40 Questions to Help You Develop Buyer Personas

When it comes to putting together a successful marketing campaign you need to know your market, but a general overview will only get you so far. To get that intimate voice in your copy where a potential customer wonders “are they reading my mind?” you need to get to know your buyer.

One of the best ways of doing this is to establish buyer personas, avatars that describe the people you want most as your customers. These avatars embody the demographics, characteristics and behaviours of your ideal customers, and give you a single person to direct your blog posts, social media updates, videos and sales copy to.

But where do you start? While ideally you want to interview your ideal customers to get it straight from their mouth, you can also start to establish personas by looking at past customers and who you want to work with. Here are some questions to ask to get you started.

Getting to know your buyer

The best place to get to know your buyer is by looking at their demographics and personal characteristics. This will give you clarity around the type of person you are targeting and the voice you need to use to communicate to them.

1. Are they male or female?
2. What is their age?
3. Where do they live?
4. What stage of life are they in?
5. Are they in a relationship or single?
6. Do they have children?
7. What level of education did they complete?
8. Did they attend a specific school or university?
9. Where do they work? 
10. How long have they worked there?
11. How much do they earn?
12. How much do they spend?

Uncovering your buyer’s pain points

Your buyer’s pain points can tell you a lot of information, from what problem you need to solve and product or service you need to lead with, to the messaging you need to use, objections you need to overcome and risks you need to minimise. 

13. What do they value?
14. What is important to them?
15. What do they need?
16. What concerns them?
17. What frustrates them?
18. What do they want from your product/service?
19. What don’t they want from your product/service?
20. What do they appreciate?
21. What don’t they appreciate?
22. What challenges are they experiencing?
23. Are they time-rich or time-poor? 
24. Are they more focused on price or value? 
25. Are they a leader or a follower?
26. Are they cautious or a risk taker?

Discovering ways to reach your buyer

By drilling down further you can also start to identify the best ways of reaching your buyer, what tactics to use in your marketing and who else you may need to market to get your buyer over the line. 

27. Where do they like to socialise?
28. Who do they like to socialise with?
29. Who’s opinion do they hold in high regard?
30. Who influences their buying decisions?
31. Who do they look up to and admire?
32. What are their interests?
33. How do they like to communicate?
34. What books, blogs, magazines, newspapers, trade publications, blogs and websites do they read?
35. What radio, television or YouTube channels do they listen to and watch?
36. What social media platforms are they most active on?
37. What social media influencers do they follow?
38. What events do they attend?
39. What places do they frequently visit?
40. What other brands do they use or are they loyal to? 

These are just some of the questions you can ask when establishing your buyer personas. When you have an avatar set for each of your target customers consider pinning their profiles up in your office so you and your team never lose sight of who you are talking to and serving.

Do you use buyer personas to help make your marketing more targeted and engaging?

Amanda

P.S. Need help developing your Buyer Personas? Give us a call on 07 3820 9810 or email info@velocitymedia.com.au


Five reminders for start up or start over entrepreneurs

Being an entrepreneur can be an incredibly rewarding and challenging journey. While we can have a great idea, set goals, plan ahead, research our market and promote until the cash cows come home, what we don’t always think about is our own development and frame of mind. 

To keep you in check here are five reminders for start up or start over entrepreneurs.

1. Know yourself

Know who you are and what you stand for. What do you believe in? What do you value? What are your work/life balance boundaries? What lines will you blur? What lines will you never cross? 

By asking yourself the hard questions and knowing where you stand, you will be better prepared for the challenging situations you will face. You will also be able to qualify ideas, people and opportunities faster and more effectively.  

2. Fail often and learn fast 

Often the fear of failure can hold us back from taking action or making a decision. But the truth is, failure is a learning process. The more you fail, the more you learn. You won’t get it right all of the time in business, but you can learn all of the time. The trick is to learn as fast as you can and learn your lesson the first time. 

In business, there will be opportunities that require you to take a chance, act on impulse, or make a quick decision. Do your due diligence, take calculated risks and let the facts, your experience or intuition be your driving force – not your fear of failing.

3. Focus on achievement not activity 

It can be easy to fall into the busyness trap, but activity doesn’t always equal achievement. 

While you may need to wear multiple hats to start, the goal is to pass those hats on as soon as you have the capacity to do so. While you may be great at those everyday to-dos, remember that your time is better spent on the tasks that will bring greater achievement, growth and profit to your business. 

