Know Your Audience

The best way to connect with your customers is to have a clear understanding of who they are. What challenges do they face? What are their goals and desires? How do they see themselves? Being able to answer these questions with more than a vague idea is extremely helpful in business.

You can hire a marketing agency to do in-depth research, or you can put in a little time and effort to figure it out on your own. It might seem like a difficult task to wrap your head around, but here are some easy steps to get you started.

Research

You can use your imagination and guess what motivates your ideal customer, or you can go right to the source for legitimate data. Your sales team will have good insights into customers and trends. Keep track of information and see what patterns emerge. Are people drawn in by sales, time of year, weather? You can also interview customers, a great resource since they’ve purchased your product/service. Reach out to the customers who love you business and those who are unsatisfied or upset about something. This will give you a range of information and any challenges your customers are running into.

Customers will want an opportunity to make their voices heard, but if you’re having trouble finding willing customers to interview, offer an incentive. Discounts or gift cards are good compensation for their time and valuable feedback.

Need topics to ask in these interviews? Here are some to get you started:

  • Job role/title
  • Typical day
  • Skills needed for the job
  • Industry of the job
  • Number of employees
  • Responsibilities
  • Measurements for success
  • Biggest challenges
  • Publication or blogs read
  • Associations or social network groups
  • Personal demographics (age, marital status, children)
  • Educational background
  • Career path
  • Shopping preferences (online, store)
  • Vendor interaction preferences (email, phone, in person)
  • Online research of vendors or products
  • Describe a recent purchase (considerations, evaluation, decision)

The key information you want to get from each question is “why?” This will help you understand their goals, behaviors, and driving forces. Asking “why?” will let you dig deeper beyond the surface answer until you find the reason behind what they do.

Create Buyer Personas

With your data in hand, you’ll be able to find patterns of information that can be very useful. Hubspot has a great tool to make a buyer persona. Check out their Make My Persona tool here. You’ll answer questions based on the information gathered from your interviews. Once you’re done, it creates a clean overview of your persona that can be shared with others in your business to help you focus on the right people. You can rearrange sections and add any information you’d like. Start out with 1-3 personas that are unique. Eventually you can get more specific with sub-personas, but you don’t need to overwhelm yourself with every possible persona.

Using Buyer Personas

Once you have a clearer picture and understanding of your customers, it’s time to put it to work. Knowing where your customers spend their online time will help you when it’s time to run ads. If most of your customers are on Instagram and none are on Twitter, you’ll know where to advertise for the best chance to gain more similar customers. Even if you’re not buying ads on these platforms, being in the same places gives you opportunities to interact and get your brand in front of like-minded people who are more likely to become customers. Letting a group of people know that you understand them and their challenge is a great way to start a relationship. Focus on providing insight, information, or entertainment to them, instead of just pushing your product or service.

If you have email lists, you can split them up by persona. Then, make small changes to your emails to communicate with each group more effectively. The same goes for other content you create. Use those personas to have a better idea of what they’ll respond to and create something that solves a common problem they face. You should also go through what you already have and see if it aligns with your personas. If you have something that doesn’t fit, try changing it and track the results.

There’s also the opportunity to team up with other businesses your audience follows. If there’s a local coffee shop that most of your customers often go to, create a relationship with them.

A Few Final Notes

Another great use for personas is to create a Negative Persona, someone you don’t want to target. These can be customers who don’t have the budget, aren’t in the right stage of life, or have the most trouble with your product or service. For example, if you specialize in home renovations, you don’t want to target renters or students.

Don’t feel restricted in your persona building. You can combine different but similar attributes, so your persona’s job title can be “Sales Manager or Director of Sales.” Give yourself some flexibility for a group of people you’re trying to merge into this one idea.

If you need help with your buyer personas, or you’ve got them figured out and need help with your marketing, feel free to reach out to us. We’d be happy to meet with you and discuss how we can help your business!

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