One of the most common marketing mistakes made by businesses is making their messaging about themselves, rather than about what their customer is looking for.

In order for your marketing to resonate with your audience, you must understand what facets of your product or service matter the most to your audience, and how your audience arrives at a decision to utilize what you’re offering. And, in order to know that, you must have a strong understanding of who your customer is.

To assist our customers in matching their marketing with their audience — and to achieve their best return on investment — we often work with them to create Buyer Personas and Purchase Journeys. These two exercises have the power to dramatically transform your marketing approach.

In this post, we’re going to examine how you can use these two concepts, and help illustrate the importance of implementing Buyer Personas and Purchase Journeys into your marketing, thereby increasing the success of your marketing campaigns.

Let’s begin.

What is a Buyer Persona and Why Should You Care?

Only 22% of consumers say that the average retailer understands them as an individual, and only 21% of consumers say that the communications they receive from retailers are ‘usually relevant.’

This goes to show, that for the most part, people aren’t having a particularly ‘personalized’ experience with most companies.

Because of this, consumers tend to find a lot of the marketing content and messaging sent their way irrelevant. And, if consumers find your marketing to be irrelevant, there’s a good chance that they’re going to ignore it.

This, of course, is bad for business.

Thankfully, you can overcome this problem with the help of a Buyer Persona!

By creating a Buyer Persona, you can increase the odds of potential customers finding your marketing communications relevant and insightful, and thereby increase the odds that your marketing will produce a return.

So, what exactly is a Buyer Persona?

A Buyer Persona is a representation of your ideal customer.

 

client

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When creating a Buyer Persona, you will list out the characteristics and demographics of the people you’re hoping to reach with your marketing campaign.

It’s not uncommon for Buyer Personas to contain a lot more detail than what has been illustrated above. In fact, if you take a look at the image below, you’ll see how this can be the case:

persona profile checklist

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The more detailed you can make your Buyer Persona, the more relevant your marketing will be for your target audience.

It’s worth noting that creating a Buyer Persona is not easy — especially if you’re just sitting alone in a room, staring at a blank page.

If you want to create something spectacular, it helps to question your target audience directly. When you speak to the people you’re trying to influence with your marketing, you can learn things that would have been harder to come by had you just opted to do things on your own.

In addition to the points shown in the image above, you might also want to learn the following about your target audience:

  • What are their pain points?
  • What are they afraid of?
  • Who influences them?
  • Where do they get most of their information from?
  • What are their likes and dislikes?

While Buyer Personas can be phenomenal in helping you to fine tune your marketing, if you really want to develop an effective marketing approach focusing just on Buyer Personas is not enough.

You also need to appreciate the concept of Purchase Journeys.

What are Purchase Journeys and Why do they Matter?

Most businesses tend to have a target audience made up of a variety of people in different ‘decision making’ stages. People in different decision making stages tend to have different needs, goals, and pain points.

More often than not, people will go through a sequence of stages before they actually become a customer of your business.

This sequence of stages is known as the Purchase Journey (also known as the Buyer’s Journey).

In general, there are three stages of the Purchase Journey:

  1. Awareness stage: The consumer becomes aware that they have a problem, but they don’t know exactly what the problem is.
  2. Consideration stage: The consumer knows what their problem is and they are looking for ways to solve it.
  3. Decision stage: The consumer is comparing solutions and is deciding why to choose one company over another.

The image below does a great job at showcasing how these three stages coexist and how they affect each other.

 

customer purchase journey

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If you want to get the best results from your marketing, you need to have different marketing approaches for different stages in the Purchase Journey.

As a result, you can’t rely on using a one size fits all Buyer Persona for your marketing. Rather, you need to identify each stage and its implications, and then create a matching Buyer Persona.

The process of creating a Buyer Persona for each stage of the Purchase Journey demands that you ask relevant questions.

For instance, if you’re creating a Buyer Persona for the Awareness Stage, you may need to ask:

  • How do consumers get their information?
  • Do they understand the cost of inaction?
  • How would consumers describe their problem without knowing what’s wrong?

For the Consideration Stage you might ask:

  • How do consumers compare and educate themselves on existing solutions?
  • How do they decide what is best for them?

For the Decision Stage you could ask:

  • What might stop consumers from engaging with your company?
  • What can your company offer, besides low price?
  • Who are the decision makers involved in the final decision?

There are, of course, many more questions that you could ask, but those should give you a good sense of what you should be aiming for.

Using the information you gather, you can create content and copy that is much more relevant for each stage of the Purchase Journey — all of which will help you develop highly targeted campaigns that are more likely to pay dividends.

In Summary

Marketing costs money, and it is integral to ensure that your investment provides the highest return for your business. Knowing your Buyer Personas and Purchase Journeys will most certainly increase the chances of your marketing being successful.

Take the time to map out the Buyer Personas and Purchase Journeys for your business and see what kind of positive results you can generate. By tailoring your messaging and content to your customers, through the various stages of their purchase journey, you will increase engagement and, ultimately, your marketing ROI.

 

Here are a few resources to help you get started:

Make My Persona (by HubSpot) (http://www.makemypersona.com)

Create a Marketing Persona for Your Business (by Market0) (https://www.marketo.com/cheat-sheets/marketing-personas)

How to Build an Epic Buyer Persona Profile (http://writtent.com/blog/building-an-epic-buyer-persona-profile-a-totally-comprehensive-guide)

7 Tips to Get Started with Customer Journey Mapping: (http://www.convinceandconvert.com/community-management/customer-journey-mapping)

Think with Google: The Customer Journey to Online Purchase (https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/tools/customer-journey-to-online-purchase.html#!/the-us/arts-and-entertainment/large/generic-paid-search)