How many customer personas would you recommend doing? It was interesting coming back to this as I’d started creating 2 a few months ago without the extra (important) details and then moved on to something else, I’ve completed them now and also added a third but I think I see a 4th or even 5th. Albeit in terms of messaging and content what I’ve now been thinking I need to put out there would work for them too.
Hey Kirsty and great that you’ve come back to this! Start with your main two or three – yes, you could keep drilling down but usually you find most of your customers after those first few profiles are likely just subsets rather than new personas. Quite often, it’s about the problem you are solving for them so you may find that the same messages work across different ones, but when you’ve identified them make sure you try and actually talk to some of the people to understand them and make sure your assumptions apply. Get them on a phone or Zoom call if you can and really find out why they buy from you or what they really need.
Keep us updated with this, we’ve got quite a few members who have gone through this exercise and it made a real difference!
Thank you for the thoughtful reply!
When I work I also do customer segmentation based on interests: Affordability first, Planet first, Health First, Society first, Experience first.
It narrows your customer profile and then you can create content accordingly, as you explained.
Absolutely. I’ve done this in companies with segments based on industry-type, job title, buyer’s motivation, size of the company, even grouped by the person’s yearly income.
The early work you do on getting to know your customers will give you the different segments that will work for your customers!
I’m finding this difficult as I currently have no clients specific to my new product (inclusivity in restaurants to earn more, risk less through great allergy management and menu optimization), I guess my product is my book but it will lead to training/consultancy packages. My previous/current clients are huge compliance companies but I visit many restaurants, they are not my target reader. I also am not targeting vegans directly, I am B2B service, I’m training my clients how to better attract vegans and capitalize on organic marketing. I do have a few potential clients I can talk to but they haven’t bought anything, they have been interviewed for research for the book. Where should I start? I do have a profile already, and some interviewees match that profile.
Hi Heather! Don’t ever fall into the trap of thinking that because you are selling B2B you are not selling to people. Because BUSINESSES do not buy from you; a person WITHIN a business buys from you. And they will have their own problems they are trying to solve, their own agendas and their own reasons for buying.
And if you haven’t got any customers, then hopefully you’ve already started building an audience? Because if you have then you can carry out the same exercise on people who are showing an interest in you: maybe you’ve started to grow a mailing list around the new service or you’ve already shared your business with some people who have come back positive? Granted – it’s not as easy or good as getting feedback from people who have ACTUALLY parted with money – but there are still ways. And once you do get those first customers, then they are the people who you make your best friends and amend your strategy as you learn more about their motivations and reasons for buying.
As an aside, I’ve used this ‘doing customer research’ trick before on target customers as a door opener. Doesn’t always work well, and sometimes the door doesn’t even budge an inch, but if you can get someone on the phone for 20 minutes who you think would be a perfect customer under the guise of customer research then not only will you learn but it’s a perfect way to educate them about what you’re doing and getting their feedback right at the start. You could even set out with the goal to interview 10 restaurant owners / head of compliance / appropriate decisions-makers to both help you craft your service offering but also act as an early lead-gen tool. If you can’t talk to the people you are selling to to get feedback, then talk to the people you are GOING to be selling to!
This was very helpful. Thank you for this lesson! I have a service-oriented company for other vegan companies. I am assuming the same specifics apply to me, but I would be interviewing vegan business owners. I did not think of calling or asking people to fill out a survey. Thank you for this. Do you have any other suggestions for a company like mine? I offer copywriting and content writing for vegan businesses.
Hi Vilma, and that’s great that you’ve engaged with this part. It’s really important to make the people you are selling to your best friends so that you understand why they buy.
If you are selling a service it’s really important that you get your customers on the phone (or on a Zoom call) rather than a survey, because then you will get answers to the questions you didn’t think to ask. In a survey, people will only be able to give limited information and you can miss a lot of useful and important details.
You also need to understand the journey they go through as business owners. No-one heads out out to buy copywriting. Their problem is they want more sales, they want to better connect with a potential customer, or they want a bit of magic, and having the right words is a way to achieve that. But to get to the point where they decide to engage with a copywriter means they have had to go through a number of other decisions first – eg to re-vamp their website, or to launch a new product, or take a new direction… it’s a reactive sale.
Understanding and talking to your customers will help you understand these trigger points and at what point they decide they need copy and to be able to influence that – because it may well take a number of months from you first meeting someone, and them seeing your posts and your testimonials and building up a relationship with you until the time is right to engage them in a sales conversation. And the more you know about this process, the more you can shape what information you need to put in front of them.
For instance, you might find you can re-frame what you are selling to re-match what they might be in the mood for buying. Instead of selling ‘copy’, you’re selling a business some new marketing ideas to find more customers. For instance, an interview with one of their key team members will help their customers get to know them better and understand what expertise they have in the business. You can provide them with that. A new case study sent out to their mailing list every month will help them nurture their current contacts and generate more sales opportunities. You provide that too!
The next chapter on understanding why people buy and creating a value proposition to match their reasons will be especially useful in expanding on this thinking.
When you get to the end of the next chapter, post another message and we’ll continue the conversation there!
I can see how valuable this exercise is! I’ve made my way through a patient list and noticing some patterns. I’ve reached out to some to run through more questions – thanks for the prompt (to be brave) to do this 🙂
That’s brilliant Laura. Remember that when you have a business that is improving customers’ lives, then they will be very happy to help you grow the business so that you can help more. You may be surprised at just how much support your customers give you, and how much you learn from getting to know them and why (and how) they become a client.
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I have been putting off trying to do these customer profiles but yesterday i just went for it. Asked my supporters and customers to fill in our questionnaire and have had over 100 replies and its not even been posted for 24 hours yet. The feedback has been amazing and i have alot of data to process to create those customer profiles!!