So you want to create an engaging, well-designed marketing plan to reach consumers interested in purchasing the products and services you have to offer, but you’re not exactly sure where to begin. How will you know which strategies and tactics will catch the attention of the potential customers you are targeting? How should you structure your campaign? How will you decide which of your ideas are most relevant and practical for your marketing campaign?
In order to develop an effective marketing campaign, you must begin by establishing a thorough understanding of the audience you are marketing to. One effective way to do this is by creating a buyer persona.
A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer, a profile created based on your audience analysis and demographic research about the consumers you intend to target with your marketing campaign. It’s a tool you can use to define and understand your audience in a specific, detailed way.
An understanding of your audience is a foundational component of creating an effective, engaging marketing campaign, so creating an buyer persona should be a preliminary step in your campaign development process.
How do you go about creating a buyer persona? Here are some basic steps to take in order to create a detailed buyer persona that can help you to shape an effective marketing campaign.
1. Identify potential buyers, then collect demographic and psychographic information about the buyers you wish to target.
First, try to narrow down who your buyers are. For instance, if you sell pet food, your buyers are most likely people who have pets. If you sell cars, your buyers are individuals who need or want a new vehicle. Who are the people that will be interested in your product or service? Why will they be interested? What are their needs? How can you meet their needs? Understanding who your offerings will appeal to and why is an important first step to take when developing a buyer persona.
Once you’ve narrowed down your audience, try to establish an understanding of the basic characteristics of the buyers you intend to target with your marketing campaign. Consider factors like age, sex, household income range, marital status, family size, education level and other elements that will define WHO your buyers are.
Next, try to establish a general understanding of the psychographics that define your audience members. This information will help you to delve a bit deeper into your potential customers to help you understand how they think. Consider your targeted buyers beliefs, values, interests, hobbies, lifestyles and priorities. Think about what is important to your buyers, and how you might be able to emotionally appeal to them with your marketing campaign.
Sometimes a focus group or survey is necessary to collect demographic and psychographic data about potential customers. However, business owners and marketers who are very in touch with their client base can often craft accurate buyer personas based on their established understanding of the demographics and psychographics that characterize their ideal customers.
2. Establish a deeper, more personal understanding of your audience.
Once you’ve compiled psychographic and demographic information related to your audience, work towards understanding your target buyers more personally. Consider what your potential buyers lives are like. Why would they take advantage of the product or service you are offering? What keeps them up at night? What are their pain points? How can you help to resolve those pain points? Try to understand how you can help your potential buyers, and why they might turn to you or respond to your marketing campaign.
You’ll also want to take some time to consider what you want your target audience members to do. What is your campaign’s call to action going to be? Are you hoping customers will purchase a product? Come in for a consultation? Contact you for more information? Visit your website? The possibilities are endless, but the important thing is that you consider what you want your audience to do and make it clear in your call to action.
Additionally, in order to deeply understand your buyer and create an effective and accurate buyer persona, it’s important to consider how they might resist your efforts to market to them. What will keep them from carrying out your call to action? Why might they not want to engage with your marketing campaign?
You should also consider HOW to best reach out to your potential buyers. Not all consumers prefer to receive information in the same way. Try to understand where your target buyers go to find information. For instance, if your buyers are avid internet users, try to determine where on the internet they get their information? Are they avid Facebook users, Twitter followers, Pinterest pinners or Instagram fans? Do they prefer to browse websites or read online articles? Would they appreciate informational emails or would they rather seek out the information themselves? Make sure to consider and incorporate this important element into your buyer persona so you can give your audience what they want how they want it when you ultimately launch your marketing campaign.
3. Understand how your products or services relate and appeal to your target consumers.
Based on what you know about your target buyers and what you know about your own business or organization, try to grasp how your ideal customers will engage with you and understand how the products and services you offer will appeal to your target buyers. How will consumers make use of the products or services you offer? What about the products or services will appeal to your target buyers? Which products will appeal to which consumers? For instance, if you’re a travel agency, you’ll likely need to market your trips to Texas’ Rio Grande Valley for senior citizens during the winter very differently from how you market the European summer get-aways you offer for recent college grads. The two trips will appeal to very different audiences in different ways, so it is important to consider your audience and potential buyers very carefully when developing a marketing plan.
During this phase, you should also consider your unique position in the market. What makes your products and services stand out? What do you have to offer your target buyers that is unique from your competitors? Brainstorm creative ways to catch buyers’ attention, appeal to their emotions and establish a lasting connection with them.
4. Compile this information into a well-organized profile of an ideal audience member.
Once you’ve collected the necessary information about your target buyers, compile your buyer persona into an accessible, well-organized document. Put as much information into the persona document as necessary to help you connect with your audience. Consider naming your persona, assigning it a personality or imagining its life story. You want your buyer persona to be as realistic as possible so you can really personalize and target your campaign to align with the qualities that characterize your target buyers.
Make sure your buyer persona document is accessible to everyone on your marketing team so you can unify your efforts and ensure that all marketing efforts are targeting the same buyers and audience members. Additionally, reference your buyer persona frequently throughout the marketing campaign development process. A firm grasp on your target audience is necessary for any marketing campaign to be successful.
Start with a Buyer Persona!
Creating an engaging, well-designed marketing plan that reaches consumers interested in purchasing your product or service is the goal of all marketers and marketing agencies. Begin the process by developing a detailed, accurate buyer persona and you’ll have a strong foundation upon which you can build a strategic, targeted and successful marketing campaign.
To learn more about buyer personas and how to use them in your inbound marketing efforts, check out InBound Marketing 101: What are Buyer Personas?