4.  Remember you are not your business

When you are invested in your business, it can be easy to see it as an extension of yourself. So when you receive negative feedback, experience rejection from a customer or business isn’t going as well as you hoped, it can be easy to take it to heart and beat yourself up about it. 

This is why it is important to have a way to put it all in perspective because you won’t please everyone, customers and competitors will come and go, and you will experience highs and lows on your journey. 

I like to view business as a game. Sometimes you are out in front; sometimes you have to go back a few spaces, and sometimes you just need to wait to make your move. While you are the one controlling your business, it isn’t you out there on the game board.

5. Experience the journey, don’t just tick the box 

I’ll be the first to admit that ticking off those daily to-do lists can give you a great sense of accomplishment. But it’s important not to let your days be consumed with checking off to-do’s, or your months and years checking off goals. 

While it is good to keep moving forward, also remember to enjoy the moment. Celebrate the achievements, learn from the mistakes and savour the ups and downs. 

Entrepreneurship can be a wild ride, make sure you get to enjoy it!

Amanda


Three startup marketing traps to avoid

There is nothing more thrilling than having an idea, bringing it to life and watching customers buy and spread the word. But marketing your startup isn’t always smooth sailing, there are ghastly winds that can blow you right off course. To help here are three startup marketing traps to avoid.

1. Not marketing early enough

While creating a high quality, value-packed product is important, if you don’t have interested customers to buy it, you don’t have a business. 

With all of the time, money and energy you spend in product research and development, you want to be in a position to reap the rewards of your hard work as soon as possible. This starts by marketing your product and building your audience early. While you may not have a product to sell, you still have a solution that you can build excitement around.

Visibility, credibility and building relationships with influencers takes time, particularly if you are self-funded and don’t have a large budget to throw at marketing and advertising. Better to invest the time early where you can also get valuable feedback from potential customers, than having to build momentum once your product is ready.

2. Thinking you are the customer

Creating a business idea out of your frustrations, observations and needs is often a winning formula for success. After all, if you have experienced it, chances are, so have others, right? While this inside knowledge into your customers problems, thoughts and behaviour allows you to be more relatable to your customers and make more relevant products, it can also lead you into the trap of thinking you are your customer.

When this happens your ideas, products and marketing become more about what you want, instead of what your customer wants. While you certainly need to take your preferences into consideration, you can’t afford to take your focus off your customers and what they want, or assume they are using your solution for the one problem. 

3. Not testing your assumptions

When you go into business, you tend to have an idea of the problem you solve, the people who have it, and the reasons why they want or need it solved. Though more often than not when you start to test the waters you can find that your initial assumptions may not have been as accurate as you thought. It could be that the market who needs your product most doesn’t want it, that your solution solves a bigger problem than you realised, or the motivations to use it are completely different.

I’m working with two startups at the moment who had a very clear idea of who their target market was and their reasoning for it made perfect sense. But after customer interviews and social media market research campaigns, they’ve uncovered an unexpected target market that is more motivated to use their product. 

So before you embark on a large scale marketing and public relations campaign to educate the market about your product, let the market educate you first.

Amanda


Six tips for more persuasive marketing

With customers bombarded with so many brands and advertisements each day, it is your job to make your marketing messages more persuasive and relevant to break through the noise.

But where do you start? Here are six tips to help you make your marketing messages more persuasive.

1. Know what your customers are buying

When your customers choose to buy from you, they are buying more than a product or service. They are buying the solution to their problem, the answer to their question, the feeling they’ve been missing or the convenience they’ve been wanting. 

When you uncover what your customers really want, you capture not only the attention of your customer but their heart as well.

2. Speak with authority

Every purchase requires your customer to trust you.  The higher the purchase price, the more trust your customer needs to have in you. 

To build trust, you need to speak with authority. Present yourself as the expert, share your knowledge, draw on your experiences, and tell stories about the value you have provided. Own your skills and expertise. Be confident in your abilities and bold in your belief that you can deliver. Confidence makes you more persuasive.

3. Leverage social proof

People follow people. People also want to be part of something – a movement, cause, group or community.  Social proof helps you to build this. 

When you share the experiences others have had with your products and services, you ease the concerns and minimise the risks for your customers. But more importantly, you create commonality among your customers, and that can be built into a sense of community.

4. Treat customers as ‘the one’

Do the unexpected. Go above and beyond. Be committed to doing the most you can do in your business. The more you can make your customers feel like they are the only one you are concerned about and the only one you are speaking to, the more powerful your message becomes. 

