Consumers are exposed to a countless number of advertisements every day. TV commercials, radio ads, website banners, billboards, brochures, product packages the list goes on. We are constantly flooded with messages compelling us to ‘buy buy buy’.
Have a quick think…
From the time you get up out of bed in the morning to when you fall asleep at night, how many marketing messages do you think you would have been exposed to?
I had a go at making a quick list.
- 30 TV commercials while eating breakfast.
- 3 posters on the train to work.
- 3 banner ads on my favorite blog that I read during lunchtime.
I will stop there.
You can see that we are completely overloaded with information on a daily basis.
Therefore, when you write copy for your client’s product or service (or your own) it has to convey a message that breaks through all of that marketing clutter. On top of that, it has to trigger the recipient to take a certain action (convert).
So what can you do to ensure that your message engages with potential customers? Your first step before writing any type of copy is to identify and understand your target audience.
But be careful … When you try to write to a faceless mass audience it is too easy to fall into the pitfall of treating your target as a broad demographic. This is the path to disaster!
The more people you try to encompass in your target, the less effect you will have.
So, one way to keep yourself and the copy you write focused is to write to ‘one’ specific person. The ‘one’ customer that you think will benefit the most from your product of service.
To organize your thoughts, try creating a detailed ‘Persona’
What Is A Persona?
You may have heard of this word before as the concept of ‘persona’ is used in a variety of different fields. In theatre, it is the ‘social role or character played by an actor’. In psychology, the term is coined by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung as ‘the personality that an individual projects to others, as differentiated from the authentic self’.
In marketing, it is sometimes called a ‘Buyer Persona’ or ‘Customer Persona’.
It can defined as ‘A model of your ideal customer for your product or service’
Here are some more definitions.
A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.
A buyer persona is a single character that exemplifies a specific member of a target market.
A Persona Example
As you can see from the above example, a persona is not just made up of demographic data such as age, gender and location. It also contains information about their interests, personality, lifestyle and a lot more.
By focusing and creating a picture of this ‘one customer’, it will help you get a deeper understanding of this customer’s values, problems, fears and joys.
It will also help you to keep focused on this customer’s perspective and anticipate how they will see, feel and act when they read your copy.
You can then adapt your message to address their needs directly.
How To Collect Data for A Buyer Persona
To create a ‘Buyer Persona’ you can’t just guess.
First you need to gather reliable data on who you think is your ‘best’ customer.
Here are 5 methods you can use to collect information for your buyer persona.
1. Customer Data
Talk to staff or the sales team and see what comments and complaints they receive from customers.
2. Check Online
If you have a website or blog, check your demographic and interest data of your visitors in your analytics report.
3. Industry Reports
Analyze quarterly and annual key trends and predictions of future industry developments.
4. Social Media
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram e.t.c. See what customers are talking about and what interests them.
5. Market Research
Conduct interviews, focus groups and questionnaires targeted at your buyer persona (or to current customers) to get insight on customer profiles.
How To Create A Buyer Persona
Once you have collected a sufficient amount of data, sort through the significant similarities and differences.
Make this persona as real as possible and give him or her a name.
Then ask yourself the following questions. It will differ depending on the product or service, but you can use it as a start.
- Is this person a male or a female?
- How old is he/she?
- When is his/her birthday?
- What generation are they?
- Where does he/she live?
- Is it urban/suburban/rural?
- Are they renting our house owners?
- Is he/she married?
- What kind of relationship do they have?
- Single? Divorced?
- Does he/she have any children?
- How many and how old?
- Who is he/she living with?
- What is his/her highest acquired level of education?
- What university did he/she go to?
- What qualifications does he/she have?
- How much does he/she get per month? per year?
- How much are his/her living costs?
- What does he/she spend money on?
Hobby and Interests
- What is his/her main hobby?
- What does he/she do on a day off?
- Does he/she participate in any groups or communities?
Career and Work
- What is his/her occupation?
- Where is his/her company located? How big is it?
- What is his/her position in the company?
- Does he/she have certain administrative responsibilities?
- Why did he/she choose this job? How did he/she get this job?
- What problems or challenges is he/she having at work?
- What success is he/she having at work?
- What is his/her goal at this job?
- What is his/her personal short-term goals?
- What is her/her long term goals?
- What problems or challenges is he/she facing?
- What is currently the most important thing in his/her life?
- What does this person want to change in his/her life?
- What is his/her biggest fears?
- How does he/she make decisions?
- Where does he/she go for new information? Newspaper, internet search or blogs?
- Does he/she use any social media/networks?
- How does he/she prefer to contact people or be contacted? Email? Phone call?
Reaching Out To Your Buyer Persona
When you have created your ‘Buyer Persona’ you can picture this specific individual and focus your copy in a way that would appeal to this person the most.
When you are writing copy, make sure to incorporate these two aspects.
- Address this person’s concerns and desires.
- Show them why and how you are trying to help and how you can improve their lives.
Most importantly write your copy as if you are talking directly to this person. Through your words try to relate to this person and share their experience. Close the gap between you and your customer and connect with them on a more personal and emotional level.
If you do this, your copy won’t sound cold, insincere and ‘salesy’.
Instead it will sound caring, trustworthy and be a lot more memorable.
Think about this.
You are currently thinking of changing your health insurance plan.
Who’s words would you trust more?
A) A random salesman that comes knocking on your front door out of the blue trying to sweet talk you into signing up to a plan.
B) Your best friend that has gone through the same process and recommends you the same plan as them.
I would slam the door on the salesman pretty quick.
By making this persona, it will help you target your copy so it doesn’t end up being shut down and ignored like that random salesman.
Engage with your customer on a deeper level and show this customer that you care. You will have a higher chance of your customer accepting your message and in turn, a higher chance of getting him/her to make an action in your favor.