal customer profile. This identifies a category of people, and within that category are subcategories – buyer personas.
Buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customer based on real data and some select educated speculation about customer demographics, behaviors, motivations, and goals.
Personas are created through research and analysis, and a careful look at who is already buying from you. They can help you get in the mindset of your potential buyers.
Name them! That will help you really think of them as real humans, your potential buyers. A good persona tells a full narrative about your buyer. You should consider these personas as real people. A good persona can help you get in the minds of your potential buyers and know them as well as you know your real-life friends. (Tip: Name your personas. It will really make a persona come to life!)
If you name your persona Mary, your goal is to consistently think about what Mary would want. How can you help Mary? What does Mary need? How are her needs changing?
How to create personas in three steps:
- Identify trend
- Develop your persona stories
Buyer personas must be based on actual research, not assumptions. One way to start is to ask questions. Consider asking questions that may touch upon their demographic, goals, and challenges. Ask your existing customers, or ask people you think would be the right fit for your products or services. Here are a few sample persona research questions:
- Role: What is your job? Your title? What is your role in the purchasing process?
- Company / Organization: What industry or industries does your company work / is your role in?
- Goals: What are you working to accomplish?
- Challenges / Pain Points: What are your biggest challenges?
- Daily Life: What are your daily routines? When and how would you like to interact with vendors or products?
- Watering Holes: How do you learn about new information for your role?
- Sources of Information: Where do you conduct research on vendors or products?
These are just examples. You need to adjust these questions specific to your industry. You can ask on the phone, on social media, in person, etc. You may even know some of these answers internally already by talking to your salespeople or studying your CRM database if you have one.
When asking these questions, always focus on your customer’s motives, not their actions. The follow-up question to pretty much every question should be “why”. What really drives them and how can you better serve them. People are not very good at describing this, so we really have to dig deep. Unlocking this insight can be really powerful.
Once you’ve conducted this research, start looking for trends. Patterns and similarities in answers to persona research questions indicate who your personas really are. Pull this information together into a persona. A persona may have the below information:
- How we help
- Common objections
- Real quotes
A persona story is something the entire organization can align on. It is something that new hires can review, so they know who is the customer. It is a way to ensure that you are always focusing on your customer, and having your customer’s voice in mind.
You do not need a lot of personas. Start with a primary persona. If you have a lot of personas, that just means you have a lot of segments you marketing, selling, and servicing.
Are you ready to build a persona for your business?
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