Five ways to improve your buyer personas

By Ryan Smith on May 10, 2018

Personas will help you understand your customer.

TV and radio celebrity Chris Evans might divide opinion, but one thing is in no doubt – he knows how to attract a radio audience. Listener figures for his BBC Radio 2 breakfast show have risen to around nine million per week in the years since he took over the slot from Terry Wogan.

Core to that success is a golden rule of broadcasting understood by Evans and other successful radio presenters. This is to forget about nine million listeners but instead to talk to individuals. The 40-year-old male executive stuck in rush hour traffic, the 30-year-old parent doing the school run, the 70-year-old retiree going through the morning routine or the 50-year-old car mechanic with the radio playing in the workshop.

The same principle applies to generating leads, buying IFA leads, and growing your business. For instance, it is one thing to look on Google Analytics or Ahrefs and see your site is getting organic traffic in the thousands. But people do not sit in large groups around a computer screen any more than they do around a radio set. Your sales need to be targeted at the individual buyer, and to pitch just right, you need to know that individual perfectly.

This is where personas come in.

Your buyer personas are more than just your target customers. They are your idealised customers. These are exactly the people your product or service is aimed at. Understand them, speak to them, and your marketing campaign stand a great chance of reaping rewards.

Let’s take a look at five ways of improving your buyer personas.

1) Think like the customer

We can all be a little biased when it comes to our business, and it’s easy to let that bias slip into our marketing thinking. You can find yourself overstating either the customer’s need for the product or the power of what you are providing to meet his or her need.

So how can you stay objective and keep your personas realistic?

The simplest way is to “test” your personas against real life. Do they reflect genuine buyer profiles and experiences? Would your customers look at the personas and see themselves looking back?

Seek opinions from those at the coalface. Do your sales team agree that these personas are the people they deal with every day?

2) You might need more than you think

Don’t paint yourself into a corner by simply writing for one or two personas. In the radio example earlier, we immediately reeled off four examples, and we could easily come up with half a dozen more.

The idea is to zero in on those idealised customers as much as possible, so the more detail the better, and that means more personas.

Remember, this is the age of personalised, targeted marketing and there is an enormous difference between being spoken to on a relevant, personal level and being bombarded with generic advertising.

3) Make them real people

Consider the following two statements:

  • Our target customer is female, aged 25-35, university-educated, professional with disposable income.
  • Helen is 29 and works in a junior executive role. Professionally ambitious, she follows a “work hard, play hard” ethos and has a passion for travel.

“Helen” is still somewhat generic, but with just with those two sentences, she is starting to come into focus.

Next, we might talk about whether she owns or rents her property, is she in a relationship, does she go to a gym, whether she likes home cooking or eating out.

Most important of all, what prompts Helen to buy your service?

4) Technographics + demographics = great profiles

Understanding who your customers are and what they want is great.

Technographics represents the final piece of the jigsaw, as it tells you how they interact with you in a visual format. Creating great written personas is fantastic, but if the Helen we described above spends more time on Twitter than anywhere else, or her outreach tends to be via live chat, then you need to know about it.

Use informative but accessible infographics to visually capture this information, because it will resonate with your management and staff before they try to generate more leads and grow your business.

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