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How well do you know your target audience? We mean really know them.

All successful online marketing starts with your audience. But it’s not enough to know the approximate ages, occupations and locations of your audience. You need to understand how they spend their time, what makes them tick, and what keeps them up at night.

That’s the only way to create marketing campaigns that engage and convert floods of new customers on social media, and any marketing channel.

So, how can you gain this depth of understanding?

Create buyer personas.

 What is a buyer persona?

Buyer personas are defined by HubSpot as “a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.”

By creating true-to-life buyer personas, you will understand your customers better and be able to tailor your marketing and content to their specific needs, desires and behaviours.

It might look something like this:

(Source: Single Grain)

 Why do you need buyer personas?

Knowing your potential customers is the only way to win them over. Your buyer personas are your potential customers. They are the ones you should be focusing on attracting, converting, and delighting in everything you do.

These people are the whole reason your business exists. So, if you don’t know exactly their greatest needs, their deepest fears and their daily challenges, you are probably wasting a lot of valuable time and money on marketing that will never hit the mark.

Creating buyer personas will help you:

  • Create and tailor content that engages and speaks to your potential customers in their language
  • Help you (or your sales team) prioritise leads and focus on those who are most likely to convert
  • Identify where potential customers spend their time online, so you can spend your digital marketing budget in the right places
  • Understand their needs and common challenges, and answer these through your sales and marketing efforts.

 How to create buyer personas

The first rule of buyer personas is to forget what you think you know about your customers.

Your goal is to identify your customers’ real goals, pain points, objections, and other unique characteristics.

Here’s how to create true-to-life buyer personas:

      1. Talk to sales and customer service teams.

Ask them:

  • Which customers were easiest to convert?
  • In your opinion, who is our ideal customer?
  • Think of 3 current customers who fit this and describe them.
  • What content, channels and messaging were most effective in closing the deal?
  • What are the key objectives and barriers to purchase our ideal customer raise?

     

      2. Research on forums, like Quora and Reddit.

Find out:

  • What do people complain about when buying or using services/products like ours?
  • What do customers say about us?
  • What do customers say about our competitors?

     

       3. Investigate real customers’ social profiles.

Look for:

  • Likes and interests
  • What kind of posts do they share?
  • When are they most active online?

     

      4. Send surveys to current customers.

Make sure you:

  • Offer an incentive / prize draw
  • Include open-ended qualitative questions and quantitative questions

       

       5. Interview existing customers.

Pick up the phone and talk to your ideal customers. Choose a range of people from different backgrounds. Ideally, you should consider some who have purchased your product/service and some who have purchased from a direct competitor.

Ask them questions about their lifestyle, as well as their buying behaviours.

Lifestyle questions should include:

  • What does a day in your life look like?
  • What keeps you up at night?
  • What are your goals for the next year, 5 years, 10 years?
  • What do you do for fun?
  • Who are the most important people in your life?

Buying behaviour questions include:

  • How do your make decisions about buying products or services?
  • Where do you go for information when buying?
  • What experience are you looking for with our product?
  • What are your objections to using our product?
  • What traits and values do you value most in a company?

 

This handy template from Content Marketing Institute lays out the kind of information you need to collect to craft a real-life representation of your customers.

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