Compiling buyer personas (sometimes called ideal client avatars) is common practice in many industry sectors and some professional services firms see the value in them too.
Yet many still haven’t created these ‘semi-fictional representations of their ideal clients based on real data and educated speculation about demographics, behaviours, motivations and goals’ (Hubspot definition) and are likely missing out on quality work from clients they want to represent as a result.
So, why should you create buyer personas and how should you use them?
If you want to get found and be relevant to your ideal clients then you need to put them at the centre of everything you’re doing. That means understanding them and the journeys they take from recognising they have a problem or opportunity to deciding to purchase your services. It’s key to delivering them with content that’s relevant to them at that particular moment in time.
Of course, if you’re only targeting a small number of clients, you can go one step further and compile detailed insights about each of them – targeting content and other efforts at individuals. But for many, that’s simply not possible, which is where buyer personas come in.
Buyer personas help you get in the mindset of your ideal clients in order to:
- identify where they spend time online so you can be there too
- guide service development, allowing you to create offerings to help them solve a particular problem or take advantage of an opportunity and know they’ll use them
- help you create the right content, turning visitors into leads, leads into clients and improving the client experience
- properly evaluate opportunities that come your firm’s way to assess whether or not they are a good fit and, better still, to be able to clearly communicate ‘why not’ to practitioners within your firm, who may have a vested interest in the opportunity (we’ve all been there!)
If you haven’t created your firm’s buyer personas, download our free “How to create buyer personas” eBook where we walk you through the process.
6 Ways to Use a Buyer Persona
1. To understand your various client segments: By identifying their habits, pain points, challenges and language you can provide them with content that meets their needs. This helps you reach more of your ideal clients, attracting the right people (rather than just anyone) to your website. It also helps to reinforce existing client perceptions that they have made the right choice in selecting your firm and helps you to demonstrate your capabilities in areas in which they may not currently be using your services.
2. To map your buyer journeys: Once you have your buyer personas, you can use these to map the path various personas take from the moment they realise they have a problem or opportunity to researching potential solutions and eventually purchasing one. This allows you to create content that meets their needs at a particular moment in time, ensuring you have content that will attract ideal clients at each stage of their journey – after all many of your ideal clients won’t yet be ready to buy your services but you’ll still want your firm to be on their radar so that when they are ready they choose you.
3. To create content in context: Clients and prospects will be looking for different content at different times depending on where they are in their buyer journey. Understanding them, their pain points, the questions they’ll want the answers to and the information they’ll be looking for at all stages of their research process will enable you to create the right content and link to other related content, which moves them further through their decision-making process. It means you can better plan and map content to ensure it works together to help you achieve your goals.
4. To prioritise your digital marketing efforts: Knowing where your personas spend time online, what they search for, who they follow, the types of content they consume, and where they engage will help you to plan and target your marketing initiatives in a focused and effective way.
5. To increase your conversion rates: This is important for those of you looking to attract more of your ideal clients. When you understand your ideal clients you can use this knowledge to, over time, nurture them from leads into clients by ensuring everything you do is relevant and helpful to them.
6. To better target your different personas: Different personas will have different needs and priorities. Rather than adopting a one-size-fits-all approach, you can develop a plan for each persona – ensuring content and other efforts are specifically targeted.
In today’s world, there’s so much content out there and so many firms vying for the same clients that it can be hard to stand out. It’s only be truly understanding the different personas you’re targeting and the active research phases they go through from realising they have a problem or opportunity to making the decision to use a particular professional services firm, that you can deliver the right content at the right time and in the right way.