The Power of Personas for Your Small Business

Are you guilty of one-size-fits-all marketing?  Do your prospects or customers all receive the same, universal set of messages about your products?  If so, you’re certainly not alone.  Many businesses, large and small, do very little to target their messaging or content to specific audiences and as a result miss out on an easy means of improving their marketing performance.
The basic exercise of identifying unique customer groups and aligning website content, product offers and other marketing to their specific needs can have a huge business impact.  It’s an easy way to improve your bottom line.
Different buyer types are often referred to as buyer profiles or buyer personas.  The approach to creating buyer personas varies widely from very detailed, in-depth and sophisticated to broad brush and basic.  There are benefits for both approaches, but most small businesses can benefit from a relatively basic persona exercise.

Identify your core buyers

First and foremost it’s valuable to go through the process of identifying your most important buyer types.  Which personas are essential to your business?  It can be helpful if you have sales or other data to inform this process but chances are you have enough direct customer experience to identify your two or three most important core buyers.  An easy way to approach this is to think about which customers you would select if you had to limit your entire business to serving just two or three customer types.   If the survival of your business relied on these buyers, chances are your selections will make a lot of sense.

What’s the primary message?  

For each of your personas it’s essential to identify the primary message they need to hear.  Not what you want to say, but what they need to hear.  What triggered their interest in your business?  What features are most important to them?  What are their expectations for how your product or service will be delivered?  What are the common scenarios associated with each persona?  Focus on understanding the customer’s perspective and then shape your message to align with what they need.  

Provide a path

After you’ve successfully defined your key personas and their related stories, you need to provide a clear path for each persona.  For example, a common website best practice is creating a page, or series of pages, focused on an individual profile.  Those pages can contain persona-specific testimonials, imagery, and product or service usage examples.  Even if the underlying features and benefits are the same across multiple audiences, presenting the content in the unique context of each buyer profile will make your message more relevant and improve the performance of your website.  
Don’t be overwhelmed by the marketing jargon, recognizing buyer personas is critically important and the process to identify and address their unique needs doesn’t need to be complicated.  Improved relevance = improved response = improved revenue.  

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Devin Sears
Devin Sears | Field Marketing Manager

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