Do you feel like you know who your customers are and what’s most important to them? I don’t believe a marketing professional or business owner has ever admitted to me that they don’t know their customers or understand their most pressing problems, and I don’t blame them. Of course you have a solid understanding of who you serve, and how you solve their issues. If you didn’t you’d probably either be out of business or looking for a new job.
The more specific questions I’m asking are …
- Do you know your customers intimately and understand the complexities they face in life outside of the areas in which you can provide support?
- Do you fully understand their motivations, desires, concerns, or any resistance they might have in choosing the solution you provide?
- Most importantly, when it comes to connecting with them online, do you understand the specific language they use?
If you can answer the questions above in the affirmative … CONGRATULATIONS! I’m sure your business is growing and you’re creating a bunch of rabid promotors of your Brand. Customers love it when they can tell a company has invested the time and effort to truly understand what is most important to them. They typically reward this effort by opening their checkbooks and telling others about the phenomenal experience they had with your organization.
On the other hand, if the questions above give you an uneasy feeling in your stomach, don’t worry. I’ll give you some ideas that you can utilize to efficiently get inside your customer’s head, and use the insights you gain to provide an experience that makes them want to tell everyone they know about your company and how well you’ve taken care of them.
It is never a waste of time to invest in gaining a deeper understanding of your buyers, it’s a requirement!
7 Places to Gain Insight into Your Buyers
The best bloggers do an excellent job of creating valuable content for the audience they serve. You can gain quite a bit of intelligence by paying attention to the topics they blog about, but mostly from the feedback the readers provide within the comment section following each post. Take note of the way they refer to the problems they’re experiencing, the solutions you provide, and also about any holes in the content where they want more. You can find blogs covering about any topic you can imagine by visiting www.technorati.com.
2. Social Media
If you’ve spent time building and nurturing a social media following well enough, you’ll quickly realize your investment was worth it. The better you’ve become at delivering value and engaging your audience, the quicker they’ll be to respond to requests for information as well as participate in conversations right there on your social channel. If you’re a little late in the game and haven’t yet built and nurtured your own social presence, don’t worry. You can live vicariously through others who are catering to your audience. If you’d like to find influencers of your personas you can conduct a search on www.Klout.com to identify the most relevant voices in your space.
3. Industry Publications
These are excellent resources for you to quickly identify the main challenges your personas are facing, as well as an excellent place to identify and connect with influencers within your industry. Wikipedia contains a large number of industry publications.
There are so many associations which exist that there is even an “association of associations!” Seriously, there really is. These groups are organized to bring together like-minded individuals who are interested in a particular topic, and cover the pressing issues and particular interests of the group. Take a look to see if you can find an association that your personas might belong to by visiting www.weddles.com. Once you do, pay attention to the content that’s being created for the members as well as the language they use to refer to problems and solutions your company addresses / delivers.
Your personas might read books about topics related to their field and position in life, and authors do an excellent job of researching these personas to ensure they are speaking in a language they understand, as well as writing about topics that are of interest. You can visit Amazon.com to identify several books written to the same persona and start to identify trends in topics among different authors. The real gold is located in the comments section as your personas review the books and tell you what they want more, or less of. It’s a hidden gem if you ask me!
6. Top Ranked Competitors
Check out their site and take note of what they’re doing to put them in that seemingly dominant position. Stealing is the highest form of flattery, so eliminate the false-pride and steal away! Of course adding your own creativity and the personal touch of your Brand.
7. Past interactions
Probably the most valuable resource you have, are the past interactions you’ve had with clients. Whether it's conversations your customer service team has had with happy or irate customers, feedback your sales team receives on a daily basis from active prospects, or email threads from some of your most passionate clients. You can gain an incredible amount of insight by revisiting these past interactions and finding out what “lights their fire” in both a good and bad way.
The bottom line is:
The more intimately you know and understand your personas, the better you’ll be at serving them. The more effective you are at “getting inside there heads” and understanding the specific language they use, the more effective you’ll be at reaching them and attracting them to your website.
If you need a little more help creating your buyer personas, Download our FREE worksheet!
Do you have any specific tricks or tools you use to gain a deeper understanding of the personas you serve? If so, please leave a comment below and share them with the rest of us!