Know Thy Customer
That sentence gets equal parts confusion and frustration from most people. Why? There's lots of talk about buyer personas, but not everyone sees the importance of them. Why? If you don't know who you're selling to, you're leaving money on the table.
At its very simplest, a buyer persona is the "who", in the "who, what, when, where and why" of your business. If you don't know "who" you're trying to sell to, you're wasting money in your marketing and advertising. You're basically throwing things at the wall to see what sticks.
Do you want to go broke? Because that's how you go broke.
Creating a buyer persona is your road map for your business. It's basically your running answer for "What should I do to market this new item?". "What should this Instagram post look like?". well the answer of course is, what would my buyer respond to? So, let's get to work.
1. Demographics - How old is your ideal customer? What do they do for work? For fun? What areas do they live in? There are MANY resources for this information - your current customers, social media (have a look at your competitors and what their customers are saying and do), Q&A forums, review sites... the internet is a goldmine of information. Surveys are always a good standby as well.
2. Goals and Challenges - What problems do your customers have that you can solve? How can you address these problems in a way that speaks to them? Learn their language and use it (as long as it's authentic. Ever see one of those movies where an obvious alien is trying really hard to speak convincingly like a human? You risk coming across like that).
3. Values - What do your clients value? How can you speak to those values? Does your company share those same values? Does your customer care about the environment and are your products environmentally friendly?
4. The Message - This is where the work comes in. You need to take all of the work you put in learning about your ideal customer, and make them real. Give them a name, a job and a life. This avatar becomes your "person" when it's time for marketing and even product development. If Lauren, the 28 year old personal stylist responds well to bright colors and bold type, then that's what you need to consider when creating your advertising. Take your time on this because this is your roadmap.
5. Negative Nancy - It's not all about who you want, it's also about who you DON'T want. You need to build a negative persona as well so that you know where to no waste your efforts and money. For example if you sell headwraps, Talulah the 26 year old retired grandmother who loves line dancing and Fox news may not be your ideal client.
One More Thing
Your buyer persona should be flexible. As your business grows, you will encounter many different types of customers. Your buyer persona should reflect those changes, and your research should continue so that you're always operating with new information and spending your time and money wisely.
Need some help creating your buyer profiles? Sign up for the Triformis & Co. workshop - a FREE workshop with THREE experts in Marketing, Branding and Design.