Whenever I sign on a client for branding or marketing consulting one of the very first things we do is sit down together and develop audience personas for their business. Personas are profiles of your potential or current clients or customers. I’m always excited to share this crucial strategy with entrepreneurs because it is absolutely key to a successful business. From my experience, having audience personas to guide your whole business is game changing.
Here are the three main reasons I tell my clients that they need personas ASAP:
1. Personas Help You to Understand Your Target Audience
Coming up with a whole content marketing plan without knowing if anyone will actually read or benefit from that content isn’t a worthwhile investment of time. Not only is your business meant to lead to your own success, but the essential purpose of every business is to serve your client. You can’t do that very well without knowing who your client is, what they’re looking for, their needs and their wants.
2. Personas Help You To Relate More Authentically to Your Clients
Personas have personality. I love this story that my professor from grad school told me: At every Apple company meeting, Steve Jobs would purposefully leave a seat empty at their conference table. The seat was meant to represent their client. Having several clear audience personas is like having your client in the room with you. When you create sales or marketing plans, your personas will help you gear all of your efforts to making your clients experience with your brand the best it can be.
3. Personas Help You Make More Sales!
Having audience personas help you to walk your potential clients through the basic buying funnel of Awareness, Evaluation, and Decision. Great businesses meet their clients exactly where they are at any of these stages. By having a buyer persona you can understand more deeply how your audience is thinking and what it’s going to take to get them from “possible customers” to “loyal buyers”.
Here are three simple steps you can take to develop your own business’ audience personas:
1. Research: Interview friends who could serve as prospective customers. Survey past customers or clients who could give you feedback. Surveys are not as bad as the rep they are given! Research brands similar to your own and see what kind of audience they are attracting. Who, for example, is following your dream business on social media?
2. Give your persona a face: Next is the fun part! Choose a photo of someone who looks like a possible client or customer (this is where stock photos come in handy!), choose a name for your audience member and choose a backstory with some personality traits to make them seem real. What are your potential client’s objectives, their buying criteria, their reactions to your products? Write all this down and include details on how they go about getting their questions answered by you.
3. Have a conversation with your persona: To create even more details, ask your persona the following questions and imagine how they would answer: What motivates You? What is your greatest worry? How do you deliberate when and what to buy? How will you know when you make the right decision?
And there you have it! Once you develop a robust portfolio of audience personas, you’ll be able to give your business clear direction. This clear view will not only help you focus, but will present a incredibly thought-out, professional persona towards your ideal clientele.