You may have heard the terms ‘client profiles,’ ‘customer profiles,’ or ‘buyer personas’ brandished around and understand that they have something to do with marketing. These essentially all boil down to the same thing: your ideal customer.
A good buyer persona can keep your cost per conversion down and increase the customer’s lifetime value. Search Engine Land notes that “if it costs more than 25 percent of your [Lifetime Value] to a close a buyer persona, something in your marketing needs to change.”
But exactly how important is it to create a customer profile for your ideal audience? The answer is that it’s very important with 71% of companies who exceed revenue targets using personas, and 90% of companies with personas understanding their target audience better.
With these stats in mind let’s quickly look at what exactly a client profile is.
A client profile (or buyer persona) is a semi-fictional representation of the ideal customer or customers you want to target. They help you determine via measurable steps who your target customer is, and help you imagine the real person behind that mobile or computer screen.
Without knowing who that person is, it’ll be difficult for you to write content, create videos, or even send emails that your audience connects with. This means that when it comes time to buy, a potential customer may look elsewhere for a company that does connect with them personally.
As marketeers, we hate it when this happens so we want to share with your our 5 best practices when building client profiles.
1. Interview Your Best Customers or Clients
If you don’t have an understanding of your current customers, it can be hard to create a profile for potential new customers. Reach out to your best customers and ask them about themselves. They’ll (usually) be more than happy to be approached and regarded as a valued customer.
You’ll want to find out what makes them tick. Ask about their background – what job do they have? How have they got to where they are? Do they have a family? And so forth. Other details to determine include their gender, age, marital status, income, and location. You will also want to ask what a typical day looks like to them – what’s important to them? How do they handle themselves? What type of person are they? How does your product meet their needs or answer a problem they previously had?
Find out as much as you can about your customers. You can collate and analyse the data later. With this information you should hopefully see patterns and similarities between your existing customers.
2. Consider Their Challenges
Now you know a little about this customer’s background, think about what challenges them. You may have a recruiter who wants to find the best candidates, but they worry about the competition. Does your company have software that will set their recruitment agency apart?
Inc. Magazine provide a good explanation for why it's important to outline your potential customers' challenges or 'pain points'. They state that 'pain is a reminder that unless your prospect has a need to solve a problem, they are not going to buy a product'. They further that all purchases--even the seeming impulse buys--have an underlying reason. Understanding what problems your potential customers may need to solve helps you identify solutions your company can provide.
How do you find out about your customer challenges? Well, you can ask them for one. Also consider challenges at the “Awareness Stage” may not be directly related to your business or product but it’s important that you understand those challenges too to ensure you have content to match and capture those leads.
Think of the awareness stage as the research phase. If you are a recruitment company based in London and want to capture candidates searching for jobs an awareness stage challenge might be affordable housing, with the resulting search term ‘how to find affordable places to live in London’. Understanding these earlier awareness stage challenges is key to ensuring you can produce content to match.
3. Think Who You Do Not Want to Target
Most companies, whether they know it or not, have people they don’t want to target. Those people may be one-time buyers, people who browse without purchasing, or people it would cost too much of your resources to acquire. Think of who these people are and exclude them from your target market. These are known as ‘negative personas’ You want to speak only to those who are ready to buy or will be ready to buy after some nurturing. For example, if you’re an estate agent who sells or rents high-end luxury apartments, you wouldn’t want to target the student market or a low-income demographic.
HubSpot explains why it’s worth doing the legwork to understand those that won’t become customers. They suggest talking to those customers who had a low average spend or who provided negative feedback. Knowing who to target and who to exclude can help you hone your marketing message.
4. Examine How to Market to This Audience
You may have an idea for one customer profile all the way to half a dozen, so you need to figure out how to market to this audience. What different messages will you write to target each member of this audience? There may also be messaging you can create that targets all of your personas at once.
For example, in retail, if you’re trying to sell perfume, you’ll either target the women who will buy the perfume by making your product seem exclusive and desirable, or you’ll target men (or women) who will buy that product for someone special. The messaging in your marketing materials will vary depending on the audience.
Consider who this audience is (and isn’t!) and how to reach them – in person, via social media, in magazines, through blogs, via your website, and more.
5. Write Your Buyer Persona
Now you have an idea who you’re targeting, what their pain points (problems) are, and how to market to them, it’s time to write your buyer personas. It’s important to create a formal document of who your target audience is because everyone should be on the same page. If you asked all of the management team and the director(s) of your company who their ideal customer is, would it be the same?
OnBrand Magazine’s “State of Branding” Report explains that 72% of companies now realise the importance of building an audience – instead of taking a direct sales approach through online advertisements. In order to build an audience, you have to provide them with engaging content they want, build their trust, and earn their recognition.
Having your personas documented makes life easier for everyone in your business - trust us! Review and revise your customer profiles routinely so that you’ll always know who you want to reach. After all, your target audience may change and evolve over time, particularly if you add new products or services to your business.
Now you know the best practices for building your client profiles, it’s time to get started. No matter your type of business, everything comes down to your target audience. If you don’t know who they are, everything you do may just be missing the mark.
How exactly do I write a buyer persona?
If you’re unsure what to do next, we’re here to help. We have put together a handy guide to everything you need to understand about client profiles. Our guidebook also includes FREE templates so you can start creating your own personas for your company. We’ll guide you through the process, step by step. Easy! Download your free copy of our customer profile template now.