There are two sides to the argument for creating a buyer persona or ideal client. I’m firmly in the “Yes You Really Effing Should” camp.
Opponents to the idea of creating a persona will tell you that it’s a made up person, so how can this be at all useful to you. Others who agree you should have one might miss the critical piece of information as to why it’s important to have one.
You have to keep working at it. As you learn new things and have actual facts to support these things, you need to update it.
Knowing a whole bunch of things about their lives that may seem insignificant actually helps create empathy with that person. You can get inside their head, view the world from their eyes and understand what motivates them. This window into their lives helps you to ultimately reflect this back to them in your brand communication. Which, in turn, helps you to attract MORE of the people you want to your brand.
So, how do you define your audience?
You go ahead and create a consumer profile. It’s sometimes also called a “buyer persona”, “ideal consumer” or “customer avatar”. It’s a fictional person who represents your broader audience, covering every element of who they are and what their life looks like.
If you haven’t got this clear in your mind, you could be missing out on key pieces of information that can help you better connect with your audience.
Why do you need to “connect” with your audience – don’t you just want to “sell” to them?
Having a consumer base is like having a relationship. Like any relationship, you have to nurture it. Before nurturing comes understanding.
Think about the brands and companies you interact with the most.
You want them to understand you. You want them to pre-empt what you’re going to say before the words even come out of your mouth. You want them to provide solutions to your problems. You want them to surprise and delight you.
None of this can happen without an intimate understanding of who you are. The same goes for your consumers.
Having a deeper understanding of them isn’t difficult to achieve. You may think that you’d need to spend a bunch on research. You don’t.
Enter the internet.
Start with your existing consumer base. What do you already know about them? Use the myriad of analytics available to you. Between your website analytics and social media insights, you can find out a whole lot about whose already interacting with your brand which you can then use as the basis for your ideal customer.
What are your Facebook fans or Instagram followers interested in? Which posts of yours do they like the most? Who else are they following? What can you learn from what those others are doing? Where are the commonalities between your brand and theirs? Where are the differences?
Just like you, your consumers have a rich, diverse set of likes and preferences that make up who they are.
The thing that great brands do is understand their consumer intimately. Get to know your consumer like you know a sibling or friend.
It’s no longer about putting products out there and waiting for people to buy (and to be blunt, it hasn’t been that way for about 50 years).
Just like you, your consumers are seeking more than transactional relationships with brands. The best brands have many loyal consumers who keep going back to them to buy. Loyal consumers are worth infinitely more than their weight in gold.
Loyal consumers are powerful because they go from being buyers to brand advocates. And there really is nothing more powerful for your business.