Do you really understand how a well written user persona will change your creative business?
Do you feel like you are wasting your marketing dollars?
Not getting the leads or selling enough product.
Perhaps you are targeting the wrong people or worse yet you are trying to reach "everybody" cause everyone is your ideal customer.
SORRY to burst your bubble but it's not possible to reach everyone:
1. You don't have the budget to market to everyone.
2. Not everyone will like what you have.
3. Not everyone is your "ideal" person.
Understanding your target audience is a huge component to your brand and your strategy. Figuring out your target audience is will help you design engaging, unique, personal marketing campaigns for your customers and will help you establish a long-term relationship with your customers. It's an amazing and priceless component to an effective marketing strategy.
I have been a graphic designer, brand strategist and consultant for creative businesses for quite some time now…I think if I only count my formal training it’s been about 20 years. One thing I have learned is that the most effective way you can increase the efficacy and quality of your marketing efforts, is by truly understanding your target audience. This applies to handmade products too, it doesn't matter what industry you are in. If you are trying to sell something to someone—you damn well better know who you are trying to sell too.
Really having a clear picture of who your customers can be compared to having a super power if your business was a superhero.
User personas which are also sometimes called “user avatars” make communicating and reaching your audience super easy. Once you get them right speaking clearly and effectively and on the right marketing channels will help you make more money. Yes, more money!!!
When you understand your customers hearts, struggles, joys, frustrations, and fears something magical happens. You can speak clearly with the right tone and your messaging speaks right to their heart, then you can design and implement a well-crafted campaign and build your business. Then instead of worrying about your marketing you can focus on what you love to do-make awesome things.
In fact, when you really have an idea of who your buyers are, you will actually find yourself being even more creative. Creativity with a purpose.
I promise it's not a waste of time and effort and I firmly believe the benefits outweigh the time it takes to research and create them.
I see the return on my client's investment,
Once you establish user personas you can put all of your marketing efforts toward the people and you will know where to find them too.
No one likes to waste money on advertising or marketing because you are trying to reach too large of an audience or grasping at straws.
So what does this mean for my art? What does this mean for my handmade products in the retail space?
I knew you would ask.
Well, If you haven't noticed yet, the retail scene is overloaded. Completely overrun.
If you have looked around at an art show or craft fair you can find a few other people that are making something pretty similar.
Without a strong visual brand identity or brand why would a buyer choose you over another option? Without knowing your ideal people and what they are looking for in products like yours, how do you even begin to stand out and gain their trust?
Having a well rounded brand will give your product a leg up and let it shine in the marketplace.
Standing out in the crowd is a good thing. Well, at least it is outside of high school and you can do that by knowing your "crowd".
SO WHAT EXACTLY IS A USER PERSONA?
User personas provide an easy way to understand and organize demographic research.
Organizing and summarizing all of that research into an easy way to digest it. Each “User Persona” is crafted using data you or I collect and organize. We then digest it and create a "human" out of it.
Really, you choose a name that fits and then write a fake persona using the information you discover in your research.
Giving the data a face, a job, a location and even a name. It really is a cool tool that will help you focus on a character of a “person” instead of data from hundreds of people.
HOW DO I MAKE A USER PERSONA?
So a few ways to start making your own user personas starts with a bit of research.
WHERE TO START?
Well, you could call me, or you can take a look and try for yourself?
Having a real understanding of who your target audience is, who is visiting your website, and who you want to do work with will help create a strong brand and user experience. Making sure that your customers are being spoken to in a way that resonates with them will drive strong conversion rates and help you establish repeat customers.
If you didn't know I am a huge believer in YOU getting to know your ideal people. I want you to best friend know them. What do they struggle with? What are they looking for when it comes to your products? What other brands do they love? Yep. Best friend know them.
So how do you "best friend know" your ideal customers? Well that's a great question. You ask them, you show up and you do the research. The main point of creating user personas is to outline the behaviors, needs and demographic info of your core target audience and the only way to discover those things is ask, or research.
FIRST, DECIDE ON WHO YOUR IDEAL PEOPLE ARE...
THEN DECIDE ON THE BEST WAY YOU CAN GET THE INFORMATION YOU NEED.
I have found that most creative business owners do best with simply serving a survey or depending on how long they have been in business sometimes just asking your ideal customers from your mailing list for a Zoom call or take them out to lunch. I also like to create surveys using TypeForm. It's a great tool that helps you ask better questions and then organize the information. Nothing better than saving time and giving people a better experience.
