- September 4, 2017
- Posted by: Claire
- Category: Brand Personality, For Small Business Owners, Online Marketing, Target Audience
Because so many businesses lack the understanding of how to get better leads in their marketing and branding activities, most endeavour to “be all things to all people” and so end up with poor under-performing results. Target persona characters obliterate this common mistake.
The simple fact is not all people are interested in what you sell so it’s a waste of time and resources marketing to them.
For instance, company X offers leading edge digital services, so marketing to pensioners is unlikely to get ideal results. Similarly, if you sell bright pink sneakers that light up in the dark and promote them to men age profile 50s – 60s, it’s not going to work very well either.
Admittedly these are extreme examples, but in my experience of working with many different organisations across multiple sectors they’re not as far-fetched as they may seem, believe it or not.
The simple fact of the matter is many SME / SMB businesses don’t have a clear picture of who their ideal customer is, so their marketing efforts fail. Consequently they struggle to get better leads and don’t achieve the results they deserve.
Identifying and mapping out your ideal buyer – aka Purchaser Personas or Target Personas – will help solve this poor customer acquisition problem. Target personas underpin the success level of every brand strategy and marketing activity, but are generally overlooked or neglected entirely, especially by the smaller business or startup.
The success of your brand strategy and marketing initiatives heavily depends on your ability to identify and codify your ideal customers’ profiles. In fact, every business has at least two target personas and can have up to twenty different target personas if it’s a larger business, so getting these identified and mapped out is critical to your business growth and brand success.
In this article I’ll explain why and how so you can apply these strategies to grow your business, transform your brand and increase your sales.
What Are Target Personas?
A Purchaser Persona or Target Persona is a “semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real factual data about your existing customers.”
Image via Referralsaasquatch
Example of a Target Persona
Developing Target Personas helps brand owners, entrepreneurs and marketers tailor their activities to get the best results.
Consider this for a moment: you can only attract and sell effectively to someone if you have an intimate understanding of who they are, their needs, wants, likes, dislikes and aspirations.
It’s only when you have enough insight to get your ideal customers’ attention, keep it and then nurture it, that you can convert them into sales and potential brand advocates too.
Branding is all about conveying messages with meaning that matters to your ideal customers and engaging with this specific group of people on their terms with the ultimate goal of getting them to buy.
Using Target Personas makes the process more effective because you are focusing on the right people, at the right time, in the right place.
Codifying your ideal customer profiles using Purchaser Personas achieves increased profits because of:
- Lower bounce rates = higher search engine ranking = more traffic = higher profits
- Superior customer journey = customer retention = less advertising costs and increased upselling = higher profits
- Improved email marketing response rates = higher engagement levels = increased openness to buying = higher profits
- More engaging and relevant content in brochures, website content, videos, social media posts and other marketing content = higher engagement levels = greater awareness of the brand = word of mouth advertising = higher profits
How To Get Better Leads By Developing Target Personas
Most business owners, entrepreneurs and marketers are able to provide basic details about their ideal buyers, like age, sex, demographics and so on, but the real magic begins when you understand the driving factors behind your ideal target audience.
In a B2B business for example, these are the kinds of questions you’ll need to answer:
- Who are they? Age, gender, income, married, single, interests, hobbies, location
- Describe their personality archetype; demeanour, behaviours, attitude, communications style etc.
- What makes them worry?
- How is their position measured?
- What does a typical day in their lives look like?
- What do they need to know for their job or to achieve their goals/objectives?
- Who are they accountable to or who do they report to and who reports to them?
- What are their biggest challenges in his/her words?
- What are their goals? What do they want to achieve?
- What do they like / dislike?
- Why does he/she have the problems identified?
- What are their most common objections? (relative to your offering)
- Describe how your customer feels when you solve their problems (in their words)
When these questions are answered in reasonable depth you will have a much better understanding of your ideal customer so your marketing strategy can then be tailored in a way that truly speaks to the individuals you are trying to attract.
