Have you ever tried reaching a destination with your eyes closed?
It’s not scary. But it sure is uncomfortable and confusing. Possibly you get anxious for maybe not being on the right track.
It’s the same feeling you get, when you own a business but have no knowledge of your end customers. You try this, and that, and another thing… but you know you are just shooting in the dark. We get that. Each startup has been through that same process. Even us.
What is a buyer persona?
’Buyer persona’ is seemingly boring term. But don’t let that fool you. The truth is it sets the foundations of effective marketing.
Such persona would embody the image of the most suitable customer for your business. The catch is that such image is not 100% real. It combines your assumptions about your ideal customer and the actual data you have based on your business experience.
The buyer’s persona profile owns the answer to one very simple but quite challenging question:
Who is my end customer?
Of course, that question is a bomb in the sea of thoughts. First there’s an explosion and then comes the flood. That is precisely why, with the following paragraphs, we will help you answer that fundamental question.
Why do we need to build a profile of our customers?
Because that will help you understand them and offer them what they need. And you will be able to do that in the way they expect you to. You will no longer go back and forth among the thousands of methods for attracting customers.
You will already know what they like, how they want to be ‘courted’ as customers and why do they choose your products/services.
And one more thing – these profiled descriptions will help you turn your current and future customers into loyal defenders of your brand.
Which are the most significant questions we need to ask ourselves?
The question ‘Who are my customers?’ is too general. Also, it often leads to quick thinking, followed by: ‘Well, no idea.’
That’s why we will build the answer step by step, with several auxiliary questions.
What are the demographics of my customer?
Think about what percentage of your customers are men and what – women. Is your business influenced by the gender of your customers or is it more universal? For example, if you distribute or sell cosmetics, women will certainly dominate as a consumer group.
- Age group.
Who is more likely to buy from you? 16 year old teenager, 27 year old young lady, or an old bachelor? Think about a range, not specific numbers. That will give you direction on how to communicate with your customers:
- More conservatively.
- More formally.
- More friendly.
- More funnily.
- And etc.
- Marital status.
Sometimes the marital status of our customers is relevant to our services. If we sell children’s clothing or toys, we would naturally target their parents (happily married or divorced). If we are trading with luxury jewels, we will most likely have several different customer profiles:
- Men who want to win over the woman they like.
- Women who want to surprise their man for his birthday.
- A couple about to get married.
- And many more!
An example for a buyer persona for a luxury furniture store
Are your customers limited to the location of your physical store, or do you sell online without limitations? From which city/country are most of your customers? That will give you an idea of what to emphasize in your marketing strategy.
- Education and occupation.
An important element, empowered by information about the nature, ambitions and opportunities of your customer. If the customer is a highly educated manager, you can assume he is disciplined, tenacious, proactive and knows what he wants (from life and most likely from the products/services he uses).
Be analytical about the products/services you offer!
That is probably the most delicate but also important element of your buyer’s persona image. The Bulgarian market is price sensitive and very often customers’ choices depend on the price they see. That is why it is important to know the approximate amount of your customers income in order to present products/services in the best possible way.
What are my current and potential customers interested in?
Think about their interests. What do they like doing in their free time? What places do they visit? Do they prefer to stay at home surfing the web as a favourite pastime? Or do they use each minute to meet with friends and make new contacts?
What are their hobbies? What makes them feel good? What people do they prefer to interact with?
Those are questions which don’t seem to have any relation to your products/services. But they are important in order to view the behavior of your customers. That way you will be able to appear in their everyday lives in the most inspiring way possible – without being annoying or displeasing.
An example of a target persona for women’s online fashion store
What do they need as customers?
Why would a customer buy from you? What do they want to get and what do they hope for?
It is very important to clarify for yourself the needs and desires of your customers. They are the key to improving your services. If, for example, you are offering food supplements, it will be useful to you if you know what your customers prefer:
- Do they want organic ingredients instead of ingredients with quick and instantaneous effect?
- Do they use them more as preventive measures, or in a combination with a prescribed treatment?
- Would they invest more, if they are convinced the supplement would help them or not?
What is troubling them as consumers?
Each consumer has their own needs. But there are things that trouble them. These are all the concerns that come with every choice of a product/service. Most often they are related to the price, quality, service, and even with the brand’s image.
Write down all reasons that would make a customer think twice before buying from you. How would you clear away such concerns?
Last, but not least…
From here on, make sure you are aware of what is your competitive advantage. Having the most important information about your consumers, you can now present your services according to their expectations and preferences.
And remember: That semi-real persona builds the image of the customer that is most suitable for your business – regardless of whether you have already met them, or not.