One of the most effective methods is to create and document Buyer Personas.
While the creation and fleshing out of your buyer personas can be a very involved task; the benefits reaped can be in abundance.
But what are Buyer Personas?
“A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.” (Hubspot, 2018)
Buyer personas are the personification of the facts you know about your target customers - information collected from a range of sources and through a range of methods such as observation, experience, interviews, and perhaps even surveys – supplemented with some speculations derived from the areas you do know.
Creating a Buyer Persona
It is important that Buyer Personas can also be considered consistent with the experiences and history of the organisation – its brand.
Using up-to date and first hand information is crucial in creating accurate representations of your potential customers. A variety of this information you might already have within the organisation but to get the most of out of your buyer personas conducting market research is an inescapable necessity.
When creating your personas you should consider a range of individuals: your current customers (both satisfied and dissatisfied); the prospects in your sales and marketing pipelines; and those that seem to fit the profile but aren’t so aware of your organisation.
Getting to know these people is important in order to develop an understanding of their behaviours and more importantly their motivations. The ‘why’ question will be the most important question you will ask when consulting potential buyers because understanding what drives a person to make the choices they do means that you are better positioned to predict their movements within the market place.
When compiling the collated data into a persona it is important to be realistic. Extrapolate out reoccurring themes and speculate how they might affect other areas of that particular individual’s life – both personal and professional – while still maintaining the feel of realistic human beings.
Using a Buyer Persona
We pride ourselves on getting our customer in front of their buying market and that means we have to understand exactly who their target market is and our experience has taught us that a buyer persona is one of the most effective ways of conveying this information. By using a persona we know we can better tailor marketing materials to reach them at the most suited point in their buyer’s journey.
Personas can be used to understand what information your potential buyers want to hear from you, when they want to hear it and in what format. Understanding the nuances about the people you hope to sell to means that you are better suited to answer their questions and position your services.
Buyers are more and more looking to create relationships with the brands they interact with; long gone are the days where purchase decisions are based solely on price. By using a persona an organisation is much better placed to develop these further interactions in to a viable relationship.
It is important that the personas you create are as close to a true reflection of what a typical would-be-buyer looks and behaves like. So be careful with your generalisations and don’t limit yourself – go where the facts lead you and if that means that you end up with a variety of distinct persona’s, so be it. As long as they all convey realistic would-be-buyers your brand would be proud to interact with.
Lastly, use your personas. Don’t let them become something akin to a marketing gimmick. Use them to put a face to every email, tweet or social media post; to personalise materials and to approach them in a manner you know them to be most receptive of. Buyers today are looking to build relationships with the brands they interact with - make it easier for them by treating them less like a sales figure and more like the person you know them to be.