Trying to Appeal to Everyone is Appealing to No One
If you’re like most business owners, marketing managers or sales reps, you probably have your ideal customer pegged…at least in your head. But ask yourself this; is the image of your ideal customer an amalgamation of all your buyers rolled into one? If so, you are dong yourself a disservice and probably losing out on a lot of leads.Sure, I bet your product or service is perfect for all sorts of consumers, but how do they know that? Unless you’re able to appeal to them on their own terms, it’s likely your message will go unnoticed.
Each of your Buyers has their own journey, even if your product is their ultimate destination.
How can you market to a customer who you haven’t even identified yet? If you owned a travel company is your message designed to appeal to the CEO who wants to book a team building retreat, or the mom who wants to book a family vacation? They’re both viable customer types, but they each have different goals and enter the top of the sales funnel with different perspectives.
The most effective technique for understanding your customer…is to create one. These are called “Buyer Personas”. A Persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal client with common behaviors, problems and goals…both personal and professional. These are complete profiles of who your customers are as people and include a short version of their life story that will allow you and your marketing team to talk about them as though they were real people.
Buyer Persona - a Real Life Example:
Below is an actual Persona we created in conjunction with one of our clients who sells Point of Sale (POS) software systems to small businesses. They have several different personas in multiple vertical markets. Here is one of them ↓
Age: Mid 30’s early 40’s
Income: $3500-$5000 per month
Education: Some college
Location: Middle America
Roles: Business Owner, Wife & Mother to 2 young children.
Goals: Being her own BOSS, and controlling her own destiny. She wants to cut down on her work hours by streamlining her business and becoming more efficient.
Challenges: She is overwhelmed in each area of her business. She wants to sell more, but feels the pinch each time one of the big box stores opens near her.
Suzie started her career in corporate America right after college. She may not have completed a 4 year degree but she certainly values education for her and her family. She spent a few years in a 9-5 job, got married and had kids. She was initially very happy in her 9-5 job, but she started asking herself if there was something more rewarding.
Suzie owns a women’s fashion boutique on Main Street but is overwhelmed with each area of her business. Time is the resource she needs, as well as a plan for taking her business not just to the next level, but also to help her streamline and utilize what she is already doing. She has tons of stuff that are critical to her business success but she is using lots of tools and has information in lots of different places.
She is not super computer savvy but she is competent. She has a smartphone, and uses social media like Facebook, Pinterest. She has kids that show her the power, but does not know how to use it effectively. She wants to sell more, and feels the pinch each time one of the big box stores opens near her, and her business is threatened by online retailers like Amazon.
So what did we do with this Persona?
We’re running a full “Inbound Marketing” campaign for this client, so we are writing an eBook designed just for Suzie Shopkeeper. We write blogs and social media posts to point “Suzie” towards a custom landing page, which in turn points her to the eBook. Once Suzie downloads the eBook we are able to nurture her along through other techniques I’ll reveal in a later post.
How to Create a Buyer Persona
First you have to identify the questions to ask. For example; What are their demographics? What does a typical day look like for your persona? Where do they go for information? What are their primary and secondary goals and challenges?
There are four ways to do this:
- Interview current customers
- Survey your customers
- Talk to your co-workers who work with your customers
- Simply do it yourself (Only if you truly know your customers)