So you have completed the tasks needed on the first four pillars of branding (or are still working on them). You are beginning to see how the pillars are building the brand you desire. Your passion is growing and you are almost ready to launch your business. You are now ready for the final pillar: Buyer Personas. Buyer Personas are best described as your ideal customer. Defining these is an important task. It enables you to target the customers that will take you and your company the furthest the fastest.
The 5 pillars of branding are Beliefs, Values, Purpose, Vision and finally Buyer Personas. This last step in the process of branding your start up is connected to the first four pillars. Defining your ideal customer is one of the most important projects you will undertake. It will enable you to speak to your target audience with precision, boost your website results, create compelling online content and enhance your other marketing strategies.
DEFINING THE TERM
Buyer personas are semi-fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers. They help you better understand your customers (and prospective customers), and make it easier for you to tailor content to their specific needs, behaviors, and concerns.
The strongest buyer personas are based on market research as well as on insights you gather from your actual customer base (through surveys, interviews, etc.). Depending on your business, you could have a few personas but you should focus on 1-2 personas to begin.
BRANDING, BUYER PERSONAS: HOW TO BEGIN
We mentioned the other pillars were connected to buyer personas. The steps in developing your buyer personas are:
Review. Review your Beliefs and Values. Your ideal customer should have some, if not all, of the same beliefs and values that you and you company have. Why would you want to do business with customers you may dread? This initial step will open doors based on shared values and ensure your clients work from the same foundation that you do, saving you time and countless headaches.
Research. Since you are most likely just starting your business, the research may be a little more difficult but not impossible. Interview potential customers either in person or over the phone to discover what they like about your product or service. Look through your contacts database and get feedback form trusted friends and advisors.
Website Forms. Create forms to use on your website that capture important persona information. For example, if all of your personas vary based on company size, ask each lead for information about company size on your forms.
Ongoing feedback. After launching your start up, consider your sales team's feedback on the leads they are interacting with most. What types of sales cycles does your sales team work with? What generalizations can they make about the different types of customers you serve best?
Negative Buyer Personas. There are people who you won’t want to target -- they may not have a budget, they may be students, or they may be far too expensive to acquire as a customer. To identify and understand these kinds of people, you need to create a negative (or exclusionary) buyer person. It may appear counterproductive to spend timing getting to know people who will never be your customers, but, it will save you and your team time and money in the long run, as you will not waste time marketing and selling to these people.
Revisit and Tweak. Finally, continue to revisit and tweak your buyer personas as new information surfaces. As you sell new customers, send them a survey. Continue to review your marketing results and make any necessary changes or additions.
To help make this research more effective for you, a template to record and organize your findings would be beneficial.
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE BUYER'S JOURNEY
Understanding the journey that most every buyer goes through will help you better develop messaging that will build and strengthen relationships. The buyer's journey is made up of three stages.:
- AWARENESS- your potential customer has recognized a pain point or need and begins the search to see if solutions exist.
- CONSIDERATION- finding that there are solutions available, they now begin to research and prioritize the best solutions.
- DECISION- now they have focused their attention towards companies, value propositions and are ready to select you..
So now that you have taken the needed time to develop your brand all the way through, you have set up your start up for a solid launch and a desired future. All that is left is implementation. Take all your hard work and work just as hard implementing all of your branding pillars.
The final step... rest in your work and go get'em.
NEED HELP ENSURING YOUR SUCCESS?
Downlaod our FREE eBook: A Guide to Branding a Startup!