Helping Small Businesses Grow
Do you know how people are finding you online? Who is most likely to have a problem that you can solve? Understanding these questions requires creating an image of your target prospect. This is called buyer persona generation. You will need this if you are looking to catch the right leads and turn them into customers.
What Is a Buyer Persona?
I’ve worked at large companies and small, tech savvy and tech defective, those with efficient processes and those that have no idea what they were doing. Regardless of how well run a company is, if they don’t understand their customers, they won’t be getting the type of leads that convert into sales.
Buyer personas are important because they get to the bones of an organisation. They let you know:
- Who you are targeting
- What their main problem is
- Where and how they are looking for information
- What your messaging should be to them
The reason I say that a buyer persona is the ‘bones of an organisation’ is because before you ever come up with a product or a service that you need marketing for, you have to understand whether there is a market.
However, although many companies do this at a surface level, they never dive deep into the analytics of it all and find out exactly what their main audience looks like and what are the main problems they are trying to solve.
This information helps marketing and sales narrow their targets, their messaging and the unique value proposition of your product so that they can be more effective at:
- Finding the prospect
- Understanding the prospect
- Getting them to chose you
A buyer persona is therefore, a complete analytical assessment of your ideal customer, and by ideal I mean the customer who is most likely to sign-up, purchase and use your product or service, because it fundamentally solves a problem that they need.
Why Do You Need Buyer Personas?
A buyer persona looks beyond your product or service, cuts through business jargon and identifies:
- Their problem
- Your value
By identifying these two things, you will be able to have better prospect targeting, better first conversations and get to the very core of what prospects want and why they need what you are selling.
It also connects your marketing and sales together and gets them on the same page – which is super important if you are looking to create an efficient sales process where leads are identified, contacted and nurtured until they are turned into customers.
This, in turn, establishes a clear pathway designed to help you discover:
- Who you talk to
- How you talk to them
- At what stage of the buying process the prospect is in
- How you can align marketing and sales goals and actions
- How you can create clearer messaging
What is involved in Buyer Persona identification?
Before you build a buyer persona for your business, you have to start at the very beginning, with a little thing called research.
Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet that will help you nail down who your perfect prospect is on day one but our company provides buyer persona creation as part of our service. If you want to do it yourself however, there are a few critical activities that will help you to understand who your ideal buyer persona is:
Finding Your Buyer Persona
Regardless of whether you are at a big company or a small one, you need to speak to sales. This should always be your first step in understanding who your ideal buyer persona is.
Your sales person or people talk to different people all day long. They can identify the conversations that were receptive and the ones that were not. They can explain the most common pain points of your prospects and your existing customers.
Now, if you do all the sales yourself, that’s great. You should already be able to answer those questions and if you sell through e-commerce, try asking those who have bought your products/services in the past these questions:
- “What led you to us?”
- “What were you searching for when you found us?”
- “What problem were you trying to solve?”
- “What attracted you to us/made you buy from us?”
If you can answer these questions, you will be able to understand what your ideal customer looks like.
How To Generate Buyer Personas
Analyse your internal sales information:
- If you capture your lead or sales information somewhere then you will have the ability of either contacting prospects or customers for this information, or you may be able to find trends without it.
- If you don’t already have it, try creating landing pages that ask optional questions such as ‘what problem are you trying to solve’ in order to diagnose trends.
Analyse your existing sales material:
- You may already have a proven formula that works when it comes to contacting prospects or nurturing them to the point of purchase. But do you know why that is successful? Most businesses never stop to ask why they do what they do. They find something that works and they continue to do it.
- When creating a buyer persona, find out what you are already doing that works, and try and figure out why that is working. Is there a specific message that resonates the most? Why do you think that is? And is there a pain point behind that?
- This is perhaps the best way to understand who your buyer persona is. Are you a small business? Identify a larger competitor that runs Google ads campaigns, has a large amount of customer reviews on major review sites or simply find out what kind of keywords their website is ranking for.
- Competitor reviews are made for understanding customers. When a customer has to write a short pros and cons list, they get right to the heart of what they want out of your competitors and what they don’t want.
- This will help you understand what the prospects in your industry are looking for, how good your competitors are at delivering that and how you can tailor your message to reach them in future.
- Remember, there is nothing wrong with copying a competitor (especially is they are more established than you are. Analysing your competitors will help you jump years ahead without making the same mistakes that they did.
Researching lookalike personas:
- Do you already know who your prospects are? And what they do for a living? Try and find them online, try and see if there are interviews with them (this works whether you are in the B2B space and you are trying to find a Head of Marketing – because that’s your persona – or whether you are in the B2C space and you are looking for a woman or man of a certain age and lifestyle).
- One of the oldest tricks in the online marketing playbook and still one of the best.
- Looking for keywords that your competitors are ranking for on Google and identifying keywords in your industry that are directly related to the problems that you solve, will not only help you to understand a prospects path to final purchase.
- It will also help you create content to reach them, rank organically and bring those prospects to your website when they search for specific phrases, bringing them to you, rather than trying to go out and confront them …or even worse, writing content for keywords that your prospects aren’t searching for, which gets you clicks that will never turn into sales.
Following these steps will help you to create buyer personas that add value to your organisation and help you to generate sales.
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