5. Keep it simple 

Our customers crave convenience, yet many of us have a tendency to overcomplicate our sales process. We give too many choices and price points, include too many steps and clicks and request too many details. 

Keep it simple. Don’t ask for every contact detail up front, make your website easy to navigate, ensure the next step is clear, and your calls to action are compelling and easy to follow. 

6. Create urgency

We are a competitive bunch. If we think we are going to miss out on something, we act faster.  So once you have established your value, create urgency through special edition products or services, time limited opportunities or bonuses open to limited people.

How can you be more persuasive in your marketing?

Amanda


Four ways to reignite passion in the New Year

December is often a month of extremes in business. You are either incredibly busy or incredibly quiet; burning with enthusiasm or burning out. Even the extremes can change week-to-week!

So how do you find inspiration, reignite your passion and keep your motivation up as you head into another year? 

1. Switch off

While it is great to do business development and planning over the break with distractions at a minimum, it’s also important to take some time to switch off completely. 

Amazing things happen when you put distance between you and your business. Perspective changes, passion reignites, and problems are often more easily solved. Not to mention all of the ideas you were too busy to listen too before will come rushing in like a flood. 

2. Go back to your roots

Remember why you started your business in the first place. What need did you aim to fill? What impact did you want to make? What outcome did you want to have?

So often we lose track of our mission when we are stuck in business as usual. Going back to your business roots will help you to remember why you do what you do and give you the opportunity to realign your day-to-day activities with what you want to achieve.

3. Go where your customer is

When we start out in business, we wear multiple hats. We talk to our customers, develop and market our products, manage our finances and run our businesses. 

But often as we grow, we start to delegate or outsource many of these tasks to save time. As time goes on, we can often become further and further removed from our customers. 

The trouble is our customers are our greatest source of learning and inspiration. When we become disconnected from them, we lose focus, relevance and direction. It is through them that we see needs, find patterns and identify opportunities to innovate so get back in touch.

4. Get out of the ‘in’ 

Once you’ve switched off, got big picture focus and have reconnected with your customers, it’s time to start working on your business and putting those big ideas into action.

As entrepreneurs, it is often the big picture activities and innovation plans that get us more fired up. They also just so happen to generate the most results, so make sure ‘working on’ your business has a regular place (and the proper priority) in your schedule.

The New Year is a great time to make new working habits. What can changes can you make to your schedule to spark passion and boost motivation?

Amanda


Four questions you MUST ask to get to know your customers

Whether you are designing a product, developing a marketing strategy or writing a blog post having a thorough understanding of your target marketing is vital. 

But how do you get clear on who it is you are talking to and targeting? Here are four questions you MUST ask to get to know your customers – and why you need to ask them.

1. Who are my customers?

What types of people are your customers? Are they a business or consumer? Male or female? Older or younger? 

Do they have money, or are they buying on credit? Are they impulsive or considered? Are they well educated or uneducated? Are they fun or reserved? Daring or cautious? Kids or no kids? Happy or unhappy? Are they making ends meet or living the high life? Are they worried about what others think of them?

What is important to them? What do they value most? Who do they trust? What media do they consume? What social media do they use? 

By asking who your customers are, you will discover how to speak to them and where to find them.

2. What do my customers really want?

What does your customer want from you, do you know? 

While your customers may justify their purchases logically based on the features or inclusions you provide, they don’t tend to buy because of them. Your customers buy based on what your product or service will do for them, save them, make them feel, or make others think or feel about them. 

So again, I ask you, what do your customers really want from you?

Is it to save time or money? Is it to have a certain status or level of respect? Is it to be first and lead the way? Is it to make them feel more worthy, attractive or confident? Is it to alleviate guilt, stress or grief? Is it to live longer? Is it to be more successful, prosperous or influential? Is it to be a trendsetter or forward thinker? 

By identifying what your customers really want, you will uncover how to market to them and what you need to say.

3. How motivated are my customers?

How great are your customers’ needs, wants, frustrations or challenges? How motivated are your customers to buy from you? Do they need and want your product or service or just like the idea of it? Is your product or service an essential or luxury to them? Do your customers know and acknowledge they need your product or service? 

By asking how motivated your customers are you can determine if your product, service or market is viable. You will also be able to identify the level of education you will need to provide and what you will need to do to motivate them.

4. What is holding my customers back from buying?

What are the reasons your customers won’t buy from you? What are some of the reservations they have? 

