Years ago I worked in the office equipment industry. The companies I worked for sold copiers and printers to businesses, organization, etc. During my tenure at my last copier company, HP rolled out a new copier line. They simply relabeled a line from Konica Minolta.
Our company decided to pick up this line and sell it.
It wasn't a very good copier line. Which is probably why the product line was scrapped after a short while.
I remember asking our rep, "Who is your target market?"
Back came the response, "We sell to small & medium business, departments in large businesses and large businesses."
"So," I said, "you sell to everyone?"
I remember going back and forth a few times to try to get him to help me focus on that right prospect for this particular product. I had too much experience to think that one product would be the right product for everyone. I knew better.
The Buyer Persona
My old man used to say, "If you try to be everything to everyone, you'll be nothing to no one." Yes, Dad, I just called you old.
As a marketer, you simply cannot take for granted that all your clients think the same. Everyone has different buying habits and different interests. When you think everyone is the same, you are on the road to failure.
This is where the buyer persona comes in.
A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal client. You might have a half-dozen of these personas. You might only have one or two. But this buyer persona is a slick representation of who they are.
See the image at the left. It's a very simplified sample persona of some of the key characteristics of what a buyer persona could look like.
This helps you to define your audience and allows you to communicate to them in a way that is meaningful to them.
Everything Starts with the Persona
All your marketing should start with this persona. All your blog posts, all your email marketing, all your paid advertising, and even the way your proposals are written. The language you use should speak to your buyer persona.
Sure, you can see plenty of success if you are charismatic enough without knowing your buyer persona but you are far more successful when you build a strategy around communicating with your audience the way they want you to communicate.
Don't feel like you have to go it alone. We have some tools that might make your job a little easier. You should consider downloading our fancy, dancy buyer persona worksheets. It just might make your job a little easier.
Corey Smith is the founder of Tribute Media and serves as the Digital Marketing Strategist. He is also the author of "Do It Right: A CEO's Guide to Web Strategy" and "Tweet It Right: A CEO's Guide to Twitter."