You can also try Focus groups. They are a great way to get information for a small business owner.
Focus groups might be another reasonable way to get information for a small brand. You could invite 5-10 customers to join for a small non-intimidating party and discover more about their perceptions, expectations, and reasons for buying. I like The Balances explanation of a Focus Group.
"A focus group is a gathering of deliberately selected people who participate in a facilitated discussion intended to elicit consumer perceptions about a particular topic or area of interest. These discussions should be held in an environment that is non-threatening and receptive. Unlike interviews, which usually occur with an individual, a focus group allows members to interact and influence each other during the discussion and consideration of ideas."
Website analysis is another great way to discover who your ideal customers are. See where and when customers are viewing your website.
Get your hands on some demographic research. Literally look up the research...which you can find on federal, local and municipal government sites. Also you can check out Facebook's Audience Insights tool as well. But keep in mind if your audience isn't on facebook thats not a great place to start. Also there are many paid services that can help you dig deeper as well.
I also love just putting your feet on the road and digging into your current social media audience. Find them on social media and read their posts, engage with them and write down the answers to the questions below. Some people might call this "stalking" but since we are only using the info for making better content and creating a better brand I think it's ok.
HERE ARE THE QUESTIONS YOU NEED:
Once you decide on how you will get the research, then you just have to ask the right questions. Then you need to create an insanely detailed picture of your ideal client....
It's easier to change and open the hearts of your customers when you know who's lives you are changing.
Busy working moms? Stay at home moms? DADS!!!??? Ask questions that will help you determine their basic demographics.
Who are they?
I always prefer good ole fashioned research...asking questions. Who are your preferred customers? Well, make a list of 5-10 of your most loyal customers and offer to take them out to lunch or give them an Amazon gift card for their time. Always offer some small token of appreciation. Take them out for lunch somewhere kind of quiet and bring a book with your questions already prepared.
Start with these basics:
How old are they?
Is he/she outdoorsy or metropolitan?
Does she live in the suburbs? City?
Whats their home like?
Where is home?
What is his/her job? How much does he/she earn?
What is her relationship like with their spouse?
How many children?
How do they spend his/her free time?
What tv shows do they binge watch on Netflix?
Do they read? What? Websites, books, magazines, blogs?
What kind of outfit would you usually see them wearing?
What problems do they wish they could solve?
What do they eat for breakfast?
What is he/she willing to splurge for?
What is her/his most used smartphone app?
How would her/his best friend describe them if they were being brutally honest?
What is one big dream they are open about?
What is one big dream they are private about?
THE PROBLEMS THEY FACE
Let's learn about the problems they might face everyday.
This will help you talk to them about why your product might work best for them. Let's basically figure out what your dream customers are struggling with and how you can help them.
What are they struggling with?
How can you help them? (Make it easy to book you, Make your product easy to understand?)
What kinds of things do they complain about?
Does their problem cross/age/cultural/geographical lines within the community? For example, stay at home moms who live in suburban areas?
How much do you think these people would pay to have this problem solved?
What was her initial thoughts when they started to search for your product?
Did your brand give her a good experience?
Was it easy to find you?
Have they ever used another similar product before?
What was the experience like? Describe it?
What are there thoughts about price?
How did she like the customer service?
Do they have any suggestions for how you could make the experience better/more appealing/ or more helpful?
How would they feel about a money back guarantee?
What were they most concerned about when looking for your product?
Where would she look the next time they need more of your product?
Will they need more? How can you branch out or expand your product line?
Does they know you offer another product or service?
I am all about systems and having a place for everything...and that includes your business documents. Craft a handy guide that's easy to reach for when you are writing content. So whether you are writing content for your website, captions for social media, or heck trying to come up with a new product. User personas are an amazing tool. Just make it easy to find when you need it. I suggest a Google Document and bookmark it in your browser.
Understanding your target audience is a huge component to your brand and your strategy. Figuring out your target audience is will help you design engaging, unique, personal marketing campaigns for your customers and will help you establish a long-term relationship with your customers.
When you understand your customers hearts, struggles, joys, frustrations, and fears something magical happens—YOU connect with THEM. They remember you, they follow you, and they buy from you. You can treat your art and your craft just like the brands that you see every day. Just because you are a small business, that does not mean you can't do the same thing as large fortune 500 brands....they just simply know who they are trying to reach and what makes them different.
So if you are constantly worrying about your marketing, know who you serve so you can focus on what you love—making awesome things.
If you need help. Send me an email I would be happy to help you. ;) I have a handy guide I would be happy to give you.