No matter what product or service your business sells, there is one universal truth. Your products or services do not appeal to everyone.

“Everyone” is never a good answering to the question, “Who are you targeting?”

If you try to appeal too broadly, you risk missing out on tons of business from people who actually want to buy from you.

If you truly want your business to be successful, one of the first things to do, even before you develop a product or offer anything on the market, is determine your target market.

A great way to do this is to create buyer personas. These can help you understand the needs of your audience and determine the best products / services to sell, fine-tune your marketing messaging and develop your go to market strategy.

Let’s take a look at how to create buyer personas as well as why it’s so important to understand your market if you truly want to be successful.

What are buyer personas?

Buyer personas are essentially fictitious representations of members of your target audience. They create a vision of what your ideal customers would look like. A buyer persona should take into account a variety of factors.

  • Demographics like age, gender, education, etc.
  • Geographic location
  • Career details
  • Lifestyle details
  • Notes about the problems they face that your product could solve

Adding info such as the above, along with other notes, can help you form a realistic vision of what your target audience looks like.

Buyer Persona Example
Image: Buyer Persona Example – Source

Why are buyer personas important?

Buyer personas can help you grow your business on many levels by simply understanding your target audience. Buyer personas inform so much of what you do as a company, and they can help you be more targeted in reaching the right customers, in the right places, with the right message.

Crafting the right message

If you have a true vision of what your ideal customers look like, then you can craft marketing and advertising messages that appeal to them. You can appeal to them by letting them know your products or services can solve the specific problems they face. You can craft messages in the right formats based on the places where your audience is most reachable. You can appeal to the psychology of your audience and build strong trust by showing them you really know them.

Determine promotional tactics and placement

Another thing you’ll want to include in your personas is insight into where your audience prefers to receive messages and interact with brands. Is it on social media? And if so, which specific channels? Do they prefer email or SMS messaging? What publications do they read (this can determine where to purchase ad placements)? Knowing this information can help you avoid spending money and time marketing and advertising your products in places the message won’t be seen.

Help with decision making

Whether you are in the early stages of launching your company and trying to figure out what your busines should sell, or you are an established company looking for new products and services or enhancements to existing ones to create new revenue opportunities, buyer personas can help your decision-making processes. If you know your market, you can avoid spending tons of money developing and launching products no one wants. You can also uncover ways to enhance your current offerings to better suit the needs of your market.

How do you create buyer personas?

The worst thing you can do when crafting buyer personas is assume that you understand your audience and make “educated” guesses based on intuition.

I’ve seen it happen where entrepreneurs, and even established business professionals, think they know exactly what the market wants or needs. They spend thousands (or even millions) of dollars on product development and marketing, and then when it comes time for the launch, it flops.

To avoid this happening to you, it’s important that you take some time to really dig into your audience and do your homework to develop more accurate personas. Here are a few ways you can develop effective buyer personas.

Conduct surveys

The easiest way to get info about your audience is to conduct surveys. I suggest working with a company that offers market research. This way, you can work with them to ensure the survey is going out to the right people and you have experienced professionals analyzing the results to get the most accurate insights.

Focus groups

Focus groups are another great way to gain insight. By assembling a group of randomly selected members of your target market, you can gain some excellent info about what they like about your products or services, what they don’t like, ideas for improvements and much more. You’ll have an experienced moderator guiding a session where a small group of people is guided through answering questions and having conversations, and you can take the info you uncover and use it to inform your decisions with regard to marketing, product features and more.

Competitive research

There is virtually no market you can enter where you will be the only player. Thus, analyzing what your competitors are doing and how they are connecting with the target audience you are after can uncover lots of great insights. You can look at who their customers are and use that info to form your personas.

Social media

Social media offers a vast amount of useful info. You can find out not only where your target audience likes to hang out online, but you can also listen to conversations and see what issues people are facing, what products they are talking about, what they need in life and much more.

You can also uncover valuable info like why customers leave a brand and move on to another or why they stick with a product. There are a lot of great social media listening tools on the market to help make this happen.

customer insights social media
Image: Customer insights gained from social media listening – Source

Wrapping it up

Think about throwing a dart at a dart board but doing it with a blindfold on after being spun around several times. You’ll have no idea where you are throwing the dart, and the likelihood of hitting the target is slim.

This is similar to trying to sell a product without understanding the target market. This can lead to a huge miss, and ultimately the demise of your company

Thus, it’s so important that you develop personas that try to at least get close to accurately representing members of your target market. Personas can help with everything from product development to customer services to marketing messages and everything in between.

Take the time to develop a strong understanding of your market and then craft buyer personas to help your team make the right moves to ensure your business grows.