A client persona goes much deeper into identifying specific traits and characteristics, and other ways in which this person is influenced when making decisions. The ideal client profile is built from your perspective, while the client persona is created from your ideal client’s perspective.
When you create a client persona, you are creating a detailed representation or composite of your ideal client. The client persona then becomes your narrative framework that will guide you in all of your messaging, marketing, communication and cultivation efforts. Depending on your marketing scope, you may want to create three or four personas representing the ideal client from different audience segments you want to target.
So how can you use client personas to improve your marketing?
- Builds niche appeal: Keeps you from coming across as an ‘one size-fits-all’ advisor which is not likely to appeal to the specific market niches you want to cultivate.
- Enables you to create more appealing content: Whether it is your web content, blog articles, email newsletters, or social media engagement, your content can be more direct, more relevant which will increase your appeal and build your reputation within your market niche.
- You can speak their language: When you better understand your clients’ motivations, concerns and interests, you have a better opportunity to build rapport, which is critical to the relationship building process. That includes using their jargon and communicating in the way they prefer.
- You will create more consistency in your marketing: You will be able to hone your message for each client persona, and create strategies based on what, when, and how they want to receive the message.
- You will generate higher quality leads: If you work strictly off your client personas, you will be able to quickly identify lead sources, referral sources and networks that will produce the best results.
Creating client personas is not difficult but you will have to invest significant amount of time to research your ideal client and compile your data. To start with, identify target groups or niches. You probably already have identified the particular audience segments you want to target. For now, they can be broad target markets or niches, such as ‘high net worth families.’ You will need to narrow your scope to create a client persona but that will begin to happen as you research your clients. For instance, if some of your HNW clients are professionals or executives and some of your HNW clients are business owners, you would create a separate persona for each. You can narrow it down even further if you want.
Client personas should describe a specific group of people with similar interests, needs and pain points. For example, instead of focusing only on families, be more specific and target first time parents of small children.
Secondly, you can obtain much of the demographic and background data from your existing client files.
Lastly, conduct client interviews as the information you will need in your personas will need to come directly from your clients. You are asking for their help in building a client profile that you can use to guide your marketing and your client interactions. You could also gather some information through a client survey or conduct a focus group. As you listen to their answers, be especially conscious of any particular jargon they use in describing their situation. You want to know how they use the language, so you can incorporate it into your message and content.
To sum up, financial advisors are finally catching up with the rest of the marketing world in understanding that traditional marketing approaches no longer work. The goal of creating client personas is to humanize your ideal client, so you can you give your content the proper context and tailor it to the audience segment you are trying to attract. It does take some time and effort; however, it will give you the ability to narrow your focus and channel your resources for the most effective and profitable use of your time and effort.
Reproduced substantially from the ebook Creating Client Personas