Buyer Personas –The What, Why and Who
Who are your ideal clients? Seems like a fairly straight forward questions right? I bet most of the people that read this don’t know the answer. Most businesses take the client no matter what but is the client ideal for your business growth and success?
Now I am not suggesting if you own a restaurant that you throw someone out because they’re not what you envisioned a client to be. This isn’t really meant for brick and mortar shops that rely heavily on foot traffic. What I am suggesting is if you’re in a service business, or you are using digital marketing in some shape or form, that you need to identify who it is you want to target.
Here’s an example to help you understand what I mean. I was asked to create a proposal for a potential client. The client had very specific requests when it came to marketing channels and methods. After some research I came back with a plan and a quote. The gentlemen balked at the quote so I asked what he would be comfortable with as far as a monthly marketing campaign fee suggesting that maybe we could streamline the approach to fit his budget. His suggestion was 5% of my original quote. This client is not my ideal client.
Now this potential client was given my card at a networking event and ended up calling me months later to get some information and eventually ask for a proposal. I did not use my own marketing efforts to target him. You will find that you get calls for information and even potential clients but you will have to turn them away because they will not be worth the effort in the long run.
Another business I worked with for a very short period of time wanted the world on a shoe string budget. After unrealistic demands and realizing the owner was missing out on opportunities by not answer the phone or emails I fired the client. Not my ideal client…lesson learned.
That’s where a Buyer Persona comes in. A buyer persona will help you determine who your ideal client is. If you are a member of Small Business USA you have undoubtedly had an assignment to go back and look at your 6 best clients to help you determine who to market to. Developing your business’ buyer persona means you are following the 80/20 rule.
How Do I Develop a Buyer Persona?
The questions you need to ask yourself to identify your ideal clients are as follows:
- What is your ideal clients background including job, career path and family
- What are their demographics (age, gender, location, income)
- Key Identifiers like demeanor or communication preferences
- What are their primary goals
- What are some of the challenges they have to deal with, especially if there’s one you can help with
- What can you do to help them achieve their goals or resolve their challenges
- Any quotes from current clients or potential clients about their goals and challenges
- Some of the most common objectives from potential clients. Why wouldn’t they commit to your product or service
- Your marketing message. How would you describe your solution to your persona
- Your elevator pitch
I have given ideas and proposals to potential clients only to have them decided to go elsewhere. I don’t know if the decision was based on price or something else (but I intend on finding out) but a few of them have come to me after months of working with another marketing agency because the other agency did not take the time to understand what it was the business was looking to accomplish and who their ideal client (buyer persona) is.
They didn’t do the research and due diligence.
You can do the research yourself and be prepared to speak with a marketing agency ahead of time. Answer the above questions and take a look at your past clients (find your 6 best clients) to determine who you want your company to target as a client.