You and I and your Mom know that your product is amazing. We know it in our heart of hearts. Sadly, not everyone else is as convinced.
So, why should they buy from you? I see you there, shrugging your shoulders at me. Does this question leave you stumbling for an answer? That’s ok. I’m here to help!
Your customer has an infinite number of choices, but fundamentally they all boil down to three basic types.
- They buy from you (YAY!)
- They buy from your competitor (damn them!)
- They don’t buy at all (uhhhhh…..)
When you are building a marketing strategy you are basically trying to steer your customers away from option 2 or 3. In order to steer anyone in your direction, you have got to have an understanding of what is motivating him or her to buy (or not). One of the best ways to understand your customer is through the creation of buyer personas.
What the heck is a buyer persona?
A buyer persona is symbol that represents a real world customer who buys your products.
Large corporations spend lots of time and money doing qualitative and quantitative research to build these personas. Resources that you, the small businessperson, do not have. So how do you create a persona?
Well lucky for you the research you need to do here pretty much boils down to asking people the right questions and categorizing the responses. As a small business person you have lots of access to your customers. You can observe them make decisions to buy or not which gives you a chance to build and refine your personas based on the best method possible; direct observation.
The five things you need to know.
According to Adele Revalla, the reigning queen of buyer persona building you need to determine five things. (PS I highly recommend her new book Buyer Personas: How to Gain Insights into Your Customer’s Expectations Align Your Marketing Strategies and Win More Business. You should totally check it out!)
- What is the trigger that leads your customer to want to buy something you make? Why are they willing to give you some of their hard earned money? What made them decide to consider buying your organic, non-GMO honey hazelnut butter with lavender? Sure they are hungry, but that is not uncommon.
- Are they worried about their own health… maybe the Dr. told them to watch what they eat?
- Is it for their kids? Maybe they read that diet changes could impact kid’s behavior.
- What do they think your product will do for them? Don’t confuse this with your own product benefits. Your benefit might be that its healthy… what it does for them might be something else entirely.
- Maybe it saves them from making it for themselves or, gets their kid to eat a healthy food they might not otherwise eat.
- What does it really do for them? What positive results do they expect from using your product?
- Why wouldn’t they consider buying your product? This may be real or it might not.
- Maybe they think your product is too expensive, or hard to find.
- Maybe they aren’t sure about the quality of your product.
- Maybe they don’t think it really does what you say it does.
- Who impacts the decision to buy? If you are selling snacks… like my imaginary Honey Lavender Almond Butter who gets a say?
- Maybe Mom does not want to be stuck with the whole jar if little Suzy doesn’t like it?
- Maybe the hubster thinks its too girly?
- Too weird for Grandma or the other soccer Mom's?
- How much influence does she give to each of the folks who might have to eat this Almond butter?
- What impacts their decision to buy? What attributes of your product matter to them as they decide to drop that jar in the basket?
- Is it taste, wholesomeness, sourcing of products, environmental impact, community impact, packaging, smell?
- What weight do each of these have to this customer?
What to do with this information
Once you have collected this information pull it all together and categorize it. Look for patterns and group the patterns together. Give this group of attributes a name and a bio based on what you have learned.
Harried Millenial Hipster:
Wants to buy locally produced and sources foods that offer her convenience and nutrition. She particularly likes the small convenience size she can throw in her gym bag and eat on the go after her workout.
Fretful Helicopter Mom:
Wants convenient tasty foods that are healthy for her kids but don’t make her look weird in front of the other Mom’s.
Knowing the different things that matter to Harried Millenial Hipster and Fretful Helicopter Mom will help you know what kinds of products to offer each of them and how to talk about your product with them.
Give building personas a go! (I’d love to hear about what you are doing so drop me a line in the comments below!)