Personas, also known as client profiles or target markets, are a description of the types of clients and influencers that choose your services.
They apply to professional services whether you operate a firm or an association, and they should be a key component of your market research.
There are three big reasons to create and use personas — and to update them. They focus your marketing, assist with prospecting and train your team on client service. All of these areas affect your brand positioning because potential clients or members need to quickly know that you understand them and can help them better than anyone.
1. Personas for Marketing
Effective marketing campaigns offer solutions for the potential buyer. Personas should include a description of your target buyer(s) that includes challenges, pains, goals and desires. These descriptions will help you focus your marketing messages on how your services bring solutions and support goals. By articulating how you best serve the buyer, you are differentiating your brand.
Whether you are writing blog posts, creating an ad campaign or writing website copy, personas will help you create content that fits the buyer. You will avoid the common problem of writing all about you instead of what buyers really want to know. Can you help them, and what should they do about their issue?
If you aren’t sure of your target buyer’s pains, interests or desires, interview your current clients or members and find out how you solve their problems and help them. It will clarify your brand positioning. You can include that feedback in your persona description!
2. Personas for Sales
When having sales conversations, one rule of thumb is to have the prospective buyer speak two-thirds of them and to actively listen to their answers. To get them talking, you need great questions. But don’t just ask any question. Ask a question related to your brand; convince them that you are the best choice.
A persona description will help you develop sales questions that relate to your target buyer to qualify them, but also to get them talking about what’s most important to them in a professional service relationship.
For example, if you solve the challenge of training, ask a sales question like, “How important is it to you that your [professional service relationship] supports a well-educated team at your company?” It’s likely that the right buyer will say that it’s very important, which gives you an opportunity to ask about types of education they seek, and then talk about your service offerings.
The persona description helps you prepare for these conversations with confidence and consistency.
3. Personas for Client Service
Once you attract a new client — or a new member in the case of associations — you can use your persona descriptions to address how to deliver great client service. The descriptions can be used to train your staff on client service expectations, how you solve problems and how you make a difference.
You can even create persona descriptions for referral sources and influencers. Help team members understand how to develop industry connections that can refer new opportunities to your firm or association. Everyone can take ownership of your brand positioning with the right knowledge. Personas are just one way to do this.
Marketing needs to be personal but how do you know you are appealing to real people behind the digital curtain?