How to Identify Your Audience / Develop Buyer Persona(s)
This article is part of a series on The 8 Steps of an Effective Content Marketing System for Your Business. A FREE e-book is also available to download.
At the heart of an effective marketing strategy is the ability to connect and establish relationships with your target market. To do so effectively requires that you understand who your target buyers are and who you want to reach. You can broadly identify who these buyers are by creating buyer personas or customer profiles. These customer profiles will help you to identify your customers’ challenges and needs, and understand how to speak to them using their words and language to address these needs and provide solutions (i.e., your products or services).
How to Create a Customer Profile
A great way to get a sense of your customer profile is to identify 10-15 of your best customers and send them a survey (you can set-up a free trial at Constant Contact and use their survey forms or use Google Docs Forms, which is also free).
For consumers, ask them for the following information:
- Age Range
- Marital Status
- How They Found You
- Why They Bought from You
- What Problem You Helped Solve
For commercial or business clients, include:
- Number of Employees
- Type of Business
- Geographic Scope of Business
- Revenue Levels
Look at the results and write a profile of your typical customer (e.g., “Bill is 45, lives in Denver with his wife and kids, makes $70,000 per year and works in an office all day. He bought from us because …”). Describe a real person so you can visualize him or her in your mind. Find a photo on the Internet that matches your ideal customer profile. If you have several customer types, create a customer profile for each.
You can also gain insight by listening online. Find and read the publications or blogs your target market reads, or listen in on social outposts to learn what people are saying using Facebook or Twitter. You can also use keyword search tools like Google Adwords to discover the keywords people are using to find your business.
Use Your Customer Profile to Guide All Your Marketing Efforts & Content
Once you have your customer profile, use it when creating any website content, email newsletters, blogs, social media posts, etc. The goal is to speak directly to your customer profile and become relatable to Bill or Jane. Put yourself in his or her shoes and ask yourself, “If I were Bill and I came to my company’s website (or blog, Facebook page, etc.), what type of content would I want to see?”
Use your customer profile to guide all of your marketing efforts and content. This will take the focus off of your marketing message and onto your customers’ needs and desires. Doing so will have a tremendous impact on your ability to connect with new and existing customers and establish long-term, win-win relationships that can ultimately help you grow your business in a cost-effective way.