Open your eyes and really take a hard look at your customer. Is the picture clear, or are are you fudging a bit?
As you market your business, train yourself to get laser-focused on your “ideal client.”
Creating a buyer persona — fictional characters based on true-to-life prospects — is one way to do that. If you understand your customer’s environment, motivations, job title, gender, age, hobbies, goals and fears, social media preferences, etc.; you’ll connect with them better.
The idea is to see the world so clearly through their eyes, that you can predict where they order take-out, what kind of car they’d buy, and even their communication style and tone of voice. Once you know all those details (that may not have anything outwardly to do with your products), here’s the surprising benefit as you build your business: you directly appeal to the type of person who’d buy your products.
You can stop wasting time creating content and marketing materials for someone who will never buy your stuff, and start speaking the language of those who will.
The only problem with this exercise is that sometimes you’re blind to some very real characteristics that demand your attention.
Avoid these nine mistakes as you flesh out your buyer personas for your marketing toolkit:
1. You see what you want to see, focusing on your direct experience and failing to see a bigger picture. It’s not always a bad thing to envision a customer you already serve, but you may miss other opportunities for future growth if you’re only looking at the past.
2. You only see what your colleagues see, paying too much attention to the input of one department over another (sales over service, for example).
3. You leave out parts. You just don’t want to include that bit about the long commute, or the hoops she has to jump through to get approval for a budget because, quite frankly, you don’t really know what to do about those problems. Ah, but there’s opportunity there, if you look closely!
4. You merge two different personas together into one, taking certain parts from one (has young children) and blending them with another (loves to travel). Keep different target markets separate so you don’t send a confusing message to each.
5. You mistake what they see for something you see. For example, they see a lack of cooperation from their children; you see a failure in household organization. Terminology is so important. Be careful to phrase problems the way they would.
6. You assume their problem can be solved with your solution. (When you only have a hammer, all problems look like nails.)
7. You are overly-influenced by your “manager’s” point of view…and that manager may be YOU! You pay too much attention to the future of your company, or how your business is structured to deliver service to your client, and other details that your customer couldn’t care less about.
8. You focus too much on what you see they need instead, of what they tell you they want.
9. You compare yourself with your competition, skewing your results. You’re using someone else’s (your competition’s) buyer persona.
Love is blind. It’s one of the catch-22s of an entrepreneur with heart.
A solid buyer persona is often elusive because you want to serve them so well. Before really understanding them completely, you want to jump in and help. Unfortunately, your best intentions may hinder you from seeing the nuances of the real problem you can help solve.
When you take off your rose-colored glasses and see your customer for who she is, warts and all, then you’ll have a buyer persona you can speak to and share with your team.