All businesses revolve around the idea of providing value. But you cannot provide value if you don’t have customers. From here, you can see how important customers are when it comes to marketing any form of business.
However, customers are real people. They are more than just revenue in your income statement or money in your balance sheet. They are people who have likes, dislikes, personalities and emotions. For you to truly understand your customers, you have to understand that they are not just ‘buyers’ but they have reasons behind why they buy. And these reasons often depend on the person that they are.
Today, I am going to show you a technique that can help you define your customers as human beings. Instead of giving you a set of marketing techniques or strategies, I will give you a way on how to explore the personalities of the people that you plan to sell to. This way, you will no longer talk to them out of your desperate need for a sale. Instead, you will talk to them because you authentically know and care about their needs.
To do this, you will need to build buyer personas.
What is a Persona?
The ideas of having personas started back in 1993 when a person named Angus Jenkinson, realized that markets should be subdivided into segments. These segments are then defined with a specific set of traits as if it is a real person... except that it's not. It is a persona so it is fictional. But it was not called as such back then. In fact, they used to call it a 'day-in-the-life archetype description'. It is pretty long compared to the term 'persona' that we know today.
The term ‘persona’ did not come from Angus Jenkinson but from a person named Alan Cooper. It was in 1995 when Alan Cooper, a software engineer, developed the concept of persona when he subdivided his market into section. Since he was planning to create softwares for certain archetypes, he called the fictional characters that he had created as personas.
Today, persona creation is a practice in marketing where an identity or fictional character is created to represent the entire target market of a particular business. It helps in guiding businesses towards authentically meeting their customer's needs because they treat their customers as a real person with a name, age, gender, hobby, interests, likes and dislikes and a set of problems and aspirations. With this in mind, marketing methods have taken a complete shift from marketing just for brand retention to marketing to appeal to the emotions and authentic needs of your target market.
Developing Your Target Persona
Developing a persona needs more than research. It needs empathy. You need to know how to get off your horse to feel what your prospect is feeling. You need to know how it is to live their life. Only then will you be able to provide real solutions that will solve your customer’s problems.
STEP 1: Find Out Who is Interested in Your Products or Services
Developing a target persona begins with knowing who is initially interested in your products and services. You can do this in two ways.
First, you can proactively approach your target market and ask them if your products or service is what they want. If not, ask them to make some suggestions and improve your product based on that.
Another way to do this is just to look at your competitors. You can look at their customers and see if these customers will also be interested in your product. But there’s a limit to your assumptions in this method. It is always best to proactively approach customers to find out what they want.
STEP 2: Define Your Persona’s Personality by Asking Questions
Next, you’ll need to further define your persona’s personality. You can do this by asking some questions.
Here are some questions that can help you develop your target persona.
What age would your customer be?
Is it a man or a woman?
What age will he or she be?
Where does he or she live?
What is his or her job? Does he or she like her job?
What are his or her hobbies outside of her job?
What are his or her greatest problems in finding products and service in your niche?
What matters most to him or her?
What products or service have he or she tried in the past?
How did he or she feel with the products or services that he or she have tried in the past?
How does he or she demonstrate that he or she likes the product?
How does he or she show that he or she dislikes the product?
What makes him or her unique?
What makes him or her stand out from the crowd?
As you can see, these questions are created to help you define the specifics of your persona. With these questions, you’ll have a clearer idea on how you want your target persona to look like.
STEP 3: Turning the Persona into a Real Person
A persona will not be complete unless you turn it into a fictional character. This is where turning it into a person comes in. With this, all you need are a few finishing touches.
First, you’ll need an image. This will make your persona more ‘real’ because it has a face. You can easily get some images from websites like Unsplash or Pixabay for this. You can also use Google Image Search. This will just be for your personal use anyway.
Then, keep a separate list of your persona’s most pressing needs that are related to your niche. With this, it is now your mission to be your persona’s fairy godmother or fairy godfather. You need to fulfill all of their needs.
How can you Use Personas
Personas are more than just fictional IDs of your target prospects. They are created for a purpose. In this section, you’ll learn how you can fully utilize personas to your benefit.
