Do you remember that classic game, “Where’s Waldo?”
Such great memories. You’re lying on your bedroom floor with a large picture book spread open in front of you. Your fingers busily trace over countless faces as your eyes dart back and forth, scouring the page for Waldo. You’ve spent minutes, hours, days looking for him and you’re not even close to giving up.
Then… your brother walks in and solves the puzzle in two seconds.
*Cough* I’m not bitter.
Whether you do or don’t remember Waldo, this is what I want you to remember after reading this blog today:
“It’s time to stop hunting for Waldo and let Waldo come to you instead”
— Someone who’s not bitter about Where’s Waldo. And that someone’s brother can keep that version of Waldo.
Over my years in digital marketing, I’ve seen business after business fail to find their target audience because they search for customers like they search for Waldo — randomly.
There’s no real or documented marketing strategy behind who they’re looking for or how to connect with them! There’s just a panic-driven marketing budget being drained for ad space that ultimately leaves hardworking business owners frustrated and discouraged.
If that sounds like you, meet my good friend — the Buyer Persona.
What is a Buyer Persona?
A Buyer Persona is everything a search for Waldo isn’t. It’s a clear, focused plan of action that empowers you to find your target audience by showing you who they are and how to effectively connect with them.
Look, even if you’ve been in business a long time and are happy with your clientele, I guarantee you there are raving fans of your business who haven’t had the chance to reach their potential because they don’t know you exist, and you don’t know they do, either.
When I say, “find your target audience,” I’m not talking about, “people who can buy your product.” Anyone with money can buy what you sell! I’m talking about finding the people that can’t wait to have their problem solved, their day made, and their life transformed by your incredible business.
Those are your soon-to-be raving fans. That’s your target audience.
Here’s how a Buyer Persona connects you to your raving fans:
Makes the introduction
Francis Bacon said it best with the phrase, “Knowledge is power.” (Thanks, Francis).
The Buyer Persona first and foremost gives you the gift of knowledge — specifically the knowledge of who your target audience truly is. This is the information the Buyer Persona maps out to introduce you to your target audience:
- Pain points and frustrations
- Key purchase drivers
- Intrinsic motivations
- External pressures (both positive and negative)
- Hobbies and interests
Guides you to effective communication channels
After building a Buyer Persona and examining it carefully with your team, you’ll immediately recognize that some communication methods are a huge turn-off for your client.
As an overly simple example, if your Buyer Persona is a mom with seven kids under the age of 13, she doesn’t want you cold-calling her.
(Trust me, she will barely take my call, and I’m her husband!)
Once you know what your Buyer Persona needs, you’ll effectively determine how to talk to them. We know that not all real-life scenarios are going to be as cut-and-dry as the example above, but a little bit of research and a lot of brainstorming go a long way in discovering which communication methods are best based on your Buyer Persona’s needs and preferences.
Here’s our quick guideline to effective communication methods:
- Email: For the busy professional who needs a few days to get back to you. Or for someone who saves important stuff to review later.
- Text: For the busy — yet casual — customer who’s comfortable with a more personal touch.
- Phone calls: For anyone over the age of 30/35 who prefers quick, real-time conversation.
- Video conferencing: For serious leads who want to know you face-to-face… well, face-to-Zoom.
- Instagram: For influencers, people who are influenced by influencers, millennials, and let’s be real, people that would rather look at pictures than massive walls of text. (Hey, we’re not judging: that pasta looks GOOD).
- Facebook: For social media-inclined people who want to stay connected with family and friends.
- Snapchat: For younger, trendier, rainbow-barfing cool kids. But seriously, casual people who want to see what your product does with their own eyes. And that rainbow-barfing filter.
- Twitter: For people wanting to be connected to something greater — namely their favorite celebrities, sports heroes, and really anyone famous.
- LinkedIn: For the professional crew!
Focuses your budget on what matters
If you Google “digital marketing tools,” you’re going to find thousands of different items that you can purchase to boost your online presence.
But the reality is, there is no “one-size fits all” marketing tool that you absolutely have to buy in order to gain more sales. And in fact, trying to increase your sales conversion rate through this “try every shiny new marketing tool” approach can yield really disastrous results. Why? Because, your target audience is made up of real people, and real people are all different!
For example, let’s take a look at Bobby. Bobby hates pushy salesmen — it’s why he avoids used car dealerships and Buckle. “For the last time, no! I don’t need a dressing room, Jessica!” So, when Bobby’s scrolling through Facebook and 17 of your ads appear demanding that he click on them now, guess what: Bobby’s not a big fan of your company before you even got the chance to talk.
But don’t despair! How can you avoid making the “Bobby blunder?” You guessed it — your ol’ trusty Buyer Persona!
Your Buyer Persona has already introduced you to your target audience (i.e. Bobby) and showed you their preferred methods of communication (i.e. not being pushy), so you have a huge advantage in determining which marketing tools to invest in and which to avoid. Now, you don’t have to waste money on every new marketing tool and tactic just hoping that it will send leads your way, because you’re already armed with the knowledge of what you and your target audience need to connect.
How do I build a Buyer Persona?
Alright, alright, I can tell I’ve convinced you of how awesome a Buyer Persona is. But how do you make one? First, hop down to the bottom of this post (or click here) to download our free Before/After Transformation Workbook to get started.
Pull your team together
It’s time to assemble your A-Team.
Still gives me goosebumps.
You’re about to start brainstorming the attributes of your target audience, so you need to incorporate people in your company that are on the front lines of customer interactions. In addition to your leadership team, include salesmen, marketing members, customer service reps — really anyone you think that could and should have feedback on who your target audience is.
Pro tip: Your staff, especially those on the front lines of customer interaction such as support, sales and customer service reps, give you valuable feedback on who your target audience ISN’T. That’s just as important as knowing who it is!
Brainstorming your audience’s attributes
Ask your assembled team a series of questions to get the creative juices flowing on who you’re selling to, what problems your product/service resolves, etc. Again, we highly recommend including team members that are on the front lines of customer interaction for this process!
Create the compelling narrative
Take the feedback from your brainstorming session and turn it into a compelling narrative that will become the compass of your search to find your target audience. This process allows you to connect with the personality, fears, worries, joys, motivations and values of your target audience so that you can determine their behavior. You’ll be amazed at how writing the attributes in a story-telling format really allows your Buyer Persona to take shape in the form of a compelling person!
This Buyer Persona narrative will become an internal document that’s the first step in your professional marketing plan, and your whole team can reference it when answering the question Will _____ help us reach our target audience?
And if you have any questions, concerns, or obstacles throughout this process, don’t struggle alone! Download our FREE Buyer Persona Playbook for all the materials and instructions you need to start building your Buyer Persona and connecting with your raving fans.