Knowing who your target is is key to knowing how to target them and do business. The intention here is to target a group of people with the goals, interests, and problems as your ideal customer. You want to target people who will buy your stuff. Pretty logic, no?
Target audience vs buyer personas
Setting this title as target audience vs buyer personas makes you think it's one or the other but you couldn't be more off. A target audience is a collection of buyer personas and what they have in common.
A target audience is thus an overview of your business's customer base. When you want to see the specific groups of people you are targeting, you can zoom in on one of the buyer personas to see specific pain points and challenges, ...
According to research every year, $37 billion is wasted in ad spend ads that fail to engage the target audience. That's just a massive number, growing every single day because companies skip the research phase and base ad campaigns on assumptions they often wrongly have.
Let's help you not to make the same mistake anymore, let's dive in!
Creating buyer personas, how to get started?
The best way to get an overview of your target audiences is to create buyer personas to build effective strategies afterward. Target personas are critical, we can't stress this enough!
In marketing for example they help to focus keyword research efforts and are used as references when crafting copy. They can also help in the identification and prioritization of promotional activities.
The more personal you make this persona the better the persona. Just for the sole reason that the more details you will collect about it, the more you feel related to it. Look at your existing customers as well, they will indicate your right target audience.
Give they true names, and a profile picture, and use them in your decision-making with these names.
Just a "Persona 1" would not work. Instead, create a memorable name like Busy Boris for a person who is busy in life or a Social Sally for someone addicted to social media.
A buyer persona typically consists of:
- Demographics - What's the background story of your persona and what's his/her age, location, gender, education, family status, ...
- Professional status - Here we write down everything about the professional status. What is their job title, industry, level of income, and education, ...
- Psychographics - What is he/she trying to accomplish in life and at the job level? Where do they believe in and what do they value?
- Influences and information sources - Who is of influence to them, what platforms do they read, newspapers, magazines, ... Which events do they attend or books do they read?
- Pain points and challenges - What are the challenges and pain points they struggle with? How would they want to overcome these obstacles and what do they fear most?
- Purchasing process - In which step of the decision-making process are they located, what would stop them from making the purchase, and what could trigger them? Are they frequent buyers of your product or service?
Make it specific enough if you want it to work. Your target customer isn't every male born between 1940 and 1960, who is married with children, drinks beer, and living in the US. Then both Donald Trump and Joe Biden would be possible customers.
Negative personas, identifying the wrong customers
Another way to approach getting towards your target audience is getting a view of who you don't want as a customer. This looks like an immense task, but it's not that hard.
A negative persona is not about the other part of the world that is not worth targeting. Instead, it's about the person who might think your solution is right for them but who you know will never buy because you lack features or for whom your product or service is too advanced.
Setting up a negative buyer persona is something you only do when you are sure you have finished setting up your customer personas. If you don't know who your ideal customer is, how will you know who isn't?
Who don't you want to be your customer, or who will (for now?) not be the right customer in the end? Setting up a negative buyer persona goes the same way; you list their demographics, professional status, psychographics, and influences, ... You know the drill by now!
A well-built negative buyer persona can help fine-tune your marketing messages, how to create content, and marketing strategy even further.
In addition, it will refine your incoming leads even more so your sales team won't waste their time on leads that will never convert, streamlining the sales process even more.
A buyer persona is not just for marketing and sales teams
Buyer personas can drive many essential processes inside your company. They are not just linked to the sales and marketing teams of the world, but they help you at the product level to craft a roadmap, and pitch to investors.
Looking at marketing efforts, creating personas, will also help you in developing a relevant content strategy that will put you in front of your potential clients, your ideal audience.
Craft your product roadmap
A buyer persona will give you insights into problems you might be able to solve with your product. Instead of building a feature or solution for just 10% of your audience, you can define what 90% of your audience is looking for in your tool.
Maybe even using a negative persona to work on a soon-to-be solution to widen your target audience.
The investor's point of view
For an investor, it's important to invest time and conduct market research. If you can tell them what your target audience looks like, you can quickly define a potential local and global market. Next to the buyer persona, it might be useful to do some research on investors as well.
Who is your ideal investor and who isn't? Using audience segments for investors can be a way to find out who you want on your ship for years to come. Money is one thing, but you have to work together as well on a very personal level.
Content marketing strategy
Last but certainly not least, it's immensely important for your content strategy. Often you, like your competitors, are currently targeting your current customers with content. Your content is often all about the product, product, product, and rarely about the problems you are actually solving with that product.
By now I think you should realize that your ideal customers are looking for a solution to their problems. They are not yet in the buying process but are still trying to figure out if there is a solution to their problems and what this problem actually is.
Let your buyer persona drive your content development. You learn what pain points you should be targeting in blog posts, and you understand the habits of your potential customer and thus which channels to target them on.
Whether it is social media, podcasts, video, or guest blogging. You will get them the content they actually want to read on the channels they are willing to read it on resulting in more and better-qualified leads.
From buyer personas to a target audience
Once we have a few buyer personas in place it's time to take a look at the target audience in general. It would help if you had both, so this next step is equally crucial.
We will get them all together and will use them to check for similarities they have. What are their goals, the problems they all face, what's the impact on their business or personal life because of these, and what do they desire most?
You should remember that this is not the endpoint. Your product or service will evolve, your market will expand, and new opportunities will open up.
Besides looking at your growing customer base, the leads that come in, and gathering feedback from sales and your support team, combining audiences with analytics tools is a crucial part to spot new opportunities and keep developing your marketing strategy.
Go out, redefine your brand personas and align your marketing campaigns with them, you will see great results very soon. Guaranteed!