You Can Use it to Guide Your Marketing Efforts
Personas are primarily created to guide marketing efforts. With it, it is easier to know how a customer feels and how they will respond to a certain form of marketing. Besides, having a persona allows business owners to become more sensitive to the needs of their target market. With it, they get to see their market to be more than just dollar signs. They see it as real human beings with ambitions, aspirations, interests and feelings.
You Can Use it to Guide Your Writing
Content is very important online. Not only is content behind some of the biggest online brands, it is necessary that you continuously create content if you want to market your business online. With a persona, it is easier to craft content that will resonate with your target market. With a persona, you’ll know who you are talking to. Online writers often have this bad habit of talking to themselves. But with a persona, they now have a person to talk to. Although it is fictional, it is still accurate with their target market for the characteristics are determined through persona creation.
You Can Use it to Guide Your Company
It is quite common for a company to have a kaleidoscope of perspectives. With this, their goals and approach to doing things are often all over the place. With a persona, your whole company can unite in satisfying the needs of one fictional person. With this, there’s no need to explain your goal in detail. Just tell your company about the persona and everything is ready to go. This is what Apple has done when Steve Jobs communicated with his company and told them that they will be targeting creative professionals instead of competing with Microsoft. The result was a smashing success.
The Drawback of Using Personas
While personas can become excellent guides in marketing and content efforts, there is still a drawback. The problem is that personas would often put your customer in a box. While this may help, it may ignore arising trends in new customers. It is therefore important to not only look at the present but also look at the future. Instead of just looking at how customers act now, you should also predict how they would act in the future.
How to Determine the Persona of your Existing Market
If you have not defined your persona when you started your business, you probably think that persona creation is not for you. However, persona creation is not just for new business owners who are still in the strategic planning stage. It is also for business owners with an existing market.
You can define your persona by looking at existing customer data. The good thing about this is that you already have data on the people who are already buying from your website - The data is therefore more accurate.
You can get existing customer data in three ways.
First, you can get it from your autoresponder data. This will show you how many customers are clicking on your emails and how many are ignoring you. In here, you can come up with reasons on why your customer may be ignoring you and include that in your persona development.
Next, you can also use Google Analytics. Google Analytics allow you to see some characteristics of your target market. You can set this up through reports or just look at the previous websites that your customers are visiting before they reach your site. This will give you a glimpse on their surfing habits.
Then, there’s also Facebook. Facebook insights gives you access to the personal information of your target market. This will allow you to see the demographics of your target market as well as get a glimpse on their interests.
If you will put all of these together, you can then create a more accurate persona for your business.
How to Determine the Target Persona of Your Competitors
There is another way to research your persona aside from asking them questions. You can also research your competitor’s target person just to see if it is similar with yours.
For this, you will need analytics tools like SimilarWeb. This allows you to input a URL so that you can explore its visitors and target market. This will give you an overview of what type of market your competitor is targeting.
Aside from this, you can also use tools like Ahrefs to explore your competitors’ backlinks. This will allow you to look at where your competitors are linking as well as look at what websites are bringing them traffic. Why do you need to know this? You’ll need to know the type of websites that your market explores before reaching your competitors. This will give you an idea on the surfing habits of your target market. This information can then be used to develop your persona.
Customizing Your Funnel for Personas
Now that you have an idea on what your target persona is, it is time to put it into action. I have mentioned how personas can help you tailor your marketing and content. But what if you go another mile? What if you tailor your funnel just for your persona?
How can you do this? Instead of using default messages in your funnel (such as when you get a subscriber or a sale), why not tailor your messages for your target persona?
Another way is to provide options. If you know that your persona has varied interests and they also have interests in other products, aim to collaborate with other brands. This will be good for you and your prospects.
Personas are now used by marketers to guide their marketing efforts. No wonder products are now tailored to the needs of their target market. If you are still not doing this, it is time to do so. It is not that hard, really. Just follow the steps above and you’ll have your persona.
Have you created a persona for your business? If you have some questions, don’t be afraid to ask me below. Also, make sure to check what we have about the best facebook marketing courses.