Is it price or timing? Is it a lack of awareness or understanding? Is it a lack credibility or runs on the board? Is it that you are too new or too established? Is there too much risk involved? Do they need it but don’t want it? Is there not enough proof of your claims? Is there someone influencing their decision?

By finding out what is holding your customers back you can identify ways to build trust, and calm concerns, fears and objections through your marketing. You will also be able to uncover what influencers you need to market to and win over to get the sale.

Do you know your target market as well as you should?

Amanda


Are your motives costing you business?

Networking can be an interesting experience. While you meet a lot of different personalities and businesses, two types of people tend to stand out in the crowd, those who are interested in building relationships and those focused on the sale.

While we need sales to survive in business, there is a real danger in making sales your only focus. Could your motives be costing you customers?

The sales-focused, money driven person

We all know this character, and there’s a high chance we’ve all been this character at some point in our careers. They are the ones who nearly give you a paper cut as they shove their business card under your nose or the businesses that make you feel like a dollar sign rather than a living, breathing, paying customer.

While you may still buy from these characters, chances are you are buying because it is easier, cheaper, or there is no other viable option at the moment, not because you are loyal to them. 

The same applies to your customers. When you focus on ‘getting the sale’ your customers’ money has a habit of becoming more important than the problems they need solving, and let’s face it anyone willing to pay becomes your customer not just those you know you can help. While this might help you with short-term cash flow, it can harm you long-term and leave you vulnerable to disruption.

If your customers are only with you because you are the cheapest or the most viable at the moment you need to prepare for a mass exit when something better comes along – and it will. 

The service-focused, value-driven person

Smart business owners know that the best way of generating more sales is to stop selling and start serving.

I’ll never forget the day I decided to stop having sales meetings and start having problem-solving sessions. I was no longer at a meeting to ‘get the sale’ I was there to ‘give value’ through an idea, suggestion, shortcut, solution, contact or similar, and ensure my potential customer walked away with something far more tangible than my business card.

Making this shift not only felt more authentic, but it also made building relationships easier, meetings more productive, and it generated a lot more sales and referrals.

Why? Because people want to be helped not sold to. 

So the next time you are networking or at a sales meeting, remember that customers want to be more than a sale to you. And if you don’t want to act as a lead source for your competitors, make sure you never make them feel that way.

Amanda


To niche or not to niche?

It’s an age-old question that many business owners struggle to answer. But the truth is if you want your marketing to be as effective as possible you need your target market to be an inch wide and a mile deep. 

When you try to be everything to everyone you risk appearing irrelevant to those customers who you want and need the most. 

Still not sure? Here are four opportunities you open up when you pick a niche. 

1. Become the go-to expert

When you zone in on a niche, you naturally become a go-to expert. You are assumed to have more knowledge on the industry, area or market than anyone else who is generalising. 

As a result, people who start to target a niche can end up with more leads and a bigger following than when they worked more broadly. It becomes easier to find you, and you are perceived to be more relevant and valuable to your potential customers. 

Let’s imagine for a moment you need a business coach. You search around and narrow it down to two coaches with the same qualifications and experience level, but one specialises purely in your industry. Who would you choose?

2. Generate more sales

Perhaps one of the biggest fears around choosing a niche is the chance it could reduce sales. But when done well it has the opposite effect. 

When you target a broad audience, your message needs to be broad to appeal to as many people as possible. While this can still generate results, you will get far better results when your market is specific. 

When you target fewer people with more in common, you can tell more relevant stories, address specific problems and appeal to the right emotions to make your customer feel as though you are talking directly to them. 

This approach increases your chances of speaking the right words to the right people at the right time, creating more sales and more raving fans.   

3. Get more bang for your marketing buck

There is no faster way to blow your marketing budget than to target anyone and everyone. The more specific your audience, the more strategic your campaign.

Opportunities, strategies, tactics and influencers can all be better qualified when you know who you need to reach. 

4. Gain more loyal customers

When you serve a niche, your customer can believe working with you will be easier. There’s less groundwork and explaining to do because you already know their problems, issues, frustrations and needs, and have had experience solving them. 

There is also a perception that you will look out for their best interests, and be able to give them ideas and guidance about best practices and produce more tailored products or services to get their desired results. 
 
Because of this (and providing you do a great job) your customers are more likely to be more loyal to you in the long term. 

Do you work within a niche or do you generalise?

Amanda 


How to stay relevant in the mind of your customers

Few things can kill your business faster than becoming irrelevant to your customers. The hard fact of business is that change is inevitable, while you can be on trend and meeting needs and wants one day, there is no guarantee that it will be the same the next.

