When you set out to create your company, what was your goal? To help people with a problem by providing your service as a solution? Or just to create something cool, then find the right people who would want it along the way?
My guess is, if you’re like most of us, you came up with your business idea because you saw a need in the market. You discovered a pain point, either for yourself or for people you knew, and came up with a product or service that could fix it. That’s your why – the reason you got into your business or this industry as a whole in the first place.
In order to diagnose that problem, you needed to understand the people who most experienced it. If they are people like you, then you had a good idea of who they were. Or if they were other people who you observed from afar, you likely put together a target persona – a breakdown of who your target audience is and what they want out of a product.
If you haven’t created a target persona, or even if you did, but your business has changed and it’s now time to reassess who your audience is, this is for you – especially if you went the other route and put your cart before the horse by coming up with an ingenious product that you now need to find an audience for.
We’re going to review how to define your audience, starting with what problems they face and how to discover them, as well as how to use video to better engage with your audience, whatever their target persona might be.
Understanding your audience… what do they want?
When you create a target persona for your product or service, what you are doing is building a profile of a potential customer and what they would look like. By that I don’t mean what they physically look like, but answers to questions like “what are their behavioral patterns?” What’s their yearly income range? Are they more likely to belong to a certain profession? Live in a certain region or city? Where do they go to find new products to solve their other problems? What products are they already using to try to solve this particular problem?
To develop this fleshed out persona, you are going to want to collect data from actual prospective customers to inform you, instead of working off of assumptions you make about who might be interested. It is fair to make some initial assumptions, but before you throw all your money at your best guess, try to collect some data to back it up.
We’ll get into what data you should be looking to collect to better understand your target audience in a minute, but first…
Where to start when developing your target persona?
Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s review the number one thing you should know about your prospective target persona before you ever learn another thing about them:
What problem does my audience face that I can help them fix?
You might have already answered this question in coming up with the idea for your product. Or, maybe you developed the concept for your company’s service first, and now need to figure out how your service can help real people in practice.
In both cases, understanding the why behind your product, both for you as a company and your target persona as a customer, is paramount to making your business, and by extension, your marketing work.
For example, after asking what your target customer’s problem is, ask: How does this problem affect them on a daily basis? Why do they need this problem to be solved?
Put another way: How can their problems be solved with a product on the market that fills their need? Why is this problem important for them to solve?
The why here is important. Why is this issue a problem for your customers? What pain does it cause? How much would it be worth to them to solve it? Now ask yourself the same questions:
What is your product? How does your product help fill a need your target persona has that isn’t served by other products or services on the market? Why do your customers need your product or service?
You have the questions, now how do you find the answers?
The easiest way to find something out is simply to ask. By surveying any followers, newsletter subscribers, or even previous customers, you can learn a lot from them that you might not have otherwise gathered from demographic information they provide to you when signing up or placing an order.
Customer surveys aren’t all you can do. You can dig into publicly available market research, or host your own in-person market research study where you poll a room of a dozen people about their opinions on your product and how they react to it. You can also interview referrals, prospects, and neutral third parties by offering incentives like discounts or gift cards to other services.
Something to remember: Not all customers fall under the same target persona. In fact, you will quickly discover there are a range of different types of customers who will be interested in your product or service, and should plan to expand your marketing efforts to include them.
Using video marketing to reach your target personas.
Video marketing can be incredibly helpful for reaching these different target persona profiles. For one, you can create targeted videos specifically for the goal of achieving targeting different demographics of target personas. Then, with testing the same videos to different audience segments, you can find key points of overlap between target persona demographics to maximize your marketing efforts by creating content that works for multiple groups.
When you come up with a video concept with a single target customer persona in mind, you can take more risks and tell a more relatable story. Think about what that customer would want to see. What would answer their questions? What would they find entertaining? How do you as a company relate to them, personally, as a customer?
For example, a powerful testimonial video from a mom who used your smart-house doorbell service to keep her house safe from intruders may resonate with a certain target persona, while a product video explaining the tech behind how the connected smart doorbell works might resonate more for a different, more tech-savvy target persona.
Creating multiple, targeted, personalized videos can help your video marketing efforts be more effective overall, by telling more personal and authentic stories, as opposed to one single, broad, cookie-cutter story meant to appeal to the broadest possible audience and ends up being so generic that it doesn’t reach anyone.
Two ways to build a target persona.
Here are two ways to go about building a target persona, starting by taking stock of where you are. Are you a company that already has a database of customers with which you can learn from? Or are you just starting out and don’t have any customers you can poll or analyze and need to start from scratch?
Let’s start with the assumption that you already have some customers, social followers, or newsletter subscribers with which to survey. Here’s what we recommend:
- Create and distribute a survey to any customers first, asking them a bit about themselves and what spurred them on to make their purchase. Maybe ask a few multiple choice questions to narrow down your hypothesis, asking them whether it was the price, quality, brand, or novelty that caused them to click purchase.
- Create a survey to any followers or newsletter subscribers next, asking them for a little more information about them and how interested they are in purchasing your product or service in the future.
- Review the demographic information on the views of any videos you posted or ads you have ran in the last 60 days to get a sense of who is watching your content and clicking through to learn more.
- Once you start to analyze and see some patterns in the data, begin to narrow it down into separate audience “personas” by giving them names and treating them as individual people.
- Define these separate personas by their goal in purchasing your product or service, whether it is to save money, buy a higher quality product, get more value from your product or service, solve their issue as quickly as possible, or whatever else.
- With as much information as you have, see if you can define what type of content works best for convincing this type of persona to click purchase. Did they watch a video? Read a review? Talk directly to a sales rep?
- When you have enough to target each separate persona audience with content tailored to that audience segment, you can begin marketing in a more hyper-targeted way.
Here’s one process you can use to start collecting some data if you don’t have any customers yet:
- Write down everything you think you know about your target audience, including key demographic information like income level, geographic location, and related interests.
- Use this initial persona to create an audience segment on Facebook or Instagram based on the regional and interest information.
- Create a short video or graphic ad that might appeal to this demographic. Get creative, or use a stock photo of a person who might fit this demographic. Create a few different ad variations to test against each other.
- Begin running ads to target your initial audience segments with your newly created ads at a small amount of budget a day, and see how they perform. Try the different image or video ads to determine if its the content or the audience that is responding positively or not.
- Once you have an audience that seems to resonate to your product, start putting more budget behind ads to that audience segment and direct them to a landing page where they can input their email to sign up for more information.
- Create a survey to poll this new audience a series of questions about their level of interest in your company. Make sure one of the questions is something along the lines of, “If our service didn’t exist tomorrow, how would you feel?” with a multiple choice of “devastated” or “fine.” This way, you should learn how badly they want your product.
- You can create a follow-up survey to ask them personally identifying questions about their interests and demographic background, then use that information to create a new target audience to repeat the steps above and see if they convert to more email subscribers.
Do this enough, and you should begin to form a target persona of who the audience for your product or service really is. You can then break that larger group down and segment it into the different “target personas” mentioned above.
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