At a rock concert, there is always “that one guy.” He’s got to be front-and-center for the duration of the show, no matter how many times the mosh-pit churns him out. He shouts all the lyrics and wears a t-shirt with the name of the band on it. He is first to sign up for notification of new CD releases. When band members look up and see such a hardcore fan, they may imagine they’re playing just for that one guy. As long as he is happy, they know they’re doing something right. By the same token, a “buyer persona” in marketing is a profile of your ideal customer, based on market research. Whenever you write a blog, design a promotion or create an ad, you want to keep an image of your company’s “super fan” in mind. Here’s why:
8 Ways Buyer Personas Enhance the Customer Experience & Your Business
1. Buyer personas personalize messages, making you more helpful to consumers – and a better salesperson.
I still remember getting first started with Amazon.com years ago. They sent me an email confirming my purchase and letting me know when to expect my package, but something caught my eye at the bottom of the page – images and links to complementary products that other customers purchased. “That would be nice to have,” I thought. This is the art of selling your clients something they don’t even know they need yet. And so, Amazon effectively “upsold” me – but not in a pushy way – and, in the process, they created a super-fan.
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2. Buyer personas help you nurture leads, delivering the right message to the right person at the right time.
One way to approach buyer personas is to think of people at various stages of their purchasing journey. Buyer A might be just starting to think about the product or service you offer. They are trying to figure out IF they need what you’ve got and if they need it sooner or later. Buyer B might be certain of the general need, but might need more information about different brands or providers. Buyer C has already made a purchase, but could use more details on all the features and how to get the most from the purchase. Buyer D made a purchase, but needs details on a newer upgrade, complementary products or services, or warranty information. Delivering the right message to the right person in your contact list at the right time – whether it’s by email, social networks, or snail mail — is good customer service, plain and simple.
3. Buyer personas help your content writers choose a message.
If you want content writers to be most effective, it helps them immensely to have an idea of who they’re speaking to. What do these people want or need? Right now, I am thinking about YOU, dear reader. You may be anywhere along the spectrum of your marketing career, but likely you are just starting to draft a new strategy. Your current marketing gets you results, but they could be better. You’re sort of stagnating where you are. You’re probably getting started with analytics software and want to learn more ways to incorporate that data into your day-to-day operations. You are in the process of amassing information before creating an actionable plan for your team. Maybe you’re doing a content revamp and buyer personas are at the heart of that improvement.
4. Buyer personas help your content writers choose a medium.
It’s not just about being on-message. Communication Theorist Marshall McLuhan once said: “The message is in the medium.” Buyer personas also help you determine what type of content your buyers need. A busy commuter may prefer to assimilate information through a podcast. A millennial might want a video tutorial. A social media user may want an informal infographic or meme, whereas a business exec may prefer to download a more professional whitepaper or Slideshare presentation. An older desktop user with more time might want to digest a longer informative article.
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5. Buyer personas help you get your entire team on the same page.
These days, the way a brand communicates says a lot about the level of customer service they are able to achieve. It’s not always easy to communicate standard protocol across different departments. In order to deliver consistent, high-quality customer service, you need engineers, product developers, sales reps, marketers and other executives on the same page. Older employees have to train newer employees in the ways of corporate culture. Developing buyer personas helps you all comprehend what your end goals are, which talking points to focus upon, and how to build effective relationships with prospects.
Screenshot of Mod Girl’s Buyer Persona Template
6. Buyer personas keep customers engaged, dropping unsubscribe and bounce rates.
For marketers, few things are more disheartening than seeing prospects unsubscribe from email correspondence or visit the company website only to leave moments later. Abandoned shopping carts are another dagger through the heart. It can be hard not to take the rejection personally when you work so hard on a project day-in and day-out. One survey found that 56% of unsubscribes occur because the content is “not relevant.” On the other hand, marketers who deliver content targeting a particular buyer persona see a 20% increase in sales opportunities. When you combine the in-depth understanding of your buyers you get from developing buyer personas with real-time social media monitoring, you can effectively improve your customer service to a level where you prevent people from defecting from your brand and moving over to the competition. It helps to have a persona in mind for disgruntled customers and think through how to reconnect.
7. Buyer personas help you improve your products or services to reach a larger market.
As the last point touched upon, it is just as important to understand what your ideal customer doesn’t like or doesn’t want. This helps you devise new features, identify areas for improvement, and tweak your core business processes to be better. Mod Girl Marketing recommends using competitive analysis to create personas of your competitor’s ideal buyer, which allows you to expand to a larger client or customer base and scale your business.
8. Buyer personas help you find your “sweet spot.”
When I first started my business, I worked with business owners from all walks of life – and I mean ALL. Over time, I started to see which clients we tended to satisfy the most and which industries saw the best results from our efforts. Our business shifted to the healthcare and technology firms and more toward consulting and strategic planning versus turnkey services. By identifying the personas we enjoyed working with and the personas who were most pleased with us, we have found a “sweet spot.”