With greater competition, new technology and changing customer demands how do you ensure you stay relevant in the mind of your customers? 

1. Stay connected

When we start out in business, we are more open to input. In fact, we actively seek it to make sure we are on track and that our customers are happy. We value customer feedback, listen to concerns and promptly make changes to rectify problems. While some businesses continue this process, many others don’t.

It’s almost like there is a certain point in business where we know better. We have the experience and industry knowledge now, we know what is happening and what our customers want – so we no longer ask them. 

We detach and become so focused on growth and development that we lose that customer connection we so desperately need to stay relevant and meet growing needs. Our time becomes precious. We limit the calls and meetings we have and opt for an email – bulk email – to stay in touch and “save time”. 

We start to tell more than we ask, push more than we pull. But to weather the storm of changing needs and wants we need to connect with our customers. We need to understand their purchase decisions, why they make them and how we can make the experience better, and this comes from talking to them, not just looking at the numbers. 

2. Understand how your customers use your products and services 

When we developed our products and services we knew the problem they solved and how we thought they should be used. But that is only one perspective. Your customers may have a completely different idea or purpose for your products or services. 

They may even use them to solve problems you hadn’t thought of, or didn’t know they solved. By understanding how your customers use and want to use your products and services you can start to identify limitations and opportunities to make them even more relevant going forward.

3. Know why your customers do business with you

Do you know why your customers chose to do business with you over your competitors? What was special or different about you? What did you provide that no one else did or did as well? What got them over the line? 

Once you know the bigger reason of why they chose and valued your business you can ensure this is prioritised, communicated and maintained even when you need to change, adapt and expand to suit needs and wants. 

4. Sell the experience, not the product or service

The moment you start selling a product or service by its features and benefits you compete with everyone in your industry. But when you sell the experience, tell the story, share the vision or back the cause your customers are buying something else entirely. Your customers no longer compare you in the same way – you are in a different league. 

This shift creates loyalty not just at a product or service level; it creates loyalty at a company-wide level so when your customers do change, or when you introduce new products and services and try to upsell, cross-sell or resell customers, holding onto them and converting them is far easier.

How do you stay relevant in the mind of your customers?

Amanda


How to convince customers to believe in you

It doesn’t matter if you are pitching an idea, promoting a product or delivering a service, to make a sale your customer needs to believe in you. But with only minutes to win them over, where do you start? 

1. Communicate your why

If you are like many of us in business, there are hundreds if not thousands of people who do what you do. But not all of them do it for the same reasons you do.

To inspire, attract and recruit the customers you want, you need a cause or passion that is much bigger than the products or services you provide. Give your customers something to aspire to and believe in. As leadership expert Simon Sinek says, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” 

2. Show your passion

Have you had the privilege of being around someone who is truly passionate about what they do? It is infectious. You can’t help but get excited and passionate right along with them. 

When you get passionate about your business, you engage and excite your customers in the same way. By showing you believe in your products and services, you give your potential customers permission to believe in them too.

3. Speak ‘to’ them not ‘at’ them

Ultimately your customer wants to be heard and understood; that is why it is so important to talk to them and not at them. Your potential customers are people with real issues, frustrations, and needs, and they have come to you to get help. 

For this reason, switch your focus from selling to solving. Instead of talking about generic features and benefits, ask questions. Get to know them, their business and the reason they need your product or service. 

Their answers will give you the clues you need to develop a personalised pitch, which in turn will give them the belief you are the right person or company for the job.

4. Tell stories

To increase your customers’ belief in you, you need to establish your credibility. While you can talk about your background, qualifications and experience directly, telling stories is far more effective. 

To show you understand a potential customer’s needs, share stories of how others with similar goals or frustrations used your product or service and the results or outcomes they achieved. 

If you find yourself pitching a new concept or idea without any existing customer stories, then try using metaphors to increase their interest and understanding.

5. Be relatable

Be mindful of body language, the tone of voice and the words your customers use as this will indicate how they like to communicate and do business. If they have a relaxed approach, be relaxed. If they want to get straight to the point, then get down to business. Meet them at their level.

But don’t stop there. To be more relatable, you also need to find points in common. Do you share interests, passions or opinions? Have you experienced or solved similar frustrations? Do you have shared contacts? Are you in a similar phase of life or business? We all want to do business with ‘like-minded’ people.

Amanda


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