If you don’t know who your customers are at the micro level, how can you expect to be able to sell to them? The better you understand what makes your target audience tick, the better you will be able to deliver solutions that make them choose you over the competition.

775_4611012

Before you wave me off and say “Nah. There’s no way I can get to know every one of my customers,” or, what I hear more often, “I know all about my customers and what they want and need!” let me explain. There’s something we in sales and marketing call buyer personas that are a huge boon to helping you get to know your customers and tailor your offerings to fit their needs.

And no, you don’t have to interview every single one of your customers to create them (but at least 5 to 10 would be a great place to start!). It’s all about gathering the right information and extrapolating the good stuff.

Start with What You Know

You already probably have a bit of useful information on your clients, so start there. If you collect client data through the checkout process or in your customer relationship management platform, this is valuable data you can use. If you regularly interact with customers, you likely also know a bit about their background.

Add to the Data

Now you’ll want even more information to build out your buyer persona. This could come from many sources:

  • Surveys you send clients (SurveyMonkey is a great resource)
  • Focus groups
  • Interviews
  • Social media
  • Response to questions via email

Keep in mind your goal: you want to understand who this buyer is, what her problems are, and what leads her to your company. You want to know anything else that’s important, like her role in her company (if you’re B2B), how much money she has to spend, and where she researches products like yours.

Sort this data so you have several buckets you can then turn into personas that describe the majority of your clientele.

Create the Persona

With the data you’ve put together, write a narrative describing each persona. You should have several. As an example, let’s say you run a mobile app development company targeting small business. Your personas might be:

  • Programmer Paul: He’s a programmer at heart, and the founder of his company. He doesn’t have time to build his own apps, but is highly technical.
  • Marketing Maybelle: She’s been tasked with finding a development company to help build an app. She’s less technical and more focused on features and design.
  • Mogul Mike: He’s the business owner with a small level of technical understanding. He needs to be educated on why he needs an app. He’s also really busy and has little time.

You can enhance these profiles as much as needed. While each buyer won’t mimic every detail of the persona, being able to categorize a lead as one of them will help you in targeting your marketing to their specific needs. After all, you don’t need to walk Programmer Paul through the technical details like you do Mogul Mike, so you’ll need a different approach in the content you provide to them on the buyer journey.

Continue to tweak your buyer personas until you have a model that is effective at reaching each through inbound marketing strategy.

Image: PhotoSpin