Who are you selling to?
Most of the time, when I ask that question to my clients, I get a blank stare and silence. Then, they respond with, “well…women…? Who are…over the age of 30? I guess younger than, like, 70?”
Believe it or not, that’s a great start – at least now they’re thinking about it.
Crafting a message that resonates with your audience requires an understanding of who that audience is. To do that, you need to create your buyer persona.
A buyer persona goes much deeper than the demographics of how old they are, where they live, and what they look like. Instead, it dives deep into the core of who that person is, what they’re looking for, and how you can help.
Whether you’re promoting an ad on Facebook, writing copy for your website, or crafting a social media post for higher engagement, who you tell your story to is just as important, if not more so, than what you say.
Yet, crafting a well-thought-out buyer persona takes time, research, and understanding the right questions to ask.
The first step to crafting a buyer persona is understanding who they are as an actual person. As you go through this process, you’re actually creating a fictitious person based on your ideal customer.
This ideal persona is someone who would line up for hours outside your store door before launching a new product, tell everyone they know that “they should totally use this” and retweet everything you post.
At the end of this process, they’ll have a name, bio, and maybe even be someone you want to call up for drinks on the weekend.
This starts with the very basic demographics:
- What gender do they identify with?
- How old are they specifically (hint: pick one number, not a range)?
- Where are they from?
- Are they educated?
- Married? With kids?
From there, we explore their role at work:
- Are they employed full-time, part-time, self-employed, etc.?
- How do they feel about their career?
- What is their household income?
Now we’ve got a better picture of this person – but you might not yet be ready to call them up for drinks.
The last step of this process is to ask two more questions:
- How would they describe themselves?
- How would others describe them?
Would they rather a mimosa or an old-fashioned? Do they party until 4 am or would they rather be in bed by 8 pm?
Use real-world experience and feedback to get this information. Speak to a couple of people who resemble your persona and ask them to list a few words they’d use to define themselves. Then, find a few people they know and ask them to list words they’d use to describe him.
You now have a walking and, presumably, talking person right there on the page in front of you.
Well, not literally, but you catch my drift.
The next few steps get even deeper into who this person is. By the end of this, you’re going to know your persona better than you know your best friend – or maybe even yourself.
Now, you should ask: what are their goals? This relates to anything – in and outside of your problem space. While you should put an emphasis on goals related to your industry, try to look at the bigger picture of their life.
For example, many people know that I struggle with anxiety and use CBD oil to help keep it under control. If you were to ask me what my goal is in relation to that topic, I’d say, “well, to be less anxious, of course.”
But imagine if you were to dig beyond that. I’m also a newly full-time self-employed marketer who lives in one of the most expensive cities in one of the most expensive countries in the world. That means saving money on absolutely anything I can right now is also a goal of mine that doesn’t necessarily relate to a brand who’s trying to sell me CBD oil.
However, in my email inbox just the other day, I got an email which included: “We know keeping up with your anxiety is expensive, that’s why we want to offer you a discount.”
Bam. They just sold another unit.
In this section, we’re getting into the struggles and challenges your persona faces on a daily basis. This is what leads them down the road to eventually purchasing your product or service.
Using the example with the CBD oil, my challenges included:
- I need a safe way to deal with my anxiety
- I want to find a natural solution to anxiety
- I need that solution to be affordable and attainable
Think about what struggles your persona is facing on a regular basis whether it’s budget, education (about your product/industry), outside influences (weather/location), or something else entirely.
Then, for each challenge listed, come up with a strategy for how you address that in your marketing strategy and/or in your product design.
For example, CBD oil* ended up being a great solution to my challenges because it’s safe, natural, and more affordable than getting doctors and pills involved.
Your persona’s concerns are the objections they turn to when thinking of reasons not to purchase your product. It’s the questions they ask Google to get more information and get a better sense of what they’re getting into.
These concerns should be things that can be answered and addressed by your company. For example, the CBD oil company can’t influence my mental health budget, but they can provide me with answers about its quality, safety, and information about side effects.
As you’re coming up with your persona’s concerns, consider:
- What would they type into Google to find information about my product?
- What questions would they ask me/my sales team when approached with an opportunity to purchase?
Understanding your persona’s concerns up front allows you to address them before you even start the conversation with them. By then, they will be halfway convinced to buy and have fewer questions when it comes to making the decision.
The last portion of your buyer persona addresses everything your persona is thinking, seeing, doing, and feeling when it comes to your problem space.
These questions are designed to force you to think deeper about this person’s inner thoughts, feelings, and actions. It helps you determine why they do what they do and how you can influence that.
Here’s what to consider for each part:
- What is she thinking when it comes to the benefits of what we can offer her?
- What does she hope to gain by making the purchase?
- What keeps her awake at night?
- What motivates her to act?
- What is her worldview in the context of our products/services?
- What does she see when she engages with us?
- What influences her and how?
- What is she doing now she wishes was different?
- What outcome would she like by working with/buying from us?
- What are her fears?
- What holds her back from making the purchase?
- What does she value?
- What is she unwilling to compromise on?
*Note: This is not professional medical advice and it’s not to say that this product has cured my anxiety. This is purely anecdotal. You should consult your doctor before trying anything new.