The most successful independent professionals we meet are able to paint a clear picture of their ideal prospects. In the marketing world this description is called a “buyer persona.” If you want to be successful in content marketing marketing or good old fashioned networking, the more clear you are about who you are trying to reach the easier your job will be in finding them.
But this isn’t some marketing black magic. It’s really very simple and intuitive when you understand the steps.
Creating a buyer persona or personas to identify ideal consulting prospects requires time and research, but it is definitely worth the effort. If you still have not clearly defined a buyer persona your target prospects, the following points will help you to get started. With these points in mind, you can create a buyer persona that will allow you to target and speak to consulting prospects that you can best serve.
Consider Your Ideal Client’s Demographic Information
Demographic information is easy to obtain and it will clarify considerably who your clients are on a very personal level. Is your persona male or female? Married or single? How old are they? What is their average annual income? Where do they live? Collecting this kind of general information will allow you to get a better idea of who your ideal customer is. It will also assist you in developing specifically targeted online and offline marketing campaigns.
Get Into Your Prospect’s Mind
After collecting general demographic information, it’s time to dig a little deeper into the daily life of your persona. Ask yourself, “What does my persona do during a typical day? Do they spend more time working or at home? What are their hobbies? Who are their friends? How important is family to them? What makes my persona tick?”
After you have answered these questions, find a stock photo that matches your buyer persona’s demographic information and lifestyle. Use this image to solidify who your target audience is and keep your marketing messages consistent.
Find Out What Your Prospect Does for a Living
You need to know what your persona does for a living and what their seniority level at their job is. After doing some research, you may find that a large amount of your customers work in a specific industry or at a specific seniority level. Not only will this help you understand your persona better, it will help you to communicate effectively with them.
This step is particularly important if you run a B2B company. If your prospect is a manager or director, or if they are already knowledgeable about your industry, you may not need to spend as much time educating them as you would a lower level employee. A person’s job and seniority level can also be good indicators of their goals and attention spans, which can help you understand what kind of marketing will grab their attention most effectively.
Understand Your Persona’s Pain Points
Pain points are the problems, and resulting negative feelings, your ideal customer faces on a daily basis. For example, say you are a business coach that specializes in helping people start a business they are passionate about. One of your personas might be a successful executive that no longer enjoys his full-time, six-figure job. What would his pain points be? He has worked very hard to reach the position he now holds, but he feels unfulfilled. He would prefer a job he was excited about and enjoyed, but he is not sure how to make such a drastic change. What will his friends and family think if he quits his current job to open up that coffee shop? They’ll probably say he’s crazy! Pain points will always be specific to each persona, so if you have multiple personas, think about them as individuals and identify their pain points separately.
Understand Your Persona’s Values and Goals
Identifying your persona’s pain points will help you more easily identify what is important to them, what they value the most and what their goals are. You will want to offer them the kind of products or services they will be excited about and will help them reach their goals.
Offer Your Persona the Buying Experience They Desire
You must next find out what kind of buying experience your persona expects. Do they prefer to speak with a sales rep face to face? How much time do they expect to spend with the sales rep? What kind of features will they expect to be included with your product? You can answer these questions by considering, first, what your particular business has to offer and, second, your persona’s personality and needs.
Know the Persona’s Objections Ahead of Time
Being aware of possible objections and preparing for them ahead of time will help you to gain the trust of your clients and allay their fears quickly and effectively. Ask yourself, “Is my persona nervous because he is a first time buyer? If not, what made him switch products or providers?” Anticipating objections is the most important step in overcoming them.
Identify Your Persona’s Information Sources
Find out where your persona is most likely to do research. Do they prefer to visit a store or office and speak to someone directly? Do they do online research? If so, are they more likely to Google the matter or check social networks? If you can identify where your potential clients are getting their information, you can present your products or services in the places where they are most likely to find them.
Identify Your Prospect, In Person
Once you have used the above to create a concrete buyer persona, be aware of your clients that fit the description. If you can identify people who match your persona, in person, you will be able to gain continued insight into what they value, what their pain points are, how they are finding your business, and what they like and dislike about your products and services.
Putting these points into practice will not only help you to create your buyer persona, they will help you to create inbound marketing campaigns that actually work. A clearly defined persona means consistent marketing messages and real results.
If you have already developed a buyer persona for your company, how has it helped your marketing or sales departments?