Have you ever been targeted by an ad that truly spoke to you, almost as if the people behind it knew exactly who you are and what you care about?
Well, they do.
No, it’s not a conspiracy theory of any kind – they know who you are because they made it their priority to create a powerful marketing tool called customer profile or a buyer persona. Essentially, a customer profile is a detailed description of a typical customer, including their characteristics, background, traits and behaviors.
With it, what you are trying to develop is a deep understanding of needs and online habits of your target audience, so every time you go about creating a product or an online ad, you can have them in mind.
What You Need to Create a Customer Profile
First things first – before you start profiling your customers, you need to know what information to include. Although you can add some other elements essential for your line of work, the ones you can’t leave out are – demographics, socioeconomics, psychographics and brand affinity.
Demographic information refers to gathering the basic facts about your customers, such as race, gender, age, city, ethnicity, and physical characteristics.
Collecting and, more importantly, understanding these facts is essential for knowing who to target in the first place. Who are your products or services intended for? Teenagers, younger adults, or seniors? Males or females? Do they live in big cities or small towns?
All these details are important, as they pinpoint to who would actually interact with your ads and promotions.
Socioeconomic information usually refers to education, occupation, household income, composition, and neighborhood.
Trust us, you do want to inform yourself about the average level of education and type of career your ideal customer has. This is closely related to their expected average income, which helps you tune your own services or products, as well as their prices so that they fit the typical spending budget of your consumers.
Psychographic information reveals innate behaviors and beliefs your customer has, including their personality, interests, hobbies, favorites (are they more of a GoT or Peaky Blinders fans), sense of humor, and personal style.
Consider engaging with them whenever possible, whether online or in person, and try to find out what they do for fun, what interests them most, what music they like, how they keep themselves informed, etc.
Knowing this will help you devise the most effective marketing message sure to catch their immediate attention, and your ad will certainly speak volumes to them. If you want your consumers to feel that you (and your brand) understand them – this is the way to go.
- Brand affinity
We know you know that brand loyalty is the promised land for every business. Why? The answer is quite simple – with greater loyalty comes greater spending power. Actually, 66% of American customers stated they are more likely to make a purchase from a brand they are loyal to compared to other brands on the market.
The key thing to do is to find out the reason why customers use your brand, what they like best about it, and what not so much, how often they use your products or receive the service, etc. Remember – it can be up to 25 times more expensive to acquire new than to retain old customers. It definitely pays off to go the extra mile and find out what your consumers really think about your business.
How to Get the Information You Need?
Now that you know what information to look for, let’s see how to gather it.
Although you might have thought that Google Analytics is simply a tool used for monitoring and analysing web traffic, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Actually, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. This powerful tool can also be used for collecting valuable information about your site’s visitors and potential customers.
With the help of Google Analytics, you can gather the following data:
- Who your customers are – The audience section includes demographic information, such as age, gender, and location.
- How they landed on your website – Whether they found your site via organic search or a paid advertisement, or maybe the traffic is direct or referral. These findings can provide a clue on the direction of your future marketing efforts and whether your resources should be spent on SEO or SEM.
- How much they like your site – The behavior section provides insight into the return rates, frequency, and engagement, which gives you the answer to that age-old question: “Am I doing this right?”
- Which content is the most engaging – Content section gives you an overview of your content’s performance by telling you which pages attract the most visitors and which ones have the highest bounce and exit rates.
Use this information wisely and you are sure to convert “passers-by” into paying customers.
Surveys may seem like an old-fashioned way to gather data, but you know what they say – sometimes the old ways are the best. They not only offer a great opportunity to collect information and input about your customers, but they are also highly customizable.
You can ask basically anything – from the demographics to the more personal questions related to the household income, personality traits, or greatest fears and pet peeves. Just make sure to start with more general inquiries first – similar to talking with someone in person, you probably don’t start your conversations with personal questions.
When it comes to deciding on who to include in the process of profiling, aim for variety and send out your surveys to both current and past customers, site visitors, in-process prospects, and leads. The more diverse the pool of participants you have, the more accurate your customer profile will be.
Once you decide on your core questions (which, of course, depend on the industry you are in), it’ll be much easier to use them as a base for creating longer questionnaires.
If you offer your customers a possibility to subscribe to your newsletter (if not, what are you waiting for?), you should include a registration form where you will require them to fill in some additional information, like age, gender, occupation, product preferences, etc.
This will help you to not only segment the mailing list by a category of your choice but also to generate highly personalized emails so each subscriber feels like they are addressed personally. It’s best to include just a couple of questions (one or two) since you don’t want to come off annoying or too nosy, and deter potential customers.
A bonus tip – if a subscriber decides to leave you, find out why they chose to unsubscribe and use that information to improve the content you send out.
How to Use a Customer Profile?
Once you create an accurate customer profile, you’ll be able to understand your target customers’ demographics, socio-economic background, personal preferences and beliefs. In addition, you’ll gain a better understanding of the current market, as well as other possible profitable markets. This insight will help you segment your marketing and improve your strategy, thus increasing response rates and the number of conversions. All of this leads to an increase in your sales, higher profit, and a greater ROI.
Namely, profiling customers enables a company to:
- Create marketing segmentation – Once you know almost the exact profiles of your customers, you can create segmented lists which you can later use for targeted marketing campaigns that will be tailored to a certain customer profile. Alternatively, you can differentiate between prospects and clients to ensure either new services or additional lines should be advertised.
- Increase engagement – Is it easier to talk to friends or strangers? With friends, you’re not searching in the dark. Instead, you have a meaningful relationship with them. And that’s exactly what a customer profile brings to the table. You’ll know what to say, when, to who, and what communication channel or method to use. As Jayson DeMers, an online marketing expert, says:
- Improve customer retention rates – Customers who have a strong relationship with a certain brand are less likely to turn to competitors. The best way to create such a lasting relationship is to use the input a customer profile gives you and segment your marketing efforts, deliver the right offers to the right customer types, and tailor your pricing accordingly. Your efforts won’t be in vain – a loyal customer is usually here to stay.
- Acquire new customers – Once you know what your consumers are like, you can attract new ones by advertising on the places leads spend the most time, by having an offer that’ll be hard to resist, or by having satisfied customers recommending your product or service to their friends or colleagues (WoM marketing). And as we already know – more customers equals more revenue and higher profits.
Creating a customer profile enables you to understand and get to know your consumers and build stronger relationships, create tailored offers that fit the needs of each customer group, and increase sales and profits, leading to greater ROI.
No matter which industry you are in, the competition is fierce nowadays. If you want to gain competitive advantage and leave your rivals in the dust – profile your customers and see the results for yourself.