Buyer Personas: how to find your ideal customer

di Shaun De Lucia

Buyer personas and email marketing: the secret? Contact the right people!

Once upon a time there was the target. At the time of "traditional" advertising, the one spread through mass media, the audience was very large, it was certainly selected and not indiscriminate, but with much less accuracy if compared to today.

With the "revolution" of web marketing, established with the web 2.0, the possibilities of identifying with extreme precision the ideal customer – indeed: the different ideal customers – have increased thanks to the considerable amount of data available to the marketer.

Identifying the ideal customer is one of the main stages of a web marketing strategy, including email marketing. That's why we talk so much about buyer personas, that is, the portrait of the perfect customer: because without a precise photograph of who is gonna buy our product or service you run the risk of "reaching" the wrong people, far from being close to the values and proposal of our brand.

But what exactly does buyer personas mean?

Buyer personas: definition
By buyer persona we mean the portrait of a customer that perfectly represents the segment or one of the segments of the target audience. We are talking about a person who, from a demographic point of view and considering behaviors, hobbies, values, could be interested in the product or service proposed by your brand or a problem that can be solved thanks to it.

Using a term borrowed from storytelling, we can say that a buyer person represents the archetype of the ideal customer, towards which address marketing strategies, in order to achieve predetermined goals (engagement, awareness, sales and loyalty).

If we want to reach our ideal client, therefore, we must not only trace his portrait, but try to define him so in detail that we start thinking like him, empathizing with his desires, values, goals, dreams and problems to be solved.

Get to know the buyer personas: how to do it

Now the we know what the buyer persona is, it is time to understand how to trace the portrait of the ideal customer.

In order to properly define the ideal customer, we need to have as much data as possible, obtainable both in a "classic" way (interviews, questionnaires, market surveys, focus groups) or through analytics and insights of the various web marketing tools available.

To identify our buyer persona we need demographic data: age, gender, education, employment, income, provenance; demographics allow us to give a "human face" to what, at the time of the creation of buyers personas, is only an abstraction.

At the same time we should consider the psychographic data, that is, the data that allow us to understand personality traits, behaviors, habits, goals, ways of thinking typical of the customer: for example, descovering his personality by grasping fears, desires and frustrations can give us a big hand to track as precisely as possible his appearance.

Going down with needs and motivations that drive our customer to make a certain purchase or choose a service rather than another is fundamental to understand where to push to bring him closer to our brand.

Above all, it is necessary to consider the ethical values of the ideal customer. Do our values match his values? It is essential to look for buyers personas that are close to our vision (not only for what concerns marketing, but even our vision of the world). If we end up intercepting people very far from our value system, the reaction will be rejection, if not anger.

All the information collected help us create a real portrait of the customer: so let's give him/her a name, an age, a character, hobbies and passions, ways of behaving and habits.

We also must catch customer's fears, difficulties, problems and frustrations and try to understand if and how our product or service can help him overcome them and be a little happier.

Buyer personas can be more than one: it is possible that our product represents a good solution for two or more types of customers, even with different values and behaviors.

Buyer personas and email marketing: reach out to the right people

Email marketing can be very successful, as long as you turn to the buyers personas with the appropriate language and tone of voice and, above all, as long as you intercept them at the right time along the customer journey.

Doing an "indiscriminate" email marketing campaign, in fact, can be deleterious: the only result you will have will be to end up in the trash folder (or, worse, in Spam).

That's why outlining buyer personas in the proper way is crucial before giving the go-ahead to an email marketing campaign: addressing to the right people, interested in how we can improve their lives or solve a problem, is indispensable.

Once you identify and understand your buyer personas, it becomes easier to sew a tailored mail marketing campaign, depending on your goals. In some cases it may be useful to offer the solution right away, in other cases it would be better to start with lead nurturing, or you could consider proposing informational content: anything that could make the (potential) customer trust your brand.

The e-mail itself, then, must be written taking into consideration every detail, from the template to the tone of voice of the text, from the call to action to the object, considering the portrait of our ideal customer: only in this way an e-mail marketing campaign could work and help us achieve our marketing goals.

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