Updated: Jan 3
If you read my previous blog post, Who plays the main character in your business story?, you now have a basic understanding of what a persona is. But maybe you’re still asking yourself, Is it really that necessary?
Here are 4 ways a persona helps your small business do better marketing.
1) A persona helps you build trust with your audience
The Know-Like-Trust model provides a helpful framework for the sales process (as well as for marketing). When someone feels that you listen to and understand them, they’ll come to trust you more. Trust will allow that person to open up to you more and move further into those sales conversations.
Here’s how the persona plays into this: The process of developing your persona forces you to dig deep into what’s going on in their life so that you can speak it back to them. When someone hears you use phrases that they would say and discuss the topics relevant to them, they’ll start to believe that you spent time thinking about them. If you can mention the real, specific challenges that are preventing them from getting from Point A to Point B, they’ll know that you’ve been listening.
This listening can be in a literal conversation, but it can also be more of a higher-level listening. More formal tactics such as market research and interviews can help you in this process, but so can informal methods, such as listening to current clients, and picking up phrases at networking events.
The point is that you’re demonstrating that you’ve actually thought about them, not just about yourself. Seeing this will make it easier for them to trust you.
2) A Persona helps you remove the guesswork
With customer-focused marketing, you’re taking the responsibility of connecting the dots of why someone should do business with you off of your prospect. What do I mean by that?
Too often, business owners and marketers expect the consumer to make the connection between how great the product or service is and how it will alleviate the customer’s pain points to help them achieve their goals.
You don’t want to leave it up to your prospect to draw the link between their needs and your service. People are busy and have a lot on their minds. What might be obvious to you would likely take a few moments (or more) of consideration from them, and the truth is, they probably just won’t do that.
You can establish this relationship for them in a way that feels more like guiding than pushing. You make it about them, but you make it clear. Speak to the challenges that you know they are experiencing, and then draw the line to how you can help, so that (and this is an important “so that”) they can fulfill their responsibilities or achieve their goals. Remember, it’s not about you, it’s about them.
If you want to hear more about this topic of making the connection, listen in to this Facebook Live.
3) A persona makes your marketing more consistent & efficient
A persona helps you do marketing more efficiently and consistently. Your persona gives you a starting point, a foundation off of which to build. Next time you go to write an email sequence, or design a mailer, work on your website, or write a social media post, instead of starting from scratch, you can review your persona and pull out a piece to expand upon.
It also helps keep your messaging consistent, whether you’re doing it or someone else. With a Persona Profile (and other messaging documentation derived from that persona), you’ll be using the same key points and phrases across all your marketing tactics.
Think this sounds boring? It’s actually more effective. Remember how busy and distracted everyone is? They are not studying your website or social media posts as if they’ll be tested on it. They’re skimming. They’re multitasking. They’re thinking about a lot of other things. By keeping your points consistent, you’re subtly and slowly reinforcing the value of your service. Each message gets them one step closer to that clicking point.
4) A persona helps keep your business relevant
The basic fact of the matter is that without clients, your business doesn’t exist. It doesn’t matter how great you think your service is, if no one has a need for it (or understands the need for it), you’re out of business.
By diligently remaining focused on your customers, you help ensure that what you offer will be useful to people. When you’re listening closely, you can identify the adjustments that could make your product or service more helpful.
Alternatively, it could be that your offering is useful, but you’re not angling it in the right way so that people understand. By adjusting your messaging to speak in a way that makes sense to the end-user, you’re positioning your business to remain relevant in the eyes of your customers. And that’s what matters most.
In short, if you want to have a lasting impact on the world, you need to lay down your dreams and help others achieve theirs.
What it comes down to is the fact that all business is really just about people.
This is true for B2C and B2B, product makers and service providers, big companies and small businesses. Keeping people at the heart of your business by developing persona-focused marketing will not only help you do better marketing, but it will also help you build a better business.
This article is the second post in our series, Marketing Foundations. Be sure to read them all: