In today’s world of digital marketing, the need to connect with your audience is absolute. You cannot simply blast out generic or broad content anymore. The competition is fierce, and the stakes are high. Your audience is composed of people with opinions, preferences, desires, and hopes that guide their brand choices.
Understanding what makes them tick is best accomplished by creating a buyer persona. This is essentially a fictional person, or people, who represents the type of customers best suited for your offering.
The main goal is to identify their specific needs and know them in a way that helps you engage and create value in a unique and relevant way. The most successful marketing always addresses the needs of the buyer.
Understanding Your Buyer
Here are three reasons why a strong understanding of your audience is important:
1. Create personalized content.
Consumers are often faced with marketing that feels like it was pitched to the world and not to them specifically. Knowing the needs and struggles of your audience will allow you to create and cater to them. This kind of personal approach makes them feel valued from the get-go.
2. Attract the right people.
Trying to pitch your product to someone outside of your audience or your demographic is a complete waste of time. If they’re not interested or in need of your offering, no amount of marketing is going to change that fact. Knowing your audience allows you to focus efforts on the right people.
3. Stand out from the crowd.
Taking the time to create high-quality, valuable content for your audience is a gesture that too many marketers fail to achieve. The extra effort and understanding will help you develop content that is focused and fluff-free.
Craft the Ideal Buyer Persona
The purpose of creating a customer persona is to understand the types of people who are interested in your product. It asks the big questions that define the “hows” and the “whys” around their motivations.
One way to do this, is through customer feedback. You can utilize this information to find out what your customers want and need from your product. This is the basis of understanding your audience. Today we’ll dive much, much deeper.
When you’ve finished building a persona, you should understand the minds of your customers and how your product positively benefit their lives. Start with a three step process to build the perfect customer persona.
Step 1: Create a description of ideal buyers.
Start by picturing your best possible customer in a broad sense. Don’t worry about things like demographics or personal information, just imagine what they do and what’s important to them in regards to your product or service.
Let’s assume I am creating a couple of profiles for ideal customers for a website that teaches people how to create a blog. Let’s take a look at two ideal customers for a site like this one:
Entrepreneur Edward: Alright, so let’s start with Edward. He’s an ambitious guy, but he’s stuck at a desk job. He has all these ideas for products and services that he thinks people would want to buy, but he doesn’t have the means to market himself or his ideas. He wants to find a way to create a website where he can connect with customers and grow a business.
Casual Christina Christina is a stay at home mom with two kids who has a passion for cooking. Her husband has a great job, but she wants something to do with her time, and she wants to share her recipes with the world. She’s looking for a site that can help a beginner like her understand how blogging works and how she can make a food blog of her own.
This basic information helps someone like me understand how to approach and assist these types of people in this audience. Knowing who they are and what goals they have helps me create content that answers their questions and addresses their needs.
2. Step 2: Identify specific goals and desires.
Now that we have a basic persona in place, the next step is to start asking specific questions that help us expand on what we know. These questions can be answered through research in a few key areas:
In regards to interviews, this is a great way to speak with one of your customers first-hand. Think of it like a survey, but a little more detailed. Reach out to them and ask if they would be willing to answer a few questions about your product and their experience. Ask questions such as:
What specific problem or issue were you trying to resolve with our product/service?
What was the biggest obstacle or hesitation that kept you from buying right away?
How did you find out about us?
In regards to the first question, take note of the specific language they use. This will reveal their thought process and provide you with the reasons they felt your product or service would be ideal for them.
Let’s say Edward is most concerned about making sure people visit his blog. For this need, I would market content on increasing site traffic and promoting blog content for customers like him, so they have actionable steps to increase their exposure.
Looking at the second question, take note of what they thought was going to stop them from buying your product. Let’s say Christina was worried about the process of purchasing a domain and thinks finding a web host would be difficult. I would create content and sales copy for this aspect of the audience that assured them the process would be fast and provide them with a time estimate.
The last question helps you find out where they discovered you, which leads into our final step.
3. Step 3: Meet customers where they are.
The final step in creating a buyer persona is to find out where your audience tends to “hang out”, if you will, on the web. This usually involves social media, but with so many platforms to choose from, you can’t be present on all of them.
Instead, use web analytics tools like Google Analytics to see where your traffic originates. Someone like Edward will most likely find out about this content on a professional site like LinkedIn, while Christina may seek out other food bloggers on Facebook or Pinterest.
Once you’ve discovered where your various personas are on the web, reaching them is a simple as creating content that appeals to their needs and desires, then promoting it on the right platforms. Since you won’t have hundreds of personas, try dividing your content into two categories:
High Level Content: This content is broader and appeals to a wider audience in your niche. For me this would be something like ’15 Mistakes Rookie Bloggers Make’.
Persona Content: This content is developed and marketed toward specific buyers. In our case that would be people looking to make money blogging, or someone looking to start a food blog, for example.
These three steps will help you build a detailed view of the people who engage with your brand. Knowing your audience like this is key to building a successful marketing strategy that appeals to the right people and addresses their needs.
What marketing tips would you offer? How do you identify the key members of your audience? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
This article has been edited and condensed.