The following is part of our six-part series counting down to the new year. We've included six ways to see improved results in 2013.
Happy holidays to you all! Given that it's the very end of the year, we thought that we'd finish off the end of the year with what we consider to be the top 6 things that you should be doing right now if you want to be making the biggest impact (no pun intended) online. So sit back with some of that left over eggnog, get comfy, and let’s get to the first item on the list: creating detailed buyer personas.
So why kick off the end of the year with buyer personas? Because if you don't know who's buying from you, you don't know how to properly market you business. If you've been on our blogs or checked out our offers before, then you may have read our free eBook, “The Ultimate Guide For Creating Profitable Buyer Personas”. In this book we go through the buyer persona process, step by step, but in this blog we're going to try and kick it up a notch. After all, we want you to start 2013 off right and with the best marketing plan in place, and there's no better time to get to it than now.
Asking The Right People The Right Questions
So that you can receive valuable responses and information, you have to find the best people to interview. Generally speaking, there are three different groups of individuals that you can go to for help here: your customers (both good and bad), referrals, and prospects (you may choose to use third party networks as well if you want to get some information from people who are completely removed from you business).
Customers: This is definitely THE place to start conducting interviews. As they've already engaged with your company, they'll be able to give you a good idea of who's buying from you. Make sure you interview both the good customers who like your product, you brand, and everything else about you, as well as the bad or negative customers who hate your brand and/or your product. This will help you see a pattern of who likes and who dislikes your business.
Referrals: Referrals are a must if you're planning on venturing into a new market, or if you haven’t gotten you business started yet. Interview co-workers, friends, and people who are on your social media lists.
Prospects/Leads: It's important that you balance out your interviews so that you have information from those who have purchased from you, and those who haven't. Your prospects or leads can provide invaluable information on who your buyer is. Make sure that you keep track of whether or not they engage any further with you company.
There's no question that recruiting people to interview can be a bit of a pain. Customers tend to be fairly easy to recruit as they likely want to provide their opinion on the product or service that they got from you. But for referrals and prospects, you may need to do a bit more “convincing” to have them participate.
- Reward them. Incentives, like a gift card or a promo item from you company is often all you need to nab some interviewees.
- Reassure them. Can you remember the last time you appreciated receiving a sales call? We can't either. Right from the start, reassure your interviewees that this is NOT a sales call and that it's for market research purposes.
- Be Flexible. You want it to be easy for them to say “yes” to your call, so make sure you take their own needs into consideration. Set up a time that works for them, send a calendar invite via email and follow up.
The Interview Process
You need at minimum 5 interviews to really get a good idea of who you buyer is, and who your buyer isn't. If you're just starting out of the gate though, aim for at 15 interviews.
Now we won't get into the meat of what types of questions you should be asking, as we do go through that in our eBook “ The Ultimate Guide For Creating Profitable Buyer Personas”, but you should have questions in the following categories:
- Personal Background/demographics
- Shopping Preferences
- Watering Hole Questions (what do you read? What social media sites have you signed up with?)
With every question and response that you receive, you should ask the most important question of all: WHY? The answer to that question is what will tell you a whole lot about you buyer, even more than their initial responses to you questions.
Piecing Buyer Personas Together
Now comes the fun part: uncovering your customer.
Grab a pen and paper and write down information such as:
- Background details about them, such as their education, hobbies, career
- Demographic information such as income, urbanicity, age range and gender
What you also want to be on the lookout for here are any buzz words that your interviewees used, as you can later then incorporate these same words or mannerisms into you marketing campaigns to really have your campaigns “speak” to your leads.
This is where you'll be glad that you asked all of those follow-up “why” questions. What's your persona passionate about? What do they hate? Look at things such as their:
- Primary and secondary goals
- The challenges that they face
- How your product/service can help them achieve these goals
The Sales Team
Now it's time to impart you invaluable wisdom to your sales team, the folks who'll be following up and selling items to your “buyer persona”. To help them out, provide them with more than just the above information. Give them some of the real quotes and buzz words that your persona used.
This will help you sales team understand and relate to your persona. Highlight any common objections and objectives amongst the interviewees as well. And most importantly, try to include a real life picture of who you think you persona would look like. It may sound silly, but it's incredibly effective. We've seen that along really improve messaging and conversions. It always helps to “put a name to a face”!