Defining Your Ideal Customer—With a Persona

Defining-your-ideal-customer-with-a-personaWhy do some companies seem to “get” their customers? Their marketing is spot on and speaks to what their customers want to know. Prospects and customers actually read what they publish—and respond.  How do they do it?

Smart companies take time to develop a “marketing persona” for their ideal clients: a kind of composite picture of common characteristics their ideal customers posses. These commonalities allow them to define a particular customer type, such as  “Soccer Mom Susie” or “CEO Charlie” and then use that information to make sure their marketing message is on target.

Creating a marketing persona

Creating a marketing persona doesn’t need to be a monumental task. In fact, the persona you create should be only a few pages—but it will need to answer a number of critical questions. What is your customer’s background? What are their hobbies?  Fill in demographic information such as age, location, income, and marital status, number of children, and political affiliation.  For instance the persona for “Soccer Mom Susie” could be that she’s married, has two kids under 10, enjoys quilting and Crossfit.  She’s between 32 and 38 years of age, has a household income of $80,000.

The more detail you can add, the better. How does your prospect like to communicate?  Some people like in-person communication; others prefer the phone, text or email. Some individuals are comfortable getting their information from the web or social media, while others look offline before making a decision.  Knowing this is key when choosing the right channel to reach your ideal client.

You’ll also want to know what triggers a buying decision.  If you’re a roofer, a hailstorm can trigger a buying decision for your clients.  If you’re a car dealer, you know that the arrival of a child can trigger the decision to buy a bigger vehicle for “Soccer Mom Susie.” Knowing the “buying triggers” allows you to time your messages appropriately.

It’s also important to understand and manage expectations. “Soccer Mom Suzie” isn’t buying a car just to have one. She expects certain benefits.  What problem will you solve for her? Don’t just talk about the car—talk about how the care will make her life better.

Address objections.  “Susie” may be concerned that buying a larger vehicle will mean getting poor gas mileage, or that driving a van will peg her as a “soccer mom.” Don’t ignore those issues—hit them head on.

Once you’ve written a well-rounded description of your marketing persona, you’ll find it much simpler to craft a marketing message that addresses your customers’ questions and concerns, and that reaches them using the channels they like to use.   That leads to better communication with prospective customers—and improved sales.

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