In marketing, one of the biggest temptations is to try to sell to everyone in the world. After all, in the internet age where each person with wifi or a smartphone can potentially visit your website, that means anyone could buy your product…right? A buyer persona definition for each one of your key customer groups can assist with narrowing down who you should target and why.
If you think about this for a bit, you know that while it’s theoretically true you could sell to anyone, it’s not actually the case when it comes to marketing and selling your merchandise or services. In fact, most companies cover this in their original business plan when they analyze and define their market. However, the internet age also makes it possible for anyone to start a business with a minimum amount of effort, so they may not delineate their market explicitly up front.
Since we now recognize that designating our customers helps sharpen our business strategy, let’s look at buyer personas.
A persona is a way of defining your target customers in such a way that you can speak directly to them when creating marketing materials. You may have only a few personas but depending on the product or service, you may have 6-10 or more. HubSpot recommends naming your personas along the gender lines they tend to occupy, like Developer Dave or Yoga Yvonne. This helps visualize your customer when creating marketing content.
Most importantly, your personas need to be based on research. Creating buyer personas by guesswork or who you think your customers are won’t return the results from your marketing campaign and will just waste time and money. You may want to make your personas fairly granular, depending on the level of ad targeting you are planning. Find out as much demographic information as possible – age, gender, job titles, behavior patterns, where they do their research, who they consult when making purchases, etc.
Having a well-rounded buyer persona makes your marketing tasks easier because you have a customer at which you can focus your energies and money. Here’s a sample persona for a buyer looking for an agency to redesign a company website:
30-40 years old
Marketing Director; Marketing Manager; Assistant Marketing Director
Shops at high-end grocery stores; Pinterest user; drives luxury sedan; typical commute 30+ minutes
Art major; business major; 4-year undergraduate degree
Reads Advertising Age, HubSpot blog, Marketing Sherpa
Consults with mentor and other peers.
Adding in a photo and name to each of your business’ personas helps everyone on your team truly envision what he or she looks like. Educate your team how to speak to each persona, whether in person, via email or even through the content you create and publish on your website. Once you’ve established not only who your persona is, but also how you can identify them when you encounter one or another, your employees will be able to maintain a consistent voice that is still customized to each person they talk to.