While you may wish every individual could be a part of your target audience, the truth is that having too broad a message and trying to appeal to everyone is never a good way to conduct your marketing. In reality, your audience is made up of similar groups of people, which can be categorized into buyer personas. The more detailed your personas are, the better you can target your audience and the more successful your marketing efforts will be.
Even the biggest brands in the world have targeted personas they use in their marketing strategies. So, what are they, how do you create them, and how can they help you find the right audience to market birthday party packages at your bowling center?
What are buyer personas?
Personas are not who you wish your target market to be. It’s who they actually are. Think about the people who most often book birthday parties. Is it moms, or dads? Are they booking large or small parties? What is the age range? What about birthday parties for teenagers, adults, and seniors? Gather this real-world customer information to start building your buyer personas.
Your personas aren’t your customers. They’re representations of your customers based on similar demographics, trends and buying patterns, such as:
- Role in the family
- Demographic data
- Online behaviors
- Shopping preferences
How to build your personas
Every business’s personas are unique, and the best personas rely on first-person data from your customers. There are a few ways to get this information, and you should use as many of these as you can to get the most information.
Interview your customers.
A quick interview is always a beneficial way to gather information. After you hold a birthday party, ask the host a few questions or leave a survey. Ask for information about them as an individual, as well as why they chose you, how they heard about you and how their experience compared to their expectations.
- Are they the decision-maker in the household?
- What social platforms do they use?
- How did they hear about you?
- What problems did they have when looking for a venue to host a party?
- What influenced their decision to choose your bowling center for the birthday party?
Pay attention to the differences in answers. If one person booked you because of the convenience and another because of pricing, that creates two different messages to share to two different personas.
Talk to your sales team.
Your sales team not only has insight into the customers who chose to book their birthday party at your family entertainment center, but also those who did not. Ask them about the customers that call to learn about booking a party, but ultimately book elsewhere. Some of these customers may have just been a bad fit, but others may have made their decision based on a negative assumption you could change with marketing. Negative information can help you discover any roadblocks in your customer’s buying decision path.
Check your social media, too.
Your social media accounts have valuable persona information, too. Look for reviews and comments to see what people have to say about your entertainment center and your birthday party options. Remember to list the positive and the negative.
Negative personas are good, too.
Knowing who not to market to can be just as useful as knowing who you should market to. Remember, not everyone will be an ideal customer, and that’s okay! It’s better to not spend dollars trying to bring in customers who will never spend money with you. Spend your time where you’ll see the biggest return on investment.
Create a persona story.
Now that you’ve done your research, group your customers into persona buckets based on their similarities. Then, create a separate identity for each persona you are going to market to.
For example, if a lot of the people booking your parties are married, working mothers with multiple children, who are active on social networks, and makes most of the household decisions, and needs a super-easy booking process because she’s overworked but still wants to provide a good birthday party experience for her child, that’s a persona!
- 2 children (both under 10)
- Mid-level manager at job
- Uses Facebook to keep up with friends and get deals
- Is overworked and feels a bit stressed by work and life pressures
- Wants to give her child an awesome birthday party
- Likes a simple sales process and full-service packages
How to Market to Your Personas
You’ve created your first persona. Congratulations! You now have key details about your ideal customer that will help you send her the right messages, at the right time and on the platforms she prefers. Once you know what motivates your personas, you can share messages that make them take action. If you need some ideas, take a look at our list of the top digital marketing trends of the year.
If this all sounds overwhelming, it’s okay to start by developing just one persona. You’ll begin to see the discrepancies between customers as you gather more information, making it easier to start developing more personas.