Creating buyer personas for your business may feel like something you’ve already done: “We mostly sell to married women over 40.” That’s great. But while understanding demographics is important, creating personas for marketing is far more in depth. A buyer persona is a somewhat fictional representation of a specific, ideal customer of yours. This persona should of course include demographics, but should also dictate details such as behavior patterns, motivations, goals, and problems they face.
Your business should have at least three to five detailed personas as opposed to a few generalized demographics. Instead of, “married women over 40,” your furniture company can target ads towards “Judy: a married woman over 40 whose kids are out of the house and who wants to redecorate.” Another of your personas may be, “Dave: a guy in his 30s looking to make his place more ‘grownup.’” Obviously these two personas are going to have different incomes, different online habits, and different issues to overcome. And this is why developing unique buyer personas for digital marketing is so important.
Truly Understand Your Customer
Above all, we create personas to help us better understand our customers. When we can predict what a customer wants and needs, we can provide an answer to a specific problem. We all know great marketing both identifies a problem and offers a solution. “Judy” may be looking to splurge on a certain aesthetic and will respond to highly stylized ads with interior design tips. “Dave” may be looking to save a little money without being cheap, and will respond better to coupons and a simplistic style. Fully understanding your customer applies to everything from what products they will most be interested in, to when they’re more likely to open emails.
Dave hangs out on Snapchat and checks Facebook a few times a day. Judy spends a couple of hours each night on Pinterest and has never even heard of Snapchat. Persona marketing means the right ads get in front of the right eyes. For most businesses this may mean focusing on just one or two platforms. For others it can mean specializing campaigns for personas that exist across different platforms. Did you know that 71% of Pinterest users are women? And that 86% of Snapchat users are under age 34? If you don’t know where your ideal customers spend their time, you’re already wasting money.
Create Better Content
Persona marketing obviously helps target advertising, but it can help to target your content as well. Once you have created your personas, you can begin to segment your email lists to provide individualized content marketing personas for different stages of the customer lifecycle. This kind of “right place, right time” approach reaches potential customers with the information they need when they are most likely to convert. Knowing that Dave has viewed ten different mid-range couches means it’s time to send him your blog post: “Six Classy Couches That Won’t Break the Bank” with a coupon attached. Judy may have sent this email to the trash, while Dave just bought a couch.
Timing is Everything
A critical piece in creating buyer personas that is often overlooked is timing. Understanding the psyche of your customer means you know just when your leads are primed. Dave was ready to receive the hard sell email, but Judy can take six to eight weeks to make a purchasing decision. Knowing when to nudge and when to push can mean the difference between converting a sale and losing a customer. Remember that understanding the decisions your personas need to make along their purchase journey (and the reasoning behind them) is the key to guiding potential customers from one stage to the next.
Closing the Loop
Once you have your personas in place, you will begin tracking which are the most successful. Who is the most likely to convert? While both Judy and Dave end up as customers, your “Judys” convert more often and have a higher lifetime value than the “Daves.” With this knowledge you can reallocate your marketing spend to increase your overall ROI without increasing your budget. The Daves are still an important part of your business, but more of your money should be targeted at acquiring more valuable customers.
Utilizing buyer personas in place of a few generalized demographics can mean seeing significantly increased results. Training your customer service department on your personas can also mean higher customer retention rates across the board. If you’re not already utilizing personas in your marketing strategy, it’s time to start. Stayed tuned for Part II of our discussion on buyer personas which will dig into exactly how to create them for your business.