If if your answer is yes, then continue reading, because this article reveals the powerful tool that so many small business owners neglect. It is highly effective, easy to use, and can completely shift the way you run your business.
Have you ever heard any of these phrases used before? Target Market, Target Audience, Buyer Persona, Marketing Persona, Customer Avatar
These are the phrases used to describe the semi-fictional character(s) who represent your ideal customer and ideal prospect. Businesses create these characters based on internal data on existing customers as well as external information gathered from market research. The Success of your business’ marketing, sales, product development, customer loyalty, and delivery of services depend upon how well you know your ideal customer.
Countless times, I have heard people say to me something like, “I don’t need a customer persona or avatar, because my business appeals to everyone.” I’m sorry, but you’re wrong. That is simply untrue.
If you are a real estate agent, for example, you may think that you customer persona is simply anyone who needs a home to buy, rent, or sell. Nope. That is the service you offer, but who are YOU in this world of real estate? Why should a customer choose to work with you? What are the things about past customers that you’ve noticed? Perhaps they are all high-income men and most of them are bachelors work in high-tech looking to invest. Knowing that little bit of information off the top of your head already gives you an advantage.
Clearly identifying your customer persona can support your decision making process. Everything from:
Seth Godin says, “Rule one: You can build a business on the foundation of great customer service. Rule two: The only way to do great customer service is to treat different customers differently.”
And I couldn’t agree more. Knowing each customer is a big ask, so at least identifying a customer persona that can be applied to your best customers makes a big difference.
In my previous article about Market Segments, I wrote about market research and provided guidance for creating market segments. Read through that post first, because it gives away many of the steps towards creating your customer persona. “Market research costs time and money. Right? Well, yes but you can take on some of that leg work to reduce the overall cost and use the time spent more effective. Whether you handle your market research yourself or get outside support, having a foundation for it makes a big difference.”
This is the part where I admit that creating a customer persona is not “crazy simple” as some marketing folks may have you believe. However, it’s something you can definitely do if you’re willing to commit a little time to it. Here is the short checklist:
1. Write out a short plan to organize yourself. Create goals to keep you on track and accountable.
2. Look closely at your existing customers and prospects for insights. What do you know about them already?
3. Identify the holes in your knowledge. Write a list of the missing details you want to know / need to know.
6. Analyze the data you’ve collected (note the difference between Qualitative and Quantitative analysis)
7. Create your customer personas based on what you learned.
Are you feeling overwhelmed?
You don’t need to do this alone. After going through this process myself, I learned a lot about my ideal customer, myself, and my business. It was a great process that made a big impact on me. In fact, you could say that market research and my curiosity about wanting to understand others is how I got into marketing work in the first place. [A story for another time].