Meaningful conversations lead to meaningful work. Scratch that - meaningful conversations with the right people lead to meaningful work. You can talk all day to a rock and it won’t get you anywhere (except maybe the crazy house). So, what makes a conversation meaningful? How do you make sure you’re talking to ideal clients and not rocks? How do you provide them with helpful information instead of annoying them to tears? Let’s dive in.
Creating powerful buyer personas doesn’t only shape your marketing strategy, but if utilized correctly, buyer personas can change the way you do business. Consider this your guide to building detailed buyer personas that drive meaningful conversations that lead to meaningful sales.
WHAT: What’s a Persona?
A buyer persona (aka ideal client persona, aka avatar) is a representation of your ideal customer. Don’t get this confused with basic demographics or a target audience. Personas are semi-fictional characters with stories based on detailed research of your actual customers. Unlike simple demographic information, buyer personas look deeper at your target audience to uncover the needs and wants of your most ideal buyer.
Let’s do that over with different words: Who is your unicorn? If someone were to waltz in your front door to give your business, who would make you do a double take? Your unicorn isn’t just any client, it’s the most ideal customer you can imagine.
WHY: The Power of the Persona
Buyer personas reflect your best customer relationships – relationships that generate the most revenue over the longest period and sustain a partnership where you can create your best work. Think about your best customers. How do they communicate? What are their persistent and emerging challenges? How can your services provide meaningful solutions they can understand and value? Now, it’s totally possible that you don’t have an ideal client yet. Don’t panic! Just think about who can provide you with the opportunity to do your best work? These are the clients that you are trying to understand when creating your personas.
Let’s go back and flip-flop that first scenario really quick. Have you ever been in a conversation that could have been meaningful, except the person you’re talking with won’t stop yammering about something that’s of no interest to you? Not much better than the conversation with the rock, is it? To create content that is meaningful, you must first know who you’re creating the content for. That’s why at Little Bird, before we ever begin brainstorming content ideas, we spend a good amount of time defining ideal buyer personas.
The value of buyer personas exceeds marketing. Their purpose can and should be utilized across your entire organization. Sales departments can use them to focus on training and learn how to best sell to qualified leads. Management can use them to decide which industry events to attend. It even benefits new hires during onboarding to better help them understand the clients that they will soon be working with. Lastly, they are an integral part of creating and maintaining a customer-centric organization.
By orienting your team around your ideal persona, you assure that your entire organization is working together to reach the right client and serve them well.
With good personas, your organization will have insights into questions like:
- What pains are you solving for your clients?
- What form of content is meaningful to your ideal client?
- How do your potential clients want to engage with you?
HOW: Understanding Your Ideal Client
Whether you’re presenting at an industry event, posting on social media or developing a downloadable resource, these tips can be used to reach your persona in a meaningful way:
Stop Focusing on the Outliers
The minute I start talking about buyer personas and knowing your audience, there’s always at least one person who chimes in with, “But, I have this one client that ___________.” You can fill in the blank, but some of my favorites include “…is allergic to electricity,” and “…doesn’t know the difference between a rumba and a tango.”
When it comes to personas, don’t let your outliers be your disqualifiers. While they may exist, they aren’t going to be the bulk of your work. When you’re building personas and crafting content to reach them, don’t let the outliers stress you out. Get focused on where you can reach the most people in the most meaningful way.
Ask the Right QuestionsIn order to get the information you need to understand your persona(s), you need to ask the right questions. While you can start with the basic, “Walk me through a day in their life,” you need to push beyond that. Consider the first things they do when they wake up, where they are going to get lunch, and what they plan to do after leaving the office.
It doesn’t stop there. Really try to get inside your customers’ minds. What are they thinking about when lying in bed at night? What are their greatest personal life challenges? What achievements make them most proud?
No matter what industry, there are obvious questions that need to be answered and other important questions that will bring your personas to life. Start with the basic info and work your way into questions that will offer you more insight into what it’s like to be the customer.
Truthfully, you need a mix of both general and open-ended questions. The general questions get you basic information that is fundamental to understanding your customers. The open-ended questions will offer the information you need to understand and create a story for your buyer personas.
Here’s our go-to list:
- Who do they answer to at work?
- Who are they trying to impress?
- What does a day in their life look like?
- How do they source their news?
- What keeps them up on Sunday night?
- What gets them up on Monday morning?
- How do they measure success?
- Where are their eyeballs most of the day?
- Who are they most likely to ask for help from?
- What are they afraid to admit?
The Perfect Persona
Meet Marketing Mathew – he’s a sample of what a completed persona would look like. Notice the details, name and narrative.
You’ve heard it said, “Always Be Closing.” It’s the ABC’s of sales. I prefer ABH - Always Be Helping. More than a marketing agency, at Little Bird Marketing, I like to say that we’re a sleep improvement agency. If our clients can sleep easier at night knowing that their marketing problems are being solved, we’ve done our job. Our due diligence truly attracting the RIGHT client means the relationship is that much smoother as we partner for mutual success.
With a well-crafted persona (or three) in hand, your content and business will be structured around solving problems for people who are excited to have you on their side! Your new mantra before you create anything, “Is this helpful?”
Now it’s your turn!
For more on how to build buyer personas from scratch or effectively implement the ones you’ve already created, download our free guide to creating the perfect persona.