get to know your target audience.
Have you ever heard of the newlywed game? A game where each party writes down a few things in a given category like: “Favorite Foods,” or “Morning Person or Night Owl,” etc. When they are given enough questions, couples who are close usually do really well.
Now, imagine playing that game with a total stranger. How well do you think you would do? Sure, you’d do your best but it would be a lot of guesswork.
So why do we treat our target audience like strangers? We don’t have to! By getting a better grasp of who our target audience is, what they like/dislike, where they spend their time, what their favorite activities are, etc., we put ourselves in a much better position to create and distribute content that meets those needs and increases engagement.
This guide will break down how to get to know your audience and their habits so that you can improve your marketing efforts.
What is a buyer persona?
A buyer persona is a representation of your ideal customer. The details in a buyer persona profile are a mix of market research and real data of your existing customers. You will gather basic demographic information along with details about their lifestyle, habits, interests, goals, and pain points.
It is normal to have more than one persona! To make that work, you divide your diverse target audience into groups based on common demographics and interests to ensure you create content that appeals to all of your buyer personas.
why your business needs a buyer persona.
Your business needs buyer personas because they provide valuable structure and insight! You will be able to mold your whole strategy around what your ideal customer is interested in, what makes them tick, and their purchasing process. Your business will know where to focus its marketing efforts instead of guessing and hoping for the best.
researching your buyer persona.
Interviews and surveys.
What better way is there to learn about your audience than an old-fashioned interview? The best source to find subjects for persona interviews is your current customer base. Since they’ve already demonstrated interest and engagement with your brand, they’re effectively pre-screened as likely prospects.
To guide your efforts, focus on interacting with these three main categories: Your current customers, your past customers, and leads that should have been promising but went cold for one reason or another.
Key Questions to Ask.
The key to maximizing the utility of your interviews and surveys is asking the right questions. Here are some of the best questions for getting insight into your buyers’ lifestyles and interests.
Basic Demographic Questions
This category focuses on the broadest persona-defining lifestyle factors.
This category covers questions that reveal how your personas typically find and interact with product information.
Across populations, a buyer’s lifestyle is a great indicator for the types of products and messaging they’re most responsive to.
Purchasing Habits Questions
Purchasing habits are a primary category because they help you narrowly target the precise factors that trigger a decision to buy.
For detailed examples on these types of key questions, visit our blog post on buyer personas.
researching your buyer persona.
interview best practices.
Here are some quick tips on how to make sure you get the most out of your buyer persona interviews.
Let Your Interview Subjects Do the Talking.
The key to a successful buyer persona interview is making your interviewees feel comfortable and heard. Remember that your goal is to learn as much about them as you can in a short period, so don’t waste much time explaining your product or company.
Ask open ended questions and let the subject talk. Reassure them that there are no wrong answers. Periodically encourage them and let them know they’re doing great. Don’t interrupt unless absolutely necessary.
Take Small Talk Into Consideration.
Small talk may seem like a waste of time, but it’s actually one of your most important routes for establishing rapport and learning important details about your potential buyer persona. Take time at the beginning and end of the interview for lighthearted chat. Ask them about their day, etc.
Keep detailed notes in order to flesh out their profile. Chances are good that they’ll mention places they’ve been to shop, events they’re looking forward to, or even just the fact that they need to pick up the kids from school soon. All of those things can lead to valuable insights you can build on.
creating your buyer persona profile.
Knowing what a buyer persona is and how it helps your business is great, but eventually you’ve got to get into the brass tacks of how to create one. We can help with that!
A highly-effective buyer persona is built upon 4 sets of details: Who, What, Why, and How.
This set of details is focused on personal information and identifiers. What your ideal customer does for a living, their education level, family life, and marital status are all pieces of relevant background information.
Additionally, the very basic demographics are important here. Age, race, gender, income level, and location are all valuable pieces of the puzzle that reveal who your ideal consumer is.
Lastly, any identifiers you can isolate will help you hone in on your “Who.” What social media do they tend to use? How do they prefer to be communicated with? Are they impulse buyers or do they tend to research? Details like these are integral to an accurate buyer persona.
In this section, you’ll determine how your business can help meet your buyer persona’s goals and overcome their challenges. Define what their goals and challenges are in the workplace and in their personal life. Be specific with how your products/services can be beneficial for them.
Here you’ll want to focus on two separate issues.
- Why is making a change to your product/service worth it?
- Why might your ideal consumer decide not to invest in your product/service?
By identifying what value your product/service specifically adds and how it addresses your persona's needs and goals, you are able to create marketing materials that answer those questions clearly.
