Imagine your very best customer. What are his (or her) hobbies? Likes and dislikes? Habits? Hopes and dreams? What’s your customer’s name?
The most effective way to make your audience real is to bring your customer to life with a buyer persona – a fictional, generalized version of your ideal customer.
Big companies spend enormous amounts of time and money conducting focus groups and digging through data to build personas — but you can build an actionable persona with just a few simple steps.
First, talk to your customers. Find your customers who are the most profitable, the most loyal, and the most likely to refer their friends. Then sit with them, and listen while they answer your questions such as:
- Describe yourself: What do you like to do outside of work? Do you have kids who are active in sports? Do you volunteer?
- What keeps you up at night?
- What challenges do you expect my business/product to solve?
Then talk to your sales team. The folks in front of customers every day understand your business and regularly solve customer challenges. Talk with them about things such as:
- Who is your favorite customer? Why?
- Who is your least favorite customer? Why?
- What questions do clients ask you all the time?
- What do you wish all your clients knew about our business?
Look at the data. If you have customer-specific data, see who is purchasing most often, when they buy, and what they buy. If you don’t have the big data, consider sales trends. What days and times are the busiest? If it’s weekdays after 5 p.m., you likely have a post-work client. Monday at 11 a.m. likely indicates customers outside the normal workforce.
Start building! Meet your persona – maybe it’s Owen Owner, Mary Mom, or Diane Decision-Maker. Most personas have fun names that make them easy to talk about in marketing planning. Alliteration can make the name memorable, but it’s not necessary. Then formalize the personality traits that make your buyer persona unique. Create a clear, compelling picture that everyone on your team can think about when building campaigns, from social to SEO. That way, instead of thinking about searches conducted by ALL moms who work full-time, have kids in school, and like doing yoga, you can focus on how your Nancy Namaste can most easily find you.