Why buyer personas are a critical first step for your marketing strategy

Insight

Kaity Augustyniak

3 Minute Read
We’ve previously discussed using omnichannel marketing strategies to increase the relevance of your messaging to customers. But to boost engagement with your audience through personal and authentic experiences, you first need to pause, rewind, and take a very close look at your customers. How well do you really know them? Sure, you probably know their name and email address, but do you really know what drives their purchasing decisions? What about their most significant goals and challenges?

Creating and maintaining strong buyer personas not only helps you and your staff better understand your customers; it is also a critical first step to the foundation of your entire marketing strategy. When you understand the needs of your various customers, you can create messaging that resonates.

What are buyer personas, and why are they important?

One of the most common mistakes marketers make is treating everyone the same. While sending one message to all of your customers might seem efficient, segmenting your database and sending targeted, relevant messages allows you to say the right thing, to the right person, at the right time. Because consumers expect companies to be customer-centric now more than ever, getting a little personal goes a long way.

When you segment and organize your database based on specific criteria, you can create buyer personas, which are semi-fictional profiles that mirror your ideal customers.

Buyer personas allow you to:

  • Improve your value proposition – Keep your messaging focused on the customers’ needs
  • Gain a better understanding of your clients – Train your sales and customer service teams to best serve the customer
  • Maximize ROI – Strengthen your marketing efforts by pinpointing buyers with the highest propensity to purchase

The key is to create rich buyer personas with lots of crucial information. From there, you have the power to strengthen your marketing with messaging that is extremely relevant and tailored to your highest-value customers.

How to start creating your buyer personas

First, keep it simple. Most likely, when you start to segment your customer base, you’ll find that you could create multiple personas to represent different types of customers. It’s best to start with three to five personas. You don’t want to have too few or too many.

The strongest personas are created by using a combination of qualitative and quantitative market research, along with information that you gather from your customer base.

Even if you already feel confident in your knowledge of your customers, market research can be very illuminating and is worth the effort, so don’t be tempted to skip it. High-performing companies use a variety of resources to gather data about their customers, and 82% of companies that exceed their revenue goals conduct research to inform the development of buyer personas.

So, where to begin?

Start by identifying your best customers and gathering information about them. Do they have anything in common? Finding any commonalities will help to organize your ideal customers into various segments. Surveys and interviews are great ways to gather information about their goals, challenges, and how they feel about your product or service. During interviews, ask follow-up questions to uncover even more insight.

Next, narrow down the most common answers and determine critical information, such as:

  • Demographics (occupation, gender, age, income, education, etc.)
  • Identifiers (skill level, interest in and use of your product or service, how they research when making a purchase decision, communication preferences, etc.)
  • Goals and challenges

From here, start to add some context around your offering. For example:

  • How does your product or service add value for your customers?
  • What are some common objections for why they might not use your product or service?
  • Include real quotes from your interviews and surveys.

Pro tip: You can also view and pull relevant quotes directly from their LinkedIn profiles where they are likely to describe their job, responsibilities, and previous experience in their own words.

Once you’ve uncovered key insights about your ideal customers, you can begin to consider how to craft your marketing messaging for each of them. Think about how you would describe your offering to each persona and craft an elevator pitch to sell them on your solution. Add this messaging right into your buyer persona profiles.

Finally, give each buyer persona a name, and don’t be afraid to have a little fun with it. This makes it easy for you and your staff to remember the differences between your various customers and quickly reference them.

Now that you have an even better understanding of your customers than you did before, you can call upon your personas to continually inform and optimize all aspects of your marketing strategy.

And of course, over time, your customers, products, and the marketplace are always subject to change. You’ll want to revisit and refresh your buyer personas regularly, most likely on a yearly basis.

While it may seem like a daunting task, with the right insights, FARM can help you build personas to strengthen your marketing efforts and maximize your investment. Contact us to learn more about how to begin developing buyer personas to optimize your marketing strategy.

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