hat are user personas? Everyone who comes to your accountancy practice for advice will have different requirements, but clients within specific target markets will often demonstrate similar traits and characteristics. It’s these common interests and quirks that form the basis of what we in the marketing industry like to call user personas. Developing user personas – otherwise known as specific customer profiles – can help you understand what your ideal clients look like, and what kind of messaging will appeal to them the most.
Why bother creating user personas?
You can’t expect to engage your audience or establish an emotional connection with them if you don’t appreciate their wants and needs.
Building specific personas for your service users will help you identify the thought processes of the people who are most likely to buy from you. Understanding their attitudes and motivations will also ensure you and your team are better equipped to provide them with the best possible service while they’re in your care – and as we know, delivering exceptional customer experiences is a sure-fire way to cultivate strong, valuable relationships and generate repeat business.
How to develop user personas
To start putting together user personas for each of your target markets, you’ll need to ask yourself the following questions.
1) Whois buying from you?
Think about the kind of person who wants to invest in your products or services.
- Are they all in the same industry, or do they come from different professions?
- Are they employees or real decision-makers?
- Are they young or old?
- Where do they live?
- How much do they earn?
- Are they wealthy, comfortable or cost-conscious?
Segment your customers into two or three user personas to start with, and then move on to question 2.
2) What are their pain points?
Next, explore the issues that are keeping them awake at night.
Are they stressed out by the price of your services, or are they more interested in paying a little bit more for access to a dedicated accountant who can hold their hand through the tax year? Are they worried about reporting back to a more senior member of staff, or are they under pressure as the CFO to manage all of the company’s fiscal affairs?
Identify the problems that your user personas are experiencing on a daily basis – then, further down the line, you can come up with solutions for all of them.
3) Where are they?
Research the kinds of channels that your client personas use to gather information and opinions on different aspects of your services.
For example, are they active on LinkedIn, or are they more likely to spend their spare time browsing Facebook? Do they read financial journals, or do they prefer skimming through the tabloids during their morning commute? Are they highly influenced by online reviews, or do they prefer to receive a recommendation from a friend, family member or colleague?
Once you know where to find these individuals and you’ve worked out how they prefer to communicate, you’ll gain a better understanding of what you need to do to reach them (and, from a marketing perspective, which advertising channels are worth investing in).
Make your personas believable
Give each of your personas a name. Create a back story for them. Sketch them. Bring them to life in any way you can so you and your staff can identify them and empathise with them.
What if your current brand experience doesn’t appeal to your user personas?
By now, you may have come to realise that your user personas expect something different to what’s currently on offer from your accountancy firm. But that’s OK, because you’re armed with extra insight into what makes your clients tick, and you can take steps to ensure that the experience you’re delivering fully meets their expectations.