How well do you know your customers? – 5 steps to creating buyer personas
One of the first questions we ask new clients is “who are your customers?” A relatively straightforward question, you’d think.
It’s surprising then, how many people pause at this point and have to think about who their customers are? Often we are given a very broad description of a client’s target audience and it’s not unusual to be told “well, everyone”.
The idea of a target audience is nothing new. For decades, marketers have been carrying out customer analysis and segmenting markets to help them create a competitive advantage. Twenty years ago (when I started my marketing career), the biggest question that was asked was “what media do customers read, listen to and watch?” And if we knew this, we were on to a winner.
Although these questions are still relevant, with the explosion of digital platforms we can be far more sophisticated – and need to be. We are able to find out much more about our ideal customer and, more importantly, we can now use this information to be more specific with our targeting.
Essentially, we can talk direct to our target customer. But to do that, we first need to know who they are.
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Getting to know your customers
In today’s digital world, It’s not enough to just know who your target audience is. If you want to effectively target your ideal customer, you really need to drill down and understand who they are, what they do, where they are and what they value. You need to understand their needs and pains and how you can educate them and solve their problems.
To do this you need to create buyer personas (or ideal customer avatars).
What is a Buyer Persona/Ideal Customer Avatar?
According to Hubspot a buyer persona is:
“A semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers”.
Buyer personas are not created in your imagination and they are not merely a profile of your customers. Buyer personas are based on fact – making them extremely powerful when it comes to aligning your marketing decisions with your buyer’s expectations.
How to create a buyer personas/Ideal Customer Avatar?
Step 1: Research you target audience
Start with understanding who is already buying from you. This can be done through conversations, questionnaires or focus groups.
Google Forms and Survey Monkey are great for creating simple questionnaires, and free. If customers know you are gathering information so you can better understand and meet their needs, they will be happy to help.
Some examples of things you want to know are age bracket, location, income, buying behaviour, interests and hobbies, education and pain points. You may require additional information, depending on your industry. Think about what really matters.
Don’t forget about your website and social media analytics. This data can provide a valuable insight in to your buyers and their behaviour.
Download our FREE template to help you create you personas.
Step 2: Narrow down the most common details
Once you have carried out your research you will be able to identify commonalities. It is likely that you will have different groups of people buying from you for different reasons, so you may need to create more than one persona.
Remember, you want to create personas as if they are real people and people that will buy from you, not people you want to buy from you.
Step 3: Create your personas a name
Once you have identified commonalities and have narrowed down your customers, you are ready to build your personas. Start by giving each persona a name. This will help you humanise the persona and bring them to life.
Step 4: Create separate personas
Use our persona template to help you create your separate personas. Your individual personas will help you understand your customers’ needs and wants and and, most importantly, the solutions you can provide.
Step 5 : Start writing engaging content that’s valuable and relevant
Once you have created your personas, you are ready to start building a relationship by delivering relevant and engaging content that attracts and delights your ideal customer.
You can now effectively target your ideal customer through the relevant channels, making marketing far more efficient and cost effective.
Download our FREE template to help you start creating your personas and get to know your customers better.