Get Inside Your Customer’s Head – 5 Steps to Building a Buyer Persona
Every business wants to make customers happy and sell them their products or services. But often business seem to apply their marketing strategy is a slap-dash way, but the good news is that they don’t need to! There are awesome tools for getting into your customers heads! If you haven’t heard about buyer persona’s then lucky you! We found a lovely little article about how to create buyer personas by Lisa Pecunia.
Get Inside Your Customer’s Head – 5 Steps to Building a Buyer Persona
By Lisa Pecunia
Let’s face it, humans need interaction.
As business owners we need to understand this, and insure that our customers feel like they’re dealing with real people when they interact with our company and our products.
What is a buyer persona?
The concept of buyer personas is all about reaching your customer at a human level. It’s a way to effectively build a connection with your customer as a real person. Using the buyer persona, you will be able to better determine what your customer’s priorities are, what motivates them and why they might be inclined to choose to do business with you over your competitors.
Many marketing campaigns only rely on demographics. Age, city, income level, family status, education, recreational activities. This is a good place to start, it helps you narrow down the category, or the group of people to whom your products are targeted.
Having a buyer persona however can help us dig very deep into our customer’s thoughts and emotions and personal challenges. It helps establish more specific traits about our buyer that we would not have known with pure demographic data. Knowing our customers challenges helps us develop products and services to solve those challenges. It also helps us develop our marketing messages to insure our customers know how we can solve them.
Developing a buyer persona can be a lot of work, but the benefits are highly rewarding, not to mention profitable.
People will naturally be more interested in what we have to say, whether it’s through our website content or our viral marketing campaign, when it focuses on building real human relationships. If our marketing message is designed with a buyer persona in mind, it is way more interesting than merely talking about our products and services.
Let’s talk about the process.
You create a buyer persona by analyzing your current customer information, asking questions, encouraging feedback, and learning your customer’s lifestyle. Then you create a “real person” around that set of data, and dig deep into their personality and their circumstances.
Here are the five steps you’ll need to take to create your buyer persona.
1. Get personal.
Plan on getting to know your customers on a personal level. You will need to take some time to know who they are by asking them questions about themselves – what they like, what they do. You might ask about:
- their background
- their daily activities
- their goals and aspirations
- their problems
- how to reach them
- the kind of languages they use
- the kind of images and information appeals to them
- the kind of multimedia they use
You will try to understand their daily activities and routines to see where your business fit into their life. You don’t need to learn every detail, just look at whatever is helpful as you create your persona, specifically as it relates to your business.
Come up with a list of questions you think are relevant.
2. Do some initial social research.
Read existing publications and industry blogs related to your market segment. Browse social networking sites and forums that your target market uses. Start to understand what they are interested in.
Collect data on how people navigate through your site. This information may illustrate situations that best suit them or things they are most interested in.
3. Create a preliminary customer profile.
Look at your initial customer data and group common characteristics as they relate to your business. Gender, age, education level, marital status, occupation, income level, hobbies, or any other information that makes sense.
Analyze the information and write a “draft” profile, or short biography, for each different type of customer that fits into your preliminary groups. Try to describe a person who best represents the most common characteristics and needs of the group.
An example might help illustrate. Here are three typical coffee shop customers:
“Working Mom Wendy” is a single mom with a good career as a physician’s assistant at a walk-in medical clinic. She drives her two kids to school on the way to work. Because her time is limited, Wendy buys her morning coffee at a coffee shop along her route. Sometimes she gets a wholesome snack for breakfast if she didn’t have time to make it at home. She’s practical and clips coupons and uses loyalty cards.
“Businessman Bill” frequently meets with clients outside the workplace. He prefers a place where its easy locating a comfortable seat, and isn’t too noisy to have a good conversation with business associates. Bill sometimes works at the shop before or after his meeting, so the availability of a reliable Internet connection is important.
“Student Sally” goes to the local university on full scholarship. She prefers places where she and her friends can go to have a snack, and talk or do some studying. She prefers a place with a good ambiance, comfortable atmosphere and has a reputation as being trendy. Her group of friends enjoys social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, and regularly participate on these sites via laptop as well as smart phones.
4. Ask questions and encourage feedback.
Talk to your customers as well as people who are not your customers. You should do this regularly. Talking with non-customers can provide some very valuable information, as this is a fairly large group. You may determine that many of them are in your target audience.
Ask real people real questions. Dig deeper if the answer is vague or general. Answers such as “it’s too expensive” or “I prefer a different one” are very general. Dig deeper until you understand exactly what the issue is. If it’s too expensive, what do they consider a more reasonable price? If they prefer a different one, why? What traits are they comparing.
You can get customer feedback by talking with them in your location, surveying them by phone, or meeting them at conferences or tradeshows. Get into conversations with people who personify your core customers. Try not to talk, unless you are asking a question. Just listen to what they have to say. You can even take notes – this makes it clear to the person that you really are interested, and they’ll be more likely to open up. If you don’t have a notepad handy, go write it down as soon as you can.
5. Analyze and act.
Back to our coffee shop example, we might find out that “Working-Mom Wendy” wants a coffee shop with reasonably priced healthy snacks, a drive-through, coupons, and a preferred customer program. “Businessman Bill” wants comfortable seating and and Internet connection, preferably free. “Student Sally” wants some freshly baked snacks and new drinks that suits her lifestyle and student budget. Do you offer these experiences? If not, think about how to add them.
Your marketing strategy can target the specific problems and issues experienced by your customers using these buyer personas. It is important that you understand their preferences and concerns to create a marketing message that your buyers will connect with. The best way to do this is to get to know them as real people.
Defining buyer personas is not an end result, it’s a process. It should be regularly evaluated to insure you stay on top of changing trends and demographics. The most important lesson learned from the initial creation process is the realization that it’s within your reach to gain a deep understanding of how your customers act, think, and feel. Use this knowledge to refine and improve your marketing so it truly resonates with your buyers.
Lisa Pecunia is the Chief E-Marketing Officer at Avarra Solutions, a company she founded in 2008. She is a 25-year veteran of the study of how users interact with computers and software.
Avarra Solutions helps small businesses understand how internet marketing can help their business. They are unique in their focus on finding the right combination of online marketing channels that make the most sense for the businesses products, customers, and resources.
Avarra delivers quality intensive workshops in the Northern Virginia region, during which participants plan and build a complete e-marketing program for their business.
www.EmarketingConnection.com is Avarra’s newest membership site. It provides its members with training, tutorials, resources, tools, and a community in which to develop their Internet Marketing programs effectively.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Lisa_Pecunia