You are just starting your business. Adrenaline rushing through you. You can’t wait to showcase your product and services in front of your customers and have them fawning over all the value you are bringing to their lives. You set up a Facebook page, made some posts, and now Facebook says — You can reach 2,580 customers every day if you promote this post. Mmmmm…Sounds enticing. There is a certain allure behind that promised land of getting 2,000+ customers every single day.
Does that story sound familiar? It should. That is essentially every single one of us when we start our business. Now, some of us would go ahead and start promoting our business right away, some would wait for a while before they have some more meat on the website and/or Facebook page. But we all eventually start doing it. Who doesn’t want those customers, after all?
My question is this — Do you know who you are gonna advertise to before you start advertising?
Of course. We know our target audience. It is, for example, youth between the ages of 18 and 35. And that is where the mistake gets made!
DIFFERENT CUSTOMERS HAVE DIFFERENT EXPECTATIONS, DIFFERENT BEHAVIORAL PATTERNS
You cannot treat your customers the same way. Some value convenience, others value price, some would put a lot of emphasis on how the overall product looks and feel, how it is packaged. Everyone has a different set of expectations from you — the business.
But, all customers are different after all, but they do need your product. So where is the mistake in advertising your product in front of them all?
Yes, every single one of us is unique in their own way, but if you started to classify customers in different macro-buckets, you would realise that you can cluster them up in different groups. Groups that have the same broad sense of identity, expectations and behavioral patterns. While they may be different from each other on a micro level, from a macro perspective, they do tend to look similar. And these groups are what businesses called buyer personas or customer archetypes. Identifying your buyer personas is what needs to be the start of your marketing process.
WHAT IS A BUYER PERSONA, AND WHY IS IT CRITICAL TO HAVE ONE
Buyer personas are a way to identify, describe and segregate your target audience into groups that behave quite differently from each other. Instead of having a generic target audience definition (for example, SMB marketers), a buyer persona helps you go deep, specific and extremely crisp in who your target audience is.
The most typical parameters used to identify buyer personas are your audience’s demographics, pain-points, industry segments, affluence, lifestyle, goals in life.
Buyer personas are extremely helpful as they help your business on all fronts. It helps you create more compelling content that could add immense intrinsic value to the lives of a specific customer type, thereby helping you drive more sales. It helps you understand the customers’ priorities, thereby helping you deliver customer delight and achieve a higher NPS. It helps you in streamlining your product roadmap by identifying which aspects of the product could drive the most value for the business in both the short-run as well as in long-run. The buyer persona will be your ‘go-to guide’ for every single one of your business processes.
Take a B2B SaaS business for example. You would be creating a lot of content for your inbound marketing, as you should. But building your content marketing strategy on top of your buyer persona matrix will help you in:
- Increasing sales.
- Generating more leads that are extremely contextual and have a clearer answer to the question — “What are they looking from you, as a business?”
- Help you rank higher in search results on relevant keywords, thereby increasing both your product’s trustworthiness as well as organic search traffic.
- Help you immensely in establishing subject matter expertise and domain authority.
Once I define my buyer persona properly, I am in a position to assess what my target audience is searching for on Google, what are their pain areas, and possibly have a gameplan on how and how much I will need to nurture each potential lead for them to become a prospect and ultimately a paid customer.
If I have a product that helps customers with their Instagram reach, I have a fair understanding of what their search terms would look like, and that is how I would start.
How to grow your instagram following from zero?
How to get 10,000 real, engaged followers in 3 months?
Now. These are broad messages because, for this one particular use-case, different segments of my potential userbase are searching for answers to this one common question. But here is the catch, and we will look at it on a very macro level. There are two types of potential customers I would be having for this business. Instagram users who are just starting up, and looking at increasing their reach from zero, and users who do have some reach but are now looking at increasing it up further and at the same time, increasing the engagement on their existing reach. The messages above would work great in connecting with the first base, but what about the second one?
That is the disadvantage of not thinking of buyer personas. If I were to use the same message for everyone, then, in all likelihood, I would miss out on the second segment, one that already has 5,000 followers and would therefore be more inclined at paying for services that could help them retain this base and also increase it further. After all, if a system can help them establish themselves as an instagram influencer with a loyal and engaged base, why would they mind paying for it? But if my strategy is not centered around buyer-persona, I would be propagating a completely ineffective message to them — potentially the most valuable chunk of my potential base.
BUYER PERSONA HELPS EVEN FOR YOUR ORGANIC POSTS
There is a common misconception that buyer persona is critical for your paid campaigns; primarily because it helps you with targeting. While that is indeed true, the value of having a buyer persona can not be ignored even for your organic content. Whether it is content on your blogs, your whitepapers or your social media page — if you are making sure you are disseminating content to a very focused segment of your overall userbase, you will witness a better engagement and conversion percentage from your content marketing efforts. And who doesn’t want that!
So, create two different kinds of content:
- Content that is relevant to all. Disseminate it to your overall base.
- Content that is extremely contextual and is tailor-made for specific customer segments. What this content would be, and how it needs to be made would depend on your buyer persona!
SO, HOW DO YOU CREATE AN EFFECTIVE BUYER PERSONA?
By talking to your customers. By observing them from a distance. By analyzing how they are engaging with you.
A. What are the most common questions your prospective customers have when they reach out to you?
B. When you are trying to make a sale, which direction does the conversation get steered to? What are the apparent concerns that come out of the discussion?
C. Who reaches out to your sales/support staff? Are they the decision-makers? Do they need to run it up the flag pole? If they are not the decision-makers, why are they reaching out? Is it because even though they are not the decision-makers, they would be the ones using the product in their day-to-day life?
D. Are customers referencing another tool when listening about your product? What products come up most often? What are the customers using those products for? Are they still using those tools or not? If yes, then what is it that made them stick, and do they wish something was different? If not, what went wrong?
E. Where are most of your leads coming from? Are there a couple of lead generating sources that far outshadow the rest? How did your customers find you on those channels? What were they searching for?
F. Which pages on your website do visitors spend the most time on? What page sees the highest bounce rate? Measure entry pages and exit pages both.
That’s it. Get to creating your buyer personas now and give your marketing a much-needed boost. It will help you increase conversions, delight customers, and drive costs down — all at the same time.
Oh. And final parting words? Your buyer persona will evolve as your business evolves. So always remember to access if you need to rehash this exercise. The simplest example to illustrate that would be a stage where you have been running the business for a year. You will need to start measuring the percentage of your customers that are churning out, and what are the possible reasons behind that. It will help you refine your buyer persona. It would be the same with every major product update or even a pivot your business goes through.
Your buyer personas? They are dynamic. They react to any change — whether on your side or on the side of your customers.