Buyer Persona in an Early Startup

From the Product Nerd: Selecting a buyer persona to define in an early startup can certainly be a challenge. For one thing, you have no first hand data to know where to start. Instead you have to rely on a consultant or google search or interviews with others who have traveled that road. My experience is that nailing the profile of this individual is probably one of the most beneficial activities a startup product person, CEO, or founder can complete. Alaura Weaver does a great job of describing this from a marketing lens...

Buyer Persona in an Early Startup

by Alaura Weaver

Before I met my husband, I tried my hand at online dating. I know, I know: ugh. It’s both an amazing accomplishment of the digital age and an awkward, humiliating ritual that modern-