What is a 'client persona' and is it a fad, or something practical and useful in marketing your firm? In simple terms it's an exercise to understand your prospects and how you can improve your fee income. This article explores:
- What is a client persona
- Why a client persona is a great tool
- Considerations for building a client persona
What is a client persona?
A client persona is a simple model, or sketch, representing part of your target market. It may just be a few words. Done well it can help you, and your team, understand their interests, livelihoods, pain, needs, thinking and the things that you can help them with. The best client personas are given a name and all your firm's marketing messages are designed around the needs of your firm's identified client persona.
Why a client persona is a great tool
Putting a name, and background to the people you are talking (writing, or marketing) helps you improve the effectiveness of that 'conversation'. What's more, it makes it much, much, easier to get your team to do the same thing and understand where you are taking your firm. Having a client persona can often change your marketing from vaguely focusing on your target market, to being laser focused on exactly the type of client you want to attract.
What's changed, I never bothered before!
The marketplace is becoming increasingly competitive, so understanding your prospects is more important than ever. All your marketing (whether Facebook ads, great blogs, phone calls, or networking) is competing for less and less of your prospect's busy time. To attract your prospect's attention and energy means being more specific. Prospects want to work with an accountant who really understands their world. The more you can demonstrate you understand their world and are catering to how THEY want to work with an accountant, the greater the likelihood that your firm will win their business.
What's more, online advertising - particularly Facebook - allows or even demands, you use advanced demographics to place your ads. Client personas help you create more specific advertising.
How building client personas helps you
The client persona is way of modelling and talking about prospects in your target market. It covers things like their interests, livelihoods, pain points, needs (not always the same as their pain points), the ways they normally think and what you can help them with.
You probably need more than one, and less than five, personas for your firm. You aim is to cover the majority of your target audience, so that each persona will have enough specific details that it is useful. This is unlike 'I market to the owners of SME's', which has absolutely no value as it tells you nothing about your target market.
This is about going further than simply creating a niche, it's about starting to dig into the people and the thoughts of the people who represent your niche.