Before you can even consider marketing your business, you need to know understand who your customers are and where you’ll find them.
You’re shooting in the dark with your marketing if you haven’t done any customer research, or if it hasn’t been done in the right way.
The problem with that is that marketing has a cost. Whether it only costs you time to try things out or you’re spending on ads, you’re still using up resources. If you don’t know how to target your efforts properly, then you really could be wasting those resources. And you won’t necessarily be getting customers through the digital or physical door either.
However, creating one or more buyer personas can help you bring together the information you have on your customers. With complete personas, you’re not firing blindfolded at a target you can’t see, you’re using a telescopic sight to pinpoint the bullseye.
In this article, we’re going to take you through why buyer personas really matter and how to create buyer personas for your small business.
Why are buyer personas valuable?
Buyer personas are only a representation of your ideal customer, but if you create them well, they can give you enormous insights into your customer base and why they buy from you.
This is priceless information that can inform not only your marketing but many areas of your business.
With such deep insights into your target audience, you can:
- Prepare your customer service people better for calls and tailor customer service responses for a better customer experience.
- Tailor your how-to articles and add to your knowledge base so tech personnel can anticipate questions and help customers faster.
- Solve problems because you now know what customers are having problems with.
- Improve your website so the actual information customers are searching for is up front and center.
- Find and solve common objections so that your salespeople can more easily convert quality leads.
The list really could go on. And that’s before we look at how much a quality, descriptive buyer persona can transform your marketing.
The right buyer personas, shared across your business, can align everything you do. They can ensure everyone is working together from the same information to delight your ideal customers and provide a superior customer experience.
Given how much value buyers currently place on customer experience and personalization, creating great buyer personas can help you grow and improve your business, across all areas. And add to your bottom line.
What information do you need to know to create a buyer persona?
When creating a buyer persona, many people stick to demographics, such as age, gender, education, and location. They may also add character traits, such as caring, empathetic, and honest.
These pieces of information are a great start, but they’re not the whole picture.
You need to know far more about your potential customers. The main things you’re looking for are where to find them and how to approach them, what they like about your business, their pain points, and why they buy from you specifically instead of a competitor so you aren’t wasting your marketing dollars.
If you don’t have anything else yet, at least start with those.
Here’s how to gather the information you need and put together your buyer persona:
1) Examine any data you have on your customers
If you’ve been running your business for any length of time, no doubt you have a lot of data on your customers in various places in your business.
Your website statistics will show how your customers found you, what sites they came from, the keywords and phrases they used, what your most popular posts are, and more.
You’ll have sales figures showing who your buyers are, including any demographics and other information you collected on them. You may even have notes from real sales conversations, if your marketing platform can collect that sort of information. This gives you information on how your customers speak, what language they use, the questions they have, and what objections they might have raised.
Check Customer Service and Tech Support for the kind of calls and written queries being handled. What questions come up the most? Where do customers get stuck? What do they say about your company and your products or services? What feedback are you getting, both good and bad?
Social Media Monitoring
Your social media statistics should show you which platforms get the most engagement, which gives you where your audience hangs out. You should also be able to see which types of posts get the most comments and interaction. Check out the comments too for useful feedback, more questions, keywords and phrases, language and tone used, what people like and dislike about your company, products and services, and more.
Look at your blog posts for customer comments and feedback. What do they have to say? Which posts get the most comments and what do people enjoy about them? Again, you’re looking for the same information – questions, keywords, pain points, likes, dislikes, and helpful feedback.
Your reviews can also be a great source of information for finding out about your customers. You’ll see both the good and the bad here, but it’s all helpful and you can learn about your customers from every bit of feedback you get.
If you’ve already started marketing, take a look at your marketing statistics, including results from previously run campaigns. You should be able to see what worked and what didn’t, which will give you insights into your customers.
Don’t worry too much if you’re just starting out, you will collect all this data over time and you can learn and update your buyer personas as you go. In fact, we’d recommend that you do a regular review each year to ensure your buyer personas are up to date and still accurate.
