Have you ever been given a bad gift? No, a really bad gift? Chances are the person who gave you the gift was thinking more about what they would like, not considering your needs or wants. Unfortunately, this is all too common, and it doesn’t just happen with the giving of physical gifts. It can happen with your marketing, too! In order to connect with and maintain customers, you have to think about what benefits them; what they would want from a relationship with you.
The success of your small business depends on your ability to understand your ideal customer. Luckily, there’s one surefire way to do that: create buyer personas.
Buyer personas are profiles of fictional individuals. The data you use to create them, however – and the results you get when you apply them correctly – are very, very real. They help you identify and understand just who your target audience is. So before you blow another chunk of your budget on branded gifts or ads that won’t actually generate new revenue, make sure you have the building blocks you need to reach your ideal customers or clients.
Here are some of the most important reasons to check buyer personas off your list this year:
BUYER PERSONAS SHOULD ALWAYS BE A TOP PRIORITY
When you shop for friends and family members, you most likely put yourself in their shoes. You consider their lifestyle, interests, and which gifts they’ve enjoyed in the past to help you make a decision. If you don’t know your recipient very well, it’s a lot harder to find something they’ll use and appreciate. But, no matter what, you don’t just grab what you would want. You put effort into considering the recipient and catering the gift to them. Understanding your target audience is just as important when it comes to choosing your gifts, social media content, and other marketing strategies.
Today, effective inbound marketing strategies make most of the difference between small businesses that struggle and those that thrive. Your strategies should specifically target the people who are most likely to do business with you. This means you have to know who and where they are, what they want or need, and how they prefer to get it. If you’ve built your brand and planned your marketing strategies before getting to know your customers, you’ve missed a crucial step, because you must be able to answer these questions first.
After all, if you don’t have a specific person or people in mind – or don’t know them well enough to imagine their habits and interests in place of your own – then how can you decide how to allocate your time, money, and labor? Your friends cannot be summed up by superficial demographics like age, gender, and race, and neither can your customers. Buyer personas should always come first, because they give you the details you need to make marketing decisions that actually pay off.
KNOW YOUR CUSTOMERS, KNOW YOUR PLACE IN THEIR LIVES
One of the most valuable benefits of getting to know your customers: you also get to know yourself. Buyer personas tell you more about your products or services, including how they fit into your customers’ lives and what your customers think of your brand. These data-driven profiles may focus on ideal individuals, but they should reveal a lot about your brand too. This makes it easier to tweak your message and deliver it in the right ways. After all, if you don’t know why certain people like you (or where and how they learned about you), you won’t know how to make sure new people join them.
So, how do you build a buyer persona that accurately represents a customer’s relationship with your brand? Start by talking to real members of your target audience. If you already have customers who use your services or purchase your products, ask them questions and listen to their answers. No detail is irrelevant, as long as it gives you more insights into how they get their information, what they buy, or where they shop.
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For example, where do your customers or ideal customers shop for their clothes or groceries? How do they get their news? Where do they go out to eat? What are their favorite hobbies, and what obstacles prevent them from pursuing those interests? Which websites do they frequent, which businesses do they follow on social media, and how does your own online presence compare? The answers to these questions will help you figure out exactly how you fit – or could potentially fit – into their lives and spending habits.
BUYER PERSONAS CHANGE AS YOUR CUSTOMERS CHANGE
New products and services appeal to new people. As your business and brand identity grows and evolves, so do your current and potential customer bases. That means your buyer personas should evolve, too. Up-to-date, comprehensive buyer personas are the guides you need to grow and try new things. Without them, you will exclude the very people who could help your business reach new heights.
Regular market research is a great way to prevent stagnant strategies and outdated buyer personas. Make room in your marketing budget for understanding your audience, especially if you plan to experiment with different products or new marketing strategies. Consider the journey your customers go on as they purchase a product or service. If you begin to change your branding efforts or advertise products that appeal to new people, make sure you communicate with those people and pay attention to their spending and browsing habits. Remember: generating new products means generating new buyer personas, too.
Of course, appealing to new people shouldn’t mean losing existing business. Customer loyalty is even more important than your ability to attract new customers. As long as you continue to learn more about your customers and make an effort to maintain strong relationships with them, it will be less risky to widen your reach with additional products and tailor new marketing decisions to additional buyer personas.
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ACCURATE BUYER PERSONAS WILL SAVE TIME AND MONEY
Targeted content only works when it gets to the right audience. If your buyer personas are inaccurate, incomplete, or nonexistent, then you’ll make unnecessary sacrifices to your budget, schedule, and workforce. Unique, creative marketing strategies are ineffective unless they attract attention from people who will actually make purchases. Make sure you have brand personas that identify your most likely customers.
Don’t have buyer personas yet? Instead of wasting resources on gifts they won’t keep or ads they won’t see in their feeds, allocate some of your marketing resources to buyer personas first. These personas will tell you where to find your customers, guiding you directly toward the social media platforms they use, the events they attend, and the stores where they shop.
Ready to start fine-tuning your marketing efforts? From building a brand identity to figuring out where to advertise your latest product, all your marketing efforts should appeal to the people who will actually help your business grow. Download our free resource below or contact us today to learn more about attracting the right attention, communicating in the right ways, and growing your business and its customer base for years to come.