When you first launched your company, you likely were willing to sell anything to anyone at any price, right? You quickly learned you were working for peanuts doing projects you didn't like for people you liked even less. You then moved into phase two.
During phase two, you became a bit more selective as you built your business turning down an occasional client or project that wasn't a good fit but let's face it, you weren't going deep enough.
Now, with all the marketing messages and information overload, you're frustrated at not being able to reach your target audience. You're overwhelmed with the volume of information you need to sort through in a day. You imagine your potential clients are feeling the same way. Is anyone listening!?#!@%
Does this have a familiar ring to it? If so, you're not alone. Unless you have a marketing budget of $250,000 annually, what your business needs to cut through the market clutter to be heard is a marketing persona!
Several years ago a colleague and former client, Luis Maimoni from Fresh!, brought the subject of marketing personas to my attention. At the time, I actually thought it was one of those nice ideas that large corporations implement. As a small business entrepreneur, I didn't feel I could "risk" it. The idea of creating a marketing persona felt like a gamble. I thought I would be limiting my company's client options and I just wasn't ready to make that leap. Wow! What I wouldn't give to turn back the clock to listen to the wise counsel of Luis. He was a marketing genius, after all!
The notion of marketing personas was first introduced into the marketplace in 2008 by David Scott in his best-selling book, The New Rules of Marketing & PR. Marketing personas take defining your target audience one step further by adding greater detail to your ideal client profile. It's almost as if you know your potential client – and their needs – as good as, if not better, than they. What better way for your potential client to feel heard – and make sure your business IS heard among the throng.
Why It Matters
Although marketing personas are a fictional depiction of your ideal client, marketing personas convey further detail to what otherwise seems like a nameless, faceless entity. It actually reminds me of the Build A Bear concept where shoppers go through an interactive process in which the stuffed animal of their choice is assembled and customized.
By "building" your marketing persona, you'll discover a deeper understanding of your ideal clients wants, needs, shopping habits, desires, dreams, and challenges. And, as a result, you'll:
- Garner greater interest in your service by creating articles, newsletters, blog topics, and social media posts that are of primary interest to your audience.
- Get better results by being at the right place at the right time with the right message by identifying the "watering holes" where your ideal client hangs out
- Improve sales by developing products and services that better meet your client needs rather than guessing and hoping that someone will buy what you launch.
- Boost referral generation by clarifying who you're looking for to your referral partners rather than make them guess who would be a good fit.
Where to Start
It's possible your marketing person already exists within your current client base! Consider your most favorite and profitable clients while you respond to these questions:
- What is their approximate age?
- Are they male or female?
- What is their educational level?
- What is their income level?
- What industry are they in?
- What challenges do they experience?
- What are their goals?
- What is their most pressing concern at work?
- What magazines or blogs do they read?
- What associations and/or social networks do they participate in?
Don't know the answers to these questions? Reach out to your favorite clients for a chat about what's most important to them.
The Big Finish
Once you've completed your marketing persona, be sure to give him/her a name and launch your relationship. Your marketing persona makes it easy to find your ideal client and for your ideal client to find you! And, it helps you to create content and resources that your ideal client find most appealing. Your marketing persona makes sure you're at the right place, at the right time, with the right message.
BTW, be sure to ask us about our marketing personas, "Becca" and "Rob".