Instead of having to guess what you think of your audience, you can pull all of this valuable data together to create a highly accurate picture of your current and potential customers.
2) Bring everyone together
If you only talk to sales and marketing about your customers, you’ll only get part of the picture, and you don’t want to miss out on any details.
Instead, gather at least one person from each department that has any interaction or involvement with customers. Include customer service, tech support, sales, marketing, and anyone else that might be helpful.
Before the meeting, give everyone a copy of the information you already pulled together from combing your data. This is a great starting point.
At the meeting, work through all the information you need to know about your customers question by question. Let everyone comment and provide their point of view. You will get some surprises here and so will everyone from the different departments, simply because everyone is seeing the customer at different stages of the customer journey.
Side Note: In fact, these meetings could be used for far more than just your buying personas. You could ensure that your company doesn’t have siloed working by ensuring that people from other departments meet regularly. You can also use the knowledge, experience, and data that you get from other departments to inform and continuously improve every area of the business.
Go outside your business
1) Talk to your customers
Start with your existing customers as they’re the ones most likely to be open to talking to you. You can interview them one on one, interview them in focus groups, run online surveys, or even just chat to them face to face if you have brick-and-mortar premises that clients visit.
Most people are eager to have their point of view heard and to tell you what they think.
However, while this can be a great ego and morale boost, don’t forget to include some customers who aren’t happy with you. You do need to hear what they’ve got to say. This can add just as much, if not more, to your buying personas.
2) Look at your competitors
Your competitors are targeting the same customers as you, so naturally, it makes sense to look at what they are doing and what feedback they are getting.
While you won’t have internal statistics and analysis from your competitors, you can build your own picture of your customers from watching your competitors on social media.
See what they’re posting and what’s getting a lot of engagement. Look at the comments in particular for feedback and good intel on your customers.
Check out their reviews on social media, the big review sites, and Google Business Profile. What are people saying? What do they like and dislike?
Again, look for keywords and phrases to improve your content writing and target your customers more closely. Look for pain points, questions asked, and all the other helpful things we mentioned above.
Take a look at their blog post comments too. These can be gold for your buyer personas and for your marketing.
3) Social listening
We covered this a little earlier when talking about analyzing your social media, but social listening really adds another level. You can listen to your customers and prospects in real-time and find out exactly what they think of you, who they are, what they want, and more. You can also listen in on your competitors and do the same.
This really can give you so much information, and not just for your buyer personas. Product development, customer service, and other departments can all benefit from this.
Bring everything together
After that, it’s a case of using a buyer persona template to fill in what you’ve learned. Simplify it down and don’t go more than a couple of pages in length. You want this profile to be read and used, not consigned to a drawer because it’s too long.
How can buyer personas help you improve your marketing?
Well, looking at what we’ve said above, we think we’ve pretty much covered this.
Your buyer personas can help you target your customers where they are by focusing on the right platforms. You can find out how to speak to them in their own language, using the terms and jargon they use themselves. You can improve your sales copy, blog posts, and other marketing materials because you know what questions they are asking, what their pain points are, and what solutions they’re dying to get their hands on. Your sales team can improve their sales calls and handle objections much more easily, too.
And every aspect of your marketing can be tightly focused on the right people and delivered in a way that they want to see. You’ll know if your audience prefers to read or watch videos, you’ll know if they want Q&As from you.
You’ll have far more information to feed and tailor your marketing campaigns and make them a roaring success.
That’s what your buyer personas can do for you. If you get them right.
Of course, we understand that that’s a lot of work, with a lot of logging into different platforms. But we do have a solution for you. Why not book a Surefire Local demo and see how our local marketing platform can bring everything together for you?
Our software can produce reports showing information on your reviews and star ratings, your customer service comments, social media, email marketing campaigns, your Google Business Profile, and so much more.
And when you’re ready to start marketing, with your buyer personas firmly in place, you can even manage your social media, email campaigns, content and blog writing, and more all from one easy dashboard.
Why not get in touch and let our software help you build descriptive buyer personas for your business that will give your marketing a huge boost, and your bottom line?