A buyer persona, aka an ideal client profile or avatar, is a 360-degree description of the type of client your company is looking to serve.
The first key to creating a solid marketing strategy is to create a buyer persona because your customers are the center of your business. If you don't know who you are serving how can you possibly attempt to get them to know, like, and trust you so they eventually buy from you?
I will use buyer persona, ideal client profile and avatar interchangeably in this article. They're all the same thing.
So why exactly is an ideal client profile important? Let's find out.
#Buyerpersonas help clearly define who your company is trying to reach and serve.
Why is a Buyer Persona Important?
Buyer personas help you better understand what your customers and ideal prospects are:
- Concerned about
When you know what matters to your ideal clients, what their goals are, what their dreams are, what they struggle with, and how you can uniquely help them, it will be transformational for your business.
Ideal client profiles help ensure all your business activities involved in acquiring and serving your customers not only meet but exceed their wildest expectations.
Defining your ideal client profile helps you to:
- Direct your sales and marketing efforts to the right people.
- Create messaging and content that attracts and "speaks" to the people you want to work with.
- Increase your conversions because you consistently sell to customers with the highest likelihood of wanting and needing your product or service. Spending time with prospects that aren't a good fit for you is wasted time, money, and effort.
- Increase profitabililty and referrals, because your best customers are profitable and love to talk about your business.
Here's the bottom line...having ideal client profiles for your business makes selling and marketing your business easier and more efficient. Who doesn't want that?
Now that you know the importance of having buyer personas let's look at how you can easily create them for your business.
How to Create a Buyer Persona
Creating a buyer persona requires some time and research, but it will be well worth it! When completed, you'll have an accurate picture of the ideal clients or segments that are perfectly suited to your business.
You will most likely have multiple ideal client profiles by the time you are done, and that's totally OK.
What type of information are you looking for? The starter questions in the image below have a pretty extensive list of the type of information you want.
This is the step by step approach we use to help clients discover their buyer personas.
Step 1: Identify Your Most Profitable Clients
Pull out your customer list and start looking for the amount of business they do with you, your gross profit per customer, and what they buy from you.
You are looking for your most profitable clients. Do you see any trends? Are certain products or services you sell less profitable? Pay particular attention to the "negative info" from the starter questions above. This will help you key in on types of clients or certain products/services you may need to cut out of your business.
Step 2: Find Out Which Clients Refer You Business
Now I want you to divide your list of most profitable clients again. This time narrow it down by pulling out the clients who also refer you business.
This is the group that holds the key to helping you discover your ideal client profile. This is a narrow group, but it's a list of your most profitable clients that refer you business too.
Step 3: Investigate the Demographics
With your narrowed down list from step 2, start looking at the physical characteristics that you know about this group.
You want common characteristics that are shared by the group. The starter questions in the image above come into play. Look at things like:
- Personal Info
- Professional Info
You should start to see some patterns and similarities in the data that will narrow your list into pretty specific groups of people.
Step 4: Research Client Behavior
Now we're going to look at the remaining starter questions to really gain an understanding of what makes our ideal clients tick.
- Values & Fears
- Goals & Challenges
- Where Are They?
These types of questions really get down to the heart of the matter so you can really understand what triggers a prospect to seek out businesses like yours and what matters to them most.
Quick Tip 1: Client interviews can be a fantastic way to gather this information. Set up a 15-minute phone call with clients who fall into the specific groups you've identified.
Quick Tip 2: Social media groups and industry forums can be a great place to gather client behavior information. Spend some time combing through these channels to see what people are talking about and you'll often see common challenges and what's important for businesses in your target market.
Step 5: Create the Picture of Your Ideal Client
At this point, you should have maybe several groups left. You know the following about each group:
- They're profitable clients for your business.
- They refer you business.
- Demographics about each group.
- What they value, their goals, their dreams, their challenges, etc.
Now it's time to answer this question: How would I spot your ideal client?
If you have multiple profiles, that's OK. What you want to do is write down the attributes for each profile and name them...Bob, Jim, Jane, it doesn't really matter just pick a name for each profile. If you can attach a picture to each profile that's even better!
Now, write a brief description of Bob, Jim, and Jane based on the information you have compiled so that anyone can read it and easily understand what the avatars for your business look like.
Armed with your buyer personas, you now have a tool to filter every marketing decision you make. Simply ask, "Would this appeal to Bob?". When you do this, your ideal clients won't even have to think about whether your business is the right fit for them. They will know that your business is the natural, logical, and only choice to meet their needs...THAT'S POWERFUL!
What If You Are Justing Starting Your Business?
You might be thinking these steps work great for an existing business with customer sales history, but what if you are just starting out?
Startups don't have the luxury of picking up the phone and speaking to their best customers. As a startup business, you need to modify the 5 steps above (just slightly) because all you have at this point are theories and assumptions of what you believe to be true about your target market.
Step 1: Complete Discovery Calls
Instead of step 1 and 2 above you are going complete 5 - 15 discovery calls with businesses in your target market. Your goal in a discovery call is to test your theories and assumptions about the market.
What are their challenges and needs, and how can you help them? Can you add value to the market? Can the market afford to pay for your product or service?
It can be challenging getting the time of business owners to complete these calls, so you'll have to get creative. Here are a few ideas you can try:
- Attend trade shows for your target market. This can be a great way to meet business owners and have casual conversations about their business.
- Get introductions from people you know. People are much more inclined to give you a few minutes of their time if someone they know made an introduction.
- Write an article about the current state of your industry and reach out to people asking for an interview for the article. There's a benefit for the business owner because they'll get some free PR and you can get the information you need as part of the interview process for the article.
Armed with the information from your discovery calls you'll be able to complete steps 3 - 5 I outlined above to create your ideal client profiles.
That's it! You've got the required steps to complete ideal client profiles for your business. Now it's up to you...
Creating a buyer persona is an essential part of creating a winning marketing strategy. Without knowing your ideal client profiles, you'll waste valuable time and money on your marketing. Don't skip this step!
If you need help creating your avatars, hire a marketing consultant to assist you in the process.
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Creating a solid marketing strategy is a must for effective marketing? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Marketing Strategy to learn more.
Header image courtesy of Pxhere.