This video by BrightIdeas explains how to research and create target personas in order to develop more meaningful content which attracts your ideal buyer:
Getting To Know Your Ideal Target Persona So You Can Get Better Leads
Typically the most challenging part about getting better leads using Purchaser Personas is identifying and extracting the information you need to underpin your brand strategy.
Try these options to gather information:
- Interview your customers
- Evaluate your Google Analytics from your website statistics
- Analyse your Facebook Insights or create a Facebook Poll
- Evaluate your Twitter Analytics
- Research online forums in your sector
Take It Deeper: Get an Intimate Understanding Of Your Customer To Get Better Leads
The best way to get to the heart of what really matters to your customers; the information that’s going to be the powerful driver behind getting better leads, is by using an empathy map in conjunction with your Purchaser Personas:
Image via: SolutionsIQ
An empathy map helps to extract intimate understanding about your target audience in terms of what they think, feel, hear, see, say and do.
Here’s how to use an empathy map:
Get your team together, equip each person with Post-It notes, and have them contribute to these questions:
- What do people think or feel when they visit your website or use your products/services?
- What do people see? What to their friends have? What is their environment like? What marketing messages are they exposed to?
- What do people hear about your brand from their friends, influencers and from the media? What do their colleagues, boss, family members and friends say?
- How do they act in public? What’s their appearance like? What do they say and do? Are they influencing others?
- What are some of their problems, challenges, pains, fears, frustrations or the obstacles they face?
- How do they measure success and what do they aspire to? What are the gains in terms of wants, needs satisfied and measures of success in overcoming obstacles?
Personas are so important that Pardot made life size ones out of them to place in their marketing and sales departments so that it would be a constant reminder of who they were trying to sell to.
Image via Pardot
Pardot created life size versions of their buyer personas.
Then there’s also Skytap, a self-service provider of cloud automation solutions who recognized that before they could produce content that truly spoke to the people they were targeting on their website, webinars blog posts, they would need to better understand those same people.
After gaining a more intimate view of their target persona, they launched an improved tailored content marketing strategy, and now provide content that engages the needs and desires of their target audience.
The result was that sales leads increased by 124%, online leads by 97%, and organic search traffic by 55%.
In the next example, you can see exactly how website copy is made more effective by understanding your target audience.
It impacts visual design, calls to action and copy. After conducting buyer persona research and changing their website copy, design and calls to action, they’ve experienced a 20% increase in sales year after year.
Watch what they did and how it impacted their results:
The Numbers: How Do Target Personas Impact ROI?
The best way to demonstrate how buyer personas impact ROI, is with a case study by Boardview. It was found that understanding customers more intimately led to a 20% increase in ROI. Here’s the case study:
A software company got more detailed about their buyer personas, and then conducted A/B variance tests in their email marketing efforts.
They segmented cold and warm leads. The cold leads had not been in contact with the company previously, while the warm leads had.
Based on the persona insights they had recently collected, they changed the content of their email campaign.
Engagement levels were measured by email open rates and clickthrough rates.
After running the campaign, the company found that:
- Adapting email content based on persona insights, increased engagement almost six times more when targeting cold leads (previous engagement was 10% and with more intimate knowledge about their ideal buyer persona, it increased to 58%).
- It is more effective to target cold leads with persona intelligent content than to target warm leads without persona intelligent content. In this case, cold leads outperformed warm lead engagement by 13%.
Image via Boardview
These findings resulted in a 20% increase in the software company’s bottom line.
Questions to consider about how to get better leads…
- When you or your marketing team compiles online content, do you have a clear picture of who you are writing for? Have you segmented your different audience types?
- Have you evaluated and do you understand your buyer personas as much as you understand your closest personal friends?
- In what ways can you get to know more about your customers and what drives them — their needs, problems, likes, dislikes, aspirations and goals?
- In general, what is the typical journey your customers take to buy products or services from you?
- Have you mapped out your customer journey so you can decide how to get better leads?