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A buyer persona, sometimes referred to as a marketing persona, is a fictional person that embodies your ideal customer. Businesses use buyer personas to develop marketing campaigns that specifically target their audience. If you don’t know who your audience is, you stand little chance of influencing them and your marketing efforts will likely fall flat. A clear understanding of your business’s buyer personas is critical to reaching your customer base and using that knowledge to drive business. Your company’s buyer personas should be based on data and research of your actual customers in order to be the most effective in developing a strong marketing strategy. Once you know your customer base’s behavior patterns and drivers, you can make your products more appealing and suitable to their lifestyles.
Using buyer personas to direct marketing strategies prevents businesses from falling into the trap of projecting their own wants and ideas onto their customers. If a business is only concerned with what they want to focus on or what they want to achieve, with no consideration for their customers’ opinions, they’ve undermined their own success from the beginning. You can’t expect to satisfy your consumer base if you don’t prioritize them. Instead, take information about your base and use that knowledge to achieve your business goals in a way that also satisfies the consumer’s needs.
Let’s consider two retailers in the same industry: a consignment store and an upscale boutique. While both of them primarily sell clothing and share the goal of wanting to increase sales, their customer bases are very different and they won’t increase sales by using identical marketing strategies. The consignment shop’s customers are more likely to be low income. Lower paid jobs are typically paid hourly and may not conform to traditional business hours. If the shop keeps track of their busiest hours and days, they may find that customers come and go steadily throughout the day due to varied work schedules but that sales spike every two weeks, coinciding with paydays. The boutique on the other hand may not see a lot of activity during traditional business hours if the majority of shoppers are middle or upper-class workers with 9-5 jobs. In their case, weekends are likely the busiest days. The boutique might also sell more accessory items than the consignment shop and have higher success with upselling customers. The two retailers would do best to stock, rotate, and advertise new merchandise on different schedules so that new items are most visible during high sales periods. Using buyer personas will inform the businesses which items their customers are most interested in and when they are most likely to spend money. Each business can then use that information to market more effectively.
Research, research, research. There are numerous ways you can go about collecting data on your customers, and it’s not as complicated as you may think. You can start by surveying them, even if it’s done so casually that they aren’t aware of it. When someone comes into your store, greet them and ask how they heard about you or what brought them to you. Take a mental note of the time of day they’re shopping or if they’re lower, middle, or upper class. If they make a purchase, you can ask how they plan to use the product or what made them choose it. None of those questions are out of the ordinary and would be interpreted as friendly small talk, but the answers give you insight into your customers’ needs and spending habits.
Talking to your customers is a great start, but that’s only getting your toes wet. You need enough information to drown in if you want an accurate buyer persona. The good news is that you can repurpose and take advantage of analytics that may have been put in place for other reasons. If you’re tracking website traffic, pay attention to which weekdays and hours see an uptick in website visitors. Use information gathered from gated content to learn more about what distinguishes your passive viewers from your engaged viewers. Track your marketing emails and take note of which are more likely to be opened. Browse your social media posts to see what content creates the most engagement. If you’re really looking for opportunities to learn about your current and prospective clients, the possibilities are almost endless.
Now that you have important background information on your customers, you need to start grouping similar types of customers together to form buyer personas. There’s bound to be diversity in your clientele so don’t restrict yourself to developing a single persona. Let the data dictate how many personas you create, but only create personas that will further your marketing. For example, if only 11% of your customers are under the age of 25, your efforts would be better spent marketing to the other 89%. Creating a buyer persona, or possibly multiple personas, to target a small number of prospective clients isn’t a good use of resources.
Adrilan offers a range of marketing microservices. If you’ve used one of our other services in the past, there’s a good chance we’ve already laid the foundation to develop and use buyer personas to boost your inbound marketing. Who doesn’t love an excuse to double dip?
If you’re new to Adrilan, there’s no time like the present. We’ll help you analyze any data you already have, as well as start tracking additional data points so you feel confident your understanding of your customers is complete and reliable. If you partner with us to create your buyer personas, you can be certain they’re based on qualitative data rather than unsubstantiated guesses.