Imagine for a moment that you went to a lake, launched your boat, and started to fish without knowing if the body of water was an environment where fish could thrive. Your results will be hit or miss. You could be super lucky and get a bite with every cast. You could go through the whole day without a single nibble. Maybe you have a bit of success and you bring in a few fish in return for the investment of your time, your equipment and the energy you expended to plan your day and get there. What would be better, would be to learn about the kind of fish you want to catch, and go where you know you’ll find them, and be prepared to use the right fishing techniques to reel them in. So it is with Buyer Personas.
What are Buyer Personas?
Buyer Personas are semi-fictional representations of your target buyers. Personas help you to focus your marketing strategy so that your results aren’t hit and miss. They also help you to create marketing messages that resonate with your prospective buyers. To continue my analogy, they help you find the fish, discover what they like to bite on, and the best times to throw out your line.
How do you create Buyer Personas?
There are many templates available for creating personas. My personal method includes aspects of HubSpot’s persona creation techniques, combined with methodology from The Buyer Persona Institute, with some StoryBrand mixed in.
The process starts with a brainstorm with my client’s internal team. I have a questionnaire of 20 questions to get the wheels turning. During this brainstorm, we start to paint a picture of the prospective buyer by thinking of their demographics and background. We’ll then discuss the problem that they need to solve and how that problem shows up in their business and their life. This moves us into talking about how my client’s company is uniquely qualified to solve their buyers’ problems, and the successful outcomes that result from their work.
The second part of the information gathering process is made up of interviews with recent buyers. These open-ended conversations lets buyers talk about their experiences and the steps they took in their decision-making journey. This is the part that really blows people away, either validating what they’re already doing, or revealing an attitude or belief that they never knew existed.
How do you use Buyer Personas?
I had a client who introduced their Buyer Persona to her staff by name, and told them that from that time forward, “Becky” would be at every meeting. Although this team knew a lot about their buyers, going through the Buyer Persona process was a powerful force in getting everyone to think about her goals and challenges as their reason for being. The result? Inspiration and motivation to play their part in the vision and mission of the company.
What this business owner was doing was reminding her staff about their clients’ story, and how what they offer leads to a successful resolution to the problem they’re trying to solve.
When you align marketing strategy and messaging with your buyer’s story:
You’ll Find the Right People
Discover who is most likely to buy, who is not likely to buy, who is actually involved in the buying decision and what is important to them.
You’ll Be in the Right Place
You’ll find out where your prospects go to learn so that you can be there when they are looking for information, or surprise them by showing up in the on- and offline places where they gather.
You’ll Be Ready at the Right Time
Predict the times when your prospects will be open to hearing from you based on what you learn about the situations that trigger their need.
You’ll Have the Right Message
Make them feel like “This is me!” when they have an encounter with your messaging. Engage your prospects with content that directly addresses their concerns and expectations, and give them the information they need to make their decision.
Are you fishing in the right lake?
If your marketing message and strategy didn't start with the creation of Buyer Personas then it's a good bet that your results are hit and miss. Contact me for a free consultation and explore how your marketing resources can net better results.