Written by: Samantha Russell
Knowing your clients and their needs is the first rule in the financial advisor field. But how well do you really know your customers? Surprisingly, you most likely don’t know them as much as you should, which is one of the biggest marketing mistakes. Not having a deep understanding of your client base and needs leads to assumption-making, and you know what they say about assuming. That’s where our old friend the client or customer persona comes into play.
You’re probably wondering what exactly a customer persona is and how it can help you as a business.
What Is a Customer Persona?
A customer persona (or in this case client persona) is a marketing archetype built from the collected data and shared attributes of your client base. The purpose of a customer persona is to provide advisors with a reference point to develop further marketing material. If you’ve ever heard the phrase “Put yourself in my shoes,” it’s much like that. The key takeaway is that you can see why customers think the way they do by allowing financial advisors to study specific attitudes, concerns, and criteria that push customers to make decisions.
Equally, if not more important than knowing what these personas can do for you, is how to create them to fit your business. Continue reading to see the best way to create customer personas that fit your business.
How to Create a Customer Persona
Creating a persona starts with the most basic of information. This means starting with a name and age, based on data and statistics gathered from your client base and audience. For example, if you’re trying to appeal to retirees, look up names from the years they were born. It’s all about getting into character so the more accurate you can be, the better.
Next, it’s time for “David” to be fed some geographical location information such as the state, city, or region that your target market is located in. Go even deeper, does David own property, or is he a renter? Does he live in a condo or a single-family home? Are his monthly mortgage or rent payments high? If you noticed, things start off slow with a basic question and ramp up into more detailed specifics. This is the best way to create a believable archetype that can help you get into the mind of your target audience.
Keep in mind, many businesses will have more than one customer persona, with each one representing a cornerstone of their audience.
What Kinds of Information Can You Include?
Outside of demographics, the next part of the process requires a detailed look at your persona’s thought process. Consider the following to add more detail:
Spending 40+ hours a week plays a huge role in shaping how they go about their daily lives. Including how they may make decisions and allocate their time. In this case, you should also be sure to include their salary as money is a huge deciding factor in decision-making.
Think about what some of their life goals may be in regard to their job. Do they want to become a lead, achieve a certain salary, or have any other goals that might affect how they carry themselves at work? What’s more, do they have any fears in regard to their line of work? Maybe they’re scared of being stuck in a dead-end job or not being able to advance up the corporate ladder.
What are the common aspirations of your customer persona? Do they want to send their children to college, change careers or spend more time away from work? Consider what personal goals can be influenced by financial planning.
It’s also a good idea to use their career and salary to highlight spending habits. How much do they allocate to certain aspects of their life and how does that impact their happiness or mindset? The more money someone makes the more they’re able to spend. The reason money is so important is that the hypothetical person you’re creating should be able to afford the product you’re offering. If they can’t, then the whole process of persona building would be for naught.
Understanding your client’s personality will help improve your marketing efforts because it’s important to know whether your target audience uses social media, what hobbies they enjoy, and their likes/dislikes. Personality can be a factor in whether clients buy products, where they spend their free time, and if they use the internet. This is all important when it comes to creating marketing content for your firm. For example, if the persona you created enjoys using social media, it helps to create content more geared for online usage. And vice versa if they don’t use social media.
Bringing value to your persona is critical to your marketing ROI. Pain points are often related to other categories, like personal goals. And by understanding the challenges and problems of your audience, you can create messaging and services to provide solutions.
Apply Your Customer Persona to Your Marketing
Congratulations! You’ve now finished crafting a customer persona unique to your financial firm and target audience. All that’s left to do is integrate it into your marketing strategy. This can be done by creating new content or editing current content to entice customers to convert based on the persona. Keep in mind that customer personas are very specific, so be sure that you use them as a magnifying glass to focus your efforts, while always asking yourself how you can bring them value.
You have to remember that all the data you’ve collected has gone into creating a persona that mimics your target audience archetype. This is all done to help you market better to prospective clients and understand their needs. The great thing about this process is that it not only improves your marketing effectiveness but allows you to cater better to client needs when they become customers.