uyer personas are a sure-fire way of attracting more leads to your small business. Join me as we learn how to create this for your business step-by-step and take a look at some typical buyer persona examples.
In its simplest terms, a buyer persona is a fictional (and sometimes visual representation) of your ideal client or customer, based on audience data and research. They are also sometimes known as ideal client avatars (ICA) or customer segments.
They help you narrow down your target market, ensuring that you are putting your ideal client at the forefront of every business decision. This includes tailoring your content, messaging, product development and services accordingly to meet their needs, pain points and behaviours.
When we do this, we are inviting our audience to become a part of a loyal and highly engaged tribe. A tribe who are totally in love with your brand, not just your services or products. And as a business owner, I can tell you this is something that you definitely want to prioritise!
By focusing on who your ideal customer is, it becomes much easier to craft your core marketing message. And from experience, it does pay to have a loyal group of customers who you know will consistently be there to engage with and promote your business. After all, brand advocacy is the holy grail of marketing.
If you’re getting to a point in your business where people are actively recommending you, and referring new clients, it’s an absolute dream milestone to hit. It’s not a metric that you can always easily measure, but it’s one I would argue sits at the very top of the pyramid.
It’s important to remember that we want to aim for quality, engaged followers and customers – not necessarily mass numbers. Focusing on vanity metrics can often result in a disappointing outcome for a business owner. I also believe that niching down your audience hyper-specifically doesn’t always equal guaranteed business success. So, I would invite you to look into buyer personas with an open mind.
You might find that your business has one, two or even four buyer personas. We actually have four at Ebb, Flow & Grow which are rooted around the four key development stages that small business owners go through.
Now, the key thing here is not to obsess too much over who these people actually are. If you really want to, you can give them a name and a profile photo but this isn’t an essential step, despite what other coaches or strategists may tell you.
Whilst visualising can be helpful, we also don’t want to obsess over imaginary people. Buyer personas, or whatever you wish to label them, can be influenced by the following three core elements:
Consider the sales funnel (awareness, consideration, purchasing, loyalty and advocacy) and what stage they’re at in taking a decision to work with or buy from you. Consider life and business stages too – all of these things might influence who your target audience is and how they engage with a brand. For example, are they a soon-to-be mum, a new mum, a mum of twins, a mum already?
Buyer personas can easily turn into something we fixate on as entrepreneurs. You may find more synergy within things such as psychographics and the buyer cycle stages, versus demographics.
This is very prevalent for us at EF&G where demographics are largely irrelevant for us. We’re more interested in working with gentle, soulful and creative humans than worrying about what car you drive.
Some additional key things to ask yourself when creating your buyer personas include the following:
Your answers will become a lot clearer once you actually start operating and you have an audience to poll and analyse. It’s especially important that you don’t just try and estimate the characteristics of your audience.
Use tools such as Google Analytics or social media metrics to find out more about your current audience or trend research tools like YouGov UK, Google Trends or Answer The Public.
Or, why not consider conducting client or customer interviews? Talking directly to the people you’re looking to work with is a straightforward way of getting valuable and actionable data. Buyer personas are purely fictional and I would encourage you to be cautious about making too many presumptions about who this person is. I see this happen a lot and we should really base decisions on facts, rather than assumptions.
Do you already have audience profiles set up for your small business? If so, it’s still good to check in with them occasionally to see if any of their behaviours have changed as your business evolves.
This is an example that we created for a marketing client in hospitality. It discusses the individual’s background (demographics), interests and hobbies and how they consume social media. As we were creating social media marketing content, analysing this side of the customer was much more relevant than if we were going to target a group who don’t use social media.
© Copyright Survey Monkey
Here we have an example from Survey Monkey which offers a hybrid approach. It gives us a simple set of bullet points listing their target customer’s demographics but also gives us a visual identity and a little more about the person underneath.
We learn about their hobbies and what they are passionate about as well as their level of education and where they live, which can be relevant for things such as tone of voice, or which location you wish to target for paid advertisements.
In this example from Hubspot, we learn the customer’s key challenges and goals. For this persona, they write exactly how they can help with their target customer’s pain points from the perspective of an animal shelter. Knowing information such as their background and key identifiers, they can learn how they might speak the language of their potential customer and how to connect with them.
© Copyright Hubspot
One final thought I’d like to leave you with is: remember that whilst having your ideal customer nailed is incredibly important for business growth, it’s also something that I believe has been overly scrutinised.
Don’t get me wrong, it can be super beneficial to have a focused buyer persona and niche, but it’s also not essential for every type of business. If yours is more of a general list, that’s perfectly OK too!
Focus on holistic business growth first and foremost, and how you can best serve your customers, whilst operating in a way that feels intuitive to you.
If you’d like to share your ideas around your own buyer personas feel free to reach out via Instagram for a chat at @ebbflowandgrow. My DMs are always open to those in need of support. Alternatively, you can send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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