Some businesses succeed because they catch lightning in a bottle. The fortunate few find themselves in a convergence of productive circumstances that they could not have manufactured.
Remember the wild, unpredictable experience that was the year 2020? Many people suffered significantly during that season.
Others didn’t. The hot tub industry exploded. It saw a 400% increase in 2020!
This is exceedingly rare. It can’t be planned.
If you don’t have a strategy for whom your brand will best connect with, then you won’t know how to most effectively communicate with them.
If you are a solopreneur, you can get away with trying different methods to see what sticks. But you’ll waste valuable resources.
For those who are responsible for teams of people, though, your messaging needs a clear, focused direction. If not, you will not only be ineffective, but you’ll also frustrate your team.
If you don’t create and keep a current buyer persona, you will diffuse energy, confuse your team and audience, and lose customers.
What is a Buyer Persona?
HubSpot defines a buyer persona as
“…a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer. It’s based on market research, actual data about your existing customers, and a few (educated) assumptions. It helps you to understand and relate to an audience that you want to market your products and services.”
You need to focus on two key phrases: “deep research” and “desired” audience.
A Quality Buyer Persona Requires Deep Market Research
You may have an intuitive understanding of your client base. That probably impacted why you got into the business.
There was a problem to solve or an opportunity to capitalize on – and build a viable business. Hopefully, both merge with an area of your passion so that you thrive by using your gifts and talents to help people on their journey.
If you want your brand to better serve others, you need to invest the necessary energy to get to know them.
Amy Harrison, a marketing expert, has said that the biggest problem the vast majority of her clients face is this:
“We talk too much about our company and our products. We don’t talk enough about our customers and what they’re going through.”
When you do the work of creating a buyer persona, you immerse yourself in the world of your customer. This will help you get to know them, and more importantly, it should help you care about them.
A Buyer Persona Helps You Speak the Language of Your Desired Audience
Restaurants and shops often have sandwich board signs outside of them. They highlight specials, share inspirational quotes, and more.
One ice cream shop wrote this on their sign:
“Don’t ask about the nutritional value. You’re getting ice cream!”
Clearly, this business was not trying to compete with the gym down the street. They knew whom they were speaking to – and who they were not.
Developing a negative buyer persona helps you focus your limited resources in the most efficient and effective direction.
How Do You Create a Buyer Persona?
There isn’t one “right way” to create a buyer persona. But there are some key elements you’ll need to consider.
HubSpot provides excellent direction, including worksheets you can download and fill out. Here are some of the highlights:
- What is their profession?
- What does a typical day in their life look like?
- Where do they go for information?
- How do they prefer to obtain goods and services?
- What do they value most?
- What are their goals?
Typically, we encourage clients to consider a bit more than this. When developing a buyer persona, you may want to also process these questions:
- What are their general demographics? Age, gender identification, income, geographic location.
- What do they fear/want to avoid?
- What transformation do they seek in their lives?
- How can your brand empower people to help solve their problems?
Asking these questions, and more is a lot to take on. But it adds so much value to your brand. Here are five surprising ways a buyer persona will bolster your business.
1: A Buyer Persona Maximizes Marketing Resources
Some brands are conducive to self-marketing. Clients will almost certainly do some of the marketing for you.
Hosting an Airbnb comes to mind. People love to share pictures of their vacations. If you stayed at an outstanding vacation rental, don’t you want to let your friends and family know about it?
Wouldn’t it be silly for hosts not to leverage social media and hashtags to encourage their guests to post?
But only some brands are positioned in this way. Customer reviews are always a confidence builder for potential clients. There’s a difference, though, between a client freely and happily bragging on what you’ve provided and needing to request a review.
Working within a well-defined buyer persona will guide you on how best to direct your marketing efforts.
If your market is not one where clients do the marketing for you, then knowing where your potential clients shop is essential.
Not long ago, advertising at a movie theater was a smart decision. Today, even major filmmakers like James Cameron question whether anyone will go to a theater to enjoy a blockbuster.
At the same time, streaming platforms like Netflix are adding advertising to their pricing tiers.
Knowing WHO your customer is, WHAT they want from your brand, and WHERE they will look for it – will maximize the varied resources you need to invest in growing your brand.
2: A Buyer Persona Positions Your Brand to Scale
What do you need to scale your business? A lot. But don’t overlook the importance of a well-defined buyer persona.
This will let you grab the “low-hanging fruit” and climb the tree. As you learn more about your target audience, you will learn how to increase sales.
Let’s go back to the Airbnb host example. The low-hanging fruit would be capitalizing on the inherent strength of social media.
A second step could be sweetening the deal for guests by striking partnerships with local restaurants that offer a discount for people who stay at your location.
Knowing whom you want to stay at your property will inform what restaurants to partner with.
Families on vacation are going to look for something very different than people on a fishing trip.
Further, as your business scales, you will likely need to hire more people. Even if that means enlisting independent contractors.
If your brand identity is clear and your target audience is clearly defined, you will be more likely to draw the right partners to your team.
3: Create Alignment with a Clear Buyer Persona
Zig Ziglar once said, “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” If you have multiple people working to market on various channels, they need to know what they are aiming for.
The content and graphics of a message must work in concert with the medium it’s communicated on. Both must faithfully represent your brand while speaking a language your target audience can hear.
This level of cohesion will not happen by accident. And if it does not happen, so much energy is diffused. Teams get frustrated. Efforts are frittered away.
The flip side is also true. With a clear buyer persona on your side, people from many different backgrounds can work together to create a harmonious whole.
It’s hard to overstate the momentum created when a team pulls together, everyone offering their unique strengths and talents to create something better together than any one person could on their own.
4: Set Up Sustained Success by Sticking to Your Buyer Persona
You will need to update your buyer persona regularly. How often depends on what you offer.
If your brand aims to serve preschool-aged parents, you must stay on top of trends. The tools parents will utilize in 2023 are far different from those used in 2013.
Do you plan to stay in business for a decade or longer?
If so, you need to be prepared to pivot. Parents of preschool-aged kids will rely on different tools in 2033 than they do today.
Your buyer persona will help you stay on point as your client base shifts. You will be empowered to continually ask: “how can we best serve our clients today?” Instead of asking, “what worked before?”
5: A Buyer Persona Positions Your Brand to Serve Others as Best You Can
“Treat others as you would want to be treated.”
When navigating complex decisions, it’s tough to improve on the Gold Rule as a guide.
A buyer persona will help you know how you can best serve your clients. And that makes good business!
Does your product require tutorials? If so, should you create a video, write a how-to, or have a customer service line available for people to call?
Your buyer persona will lead you in how to best answer that question.
This will have cascading benefits throughout your business. Can you imagine what your workplace culture would feel like if everyone pulled together to ask, “what’s best for our client?”
Not only can this help foster a healthier workplace, but it will undoubtedly help your bottom line. As you get to know your customer more fully, specifically, you will be able to better help them on their journey.
And that will improve your brand’s quality – and culture.
We’re Here to Help Guide You on Your Journey
There’s a lot to digest here. We get it. For over 15 years, we’ve been helping clients develop buyer personas and more.
We’re not experts in every industry or market. But we love helping people discover how to better communicate with and serve their desired audience.
From cleaning companies to video production companies, from solopreneurs to nationwide businesses, we’ve worked with many to create buyer personas and more.
We can help you too.
If you’re ready to have a conversation, we’re available for a free 30-minute consultation. Reach out today!
We’re here to help you help others on their journey.