When you know why your persona might choose not to buy your product/service, you are able to anticipate and speak to those concerns before they develop.
Clearly and concisely describe the solution you want to offer to your buyer persona. This is often referred to as your “Elevator Pitch.”
Jot down a quick sentence or two you can easily say to your buyer persona to explain your solution to their problem. It should be simple and straightforward.
Last but not least, it’s always fun to give your buyer persona a name. Make it quick and catchy like “Crafty Cathy,” or “Business Owner Bob.”
using your buyer persona.
Now it’s time to start integrating your buyer persona into your marketing strategy!
Remember that buyer personas offer a road map, not an endpoint. You’ll still need to figure out how to boost the impact of the messaging you’re directing toward various personas.
We’ll cover four things you need to do after defining buyer personas in order to optimize their value.
1. Create Engaging Content
One of the primary benefits of understanding your buyer personas is being able to effectively tailor your content according to their preferences.
Whether you’re drafting an email, social media post, website copy, or anything else, always ask the question: Which persona is this content for, and how can I optimize it so it speaks strongly to them?
2. Communicate With Personas on Their Preferred Channels
Once you’ve created a compelling message, you need to make sure it’s sent where your audience will find it. Channel preferences are a pivotal component of buyer personas and remain your best tool for guaranteeing targeting success.
3. Use the Right Keywords in Your Online Search Ads
Every micro-population of buyers operates within its own culture and idioms, and that includes preferences about the kind of language and wording that speaks most strongly to them. From a marketing standpoint, this means that some keywords will have very high success for one persona but may be mediocre for another.
4. Plan Events and Partnerships Around Buyer Persona Interests
Buyer personas should determine the full scope of your marketing, including live events and brand partnerships. If your strategy includes those types of initiatives, work to ensure that the planning for those events remains centered around your buyer personas.
In some cases this might mean you have an opportunity for a partnership, then need to decide afterward which persona would appreciate it most. However, the best results usually come from targeting a specific persona from the start, then planning the event from there.
understanding your buyer's journey.
The buyer’s journey is the process of a potential consumer identifying a need or desire, then finding a solution or answer to satisfy it.
Understanding your persona's thought process and their response to marketing is the best way to shape that journey toward the desired end: the decision to buy your product, not the competitor’s.
With content that’s tailored to specific personas, you can begin setting the terms of the landscape before the customer even starts down the path.
the buyer's journey
aligning the right content for your persona.
When you know what stage of the buyer’s journey your potential consumer is in, you can push content designed specifically to guide them through the process and ideally into purchasing your product/service to solve their problem.
In this section, we’ll walk through each stage of the buyer’s journey and cover a quick tip for how to market to consumers in that part of the process.
This is the first stage of the buyer’s journey. It’s where your prospect realizes they are in need of something. They may not be sure exactly what they need yet, but they’ve become aware that a purchase might be the answer.
In the awareness stage, your content should relate to your prospect’s pain points instead of focusing on your product or brand. This is the stage where they are gathering as much information as possible.
Educating your buyers on how their pain points have a solution, showing how that solution might look, and proving your expertise are your strongest messaging angles in this stage. This way they’ll consider your brand as the go-to resource for anything related to their issue.
Consumers in the consideration stage are focused on evaluating the best place to purchase what they need. They’ve already identified a problem or desire that they want to address, and now it’s time to buckle down and start looking for solutions and comparing products/services.
Marketing at this stage means providing a clear context for your product in comparison to competitors. At a glance, you need to demonstrate that you understand the product landscape you are operating within, then highlight key ways you’re different from—or better than—the alternatives.
This is the final stage of the buyer’s journey. Your audience now has a firm idea of what specific product they want and are simply trying to decide who they’ll buy it from. That means pricing, page design, and perceived word of mouth are often key to marketing success for buyers in this stage.
Now’s the time when your content messaging needs to hit related angles, like good discounts, ease or security of completing the transaction, and social proofs like gushing Twitter quotes from buyers with similar personas.
Use your knowledge of your buyer personas to micro-target messaging at this stage. For example, delivering a “buy now for half off” to somebody whose persona is still focused entirely on design would be a wasted effort.
bringing it all together.
By taking the time to understand your buyers and the process that they go through to purchase your products/services, you will make your marketing and advertising efforts more personal and effective. It takes time and effort, but we know you’re not afraid of jumping in to get your hands dirty if it means growth for your business.
Don't have the time to create a buyer persona for your business? Set up a time for us to talk to see how we can help your business thrive.