Targeted PR and Marketing: How to Identify Buyer Personals

Targeted PR and Marketing: How to Identify Buyer Personals

The first step of any communications strategy is to figure out who it is you are talking to.
 

Where once upon a time marketers could guide a wide-range of prospects through an increasingly narrow funnel, today’s consumers control their own buying journeys. The result is a less-linear, more-scattershot approach to making purchasing decisions.

The challenge for marketers is to constantly stay in front of their prospects, ready to offer education, comparisons and testimonials to would-be customers as those needs arise.

But how do you do that when buyers aren’t waiting to be targeted and instead turn to Google to search for everything from investment advice to the world’s best coffee?

Well, that’s where buyer personas come in.

A buyer persona is, in simple terms, an idealized version of one of your customer segments. It looks at hundreds or thousands of real-life people who have already made the decision to buy your product (or at least download your content) and finds the commonalities among them.

You can create buyer personas for clients you’re not attracting but want to work with, and for your most valuable current clients. You can even create negative personas for clients that don’t make sense for your business.

How? By gathering the right kinds of information.

First and foremost, your data should be based on actual research, not assumptions. Talk to people and find out:

Basic business information
 

Marketing a business-to-business service or product? Job titles and seniority, teammate titles, the size of the company—all of this information can help target your marketing efforts to the right person within an ideal target.

Goals
 

What are your clients trying to achieve? How does your product or service help them?

Priorities
 

Most people weigh a number of factors before making a buying decision. What’s important to them? Service? Support? Sales price? What factors aren’t you considering?

Challenges
 

What hurdles exist between your prospects’ efforts and what they want to accomplish? Once you know how your solution fits into this equation, you’ll be better able to communicate its advantages to would-be clients.

When done well, buyer personas put prospects at the center of your communications efforts—and keep them there. Armed with qualitative and quantitative data, you can continue to engage individuals throughout the customer lifecycle, adding more value to both new and existing relationships.

Michelle Pittman
Public Relations
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With a diverse background that spans virtually all aspects of the communications industry, Michelle helps conceptualize and implement integrated campaigns for JConnelly’s cl ... Click for full bio

Solving Your Biggest Client Issue May Be at Your Fingertips

Solving Your Biggest Client Issue May Be at Your Fingertips

Written by: Shileen Weber

When the American Funds’ Capital Group  asked 400 advisors last year to name the biggest issues they face in their businesses, it wasn’t the DOL, market uncertainty or the economy that sat in the center of the idea cloud of answers.

It was client issues.

At a time when regulatory concerns and market turbulence would seem to be at all-time highs, the advisors who answered the survey were most concerned about servicing their clients as well as ways to find new ones and grow their businesses.

It’s one of the ironies of the business, that the things most people find so hard to manage – creating financial plans, managing assets and staying ahead of events – are what advisors find to be the easiest parts of the business. Marketing - the business of selling themselves – can be the area advisors find the hardest elements to master.

In this age of instant communication, it can be even more intimidating to market your practice, especially to younger clients for whom many traditional methods like newsletters, postcards and phone calls don’t work anymore. For them, email is the preferred way to get information, and, if it’s important, they are more likely to respond to texts, not phone calls.

But, it doesn’t have to be that hard. The digital age gives you access to ideas and content of all kinds you can use to touch your clients in a way that positions you as a valuable resource. The key is to keep it simple, stick to some basics and create consistent outreach that clients and potential clients are interested in and will appreciate you sharing with them.

Here is a common-sense approach you can take that will not require you to hire an expensive agency or take valuable time away from managing your clients’ assets and running your business.

Content is King


Create a content calendar for the year: Think about reasons to touch a client 13 times during the year – that can be once a month and on their birthday. (The common rule of sales is that it takes at least 7-13 touches to make a connection.) The number is limited and keeps you from inundating the clients who likely already feel inundated with content. You can take the seasonal approach – tax planning in the fall, January for account review content, college financing in the spring – and supplement it with topical events during the year. Creating a calendar will help you stick to a plan. Here’s one resource for a content calendar.

Review what content is already available to you:  Basically, this means finding the resources you already have and determining what pieces will be most valuable to your clients. Start first by checking out content your broker-dealer already generates that you can personalize. Many firms have economists who write regularly about the market. That’s content you can pass along to keep clients up-to-date they would not have access to anywhere else. In addition to your broker-dealer, mutual funds, your clearing firm, and money managers are all excellent sources of informative and even analytical content.

Personalize the content you use: Add your name, the client’s name or some way to avoid making it feel like canned content that you are using just to check the outreach box. See what capabilities your email program may have to help you.

Related: What's an Investor to Do When History Doesn't Repeat Itself?

The birthday strategy: One advisor used clients’ birthdays in a new way. Instead of the card or lunch date, the advisor asked the client’s spouse for a list of friends he could invite to a birthday lunch and made it a memorable event that was also a soft approach to getting referrals.

Become a curator of good content: What your review will show you is that you don’t have to generate the content yourself. You can point clients to pieces you find insightful. You are likely already doing this every day just to keep yourself informed. The next step is to compile it and send out the very best pieces to your clients, again, with a note with your own thoughts about why you found it valuable.

Find out what is working and do more of it: Use your client interactions, in-person and online, to find out what types of content clients liked and any they didn’t. You can use tracking on your emails to see how many were opened as a measurement tool, but the personal interactions tend to provide more insight than raw data.

Be disciplined about your execution: Get help from an office assistant or schedule the time each month to do the content development and outreach. As any good strategy, if you make it a habit, it won’t seem so hard.

Most importantly, be yourself and be personal: You may want to regularly get personal by talking about your family and hobbies. The ultimate is if you can provide content that is personal to your clients, not just about their investments – they get that from their statements, apps and online portals. Think alma maters, hobbies, children and parents.

Of course, as a disclaimer, you have to make sure all content and communications are complying with regulations and the rules of your own broker-dealer.

The process of creating a plan will get you thinking about your clients in a new way. That exercise alone can re-energize your business and get you seeing marketing opportunities in places you may never have seen them before.

Shileen Weber is Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications at GWG Holdings. She was previously Director of Online Strategy and Client Experience at RBC Wealth Management, where they placed first in two JD Power and Associates U.S. Full Service Investor Satisfaction Study (2011 and 2013).
GWG Holdings, Inc.
Investing in Life
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GWG Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq:GWGH) the parent company of GWG Life, is a financial services company committed to transforming the life insurance industry through disruptive and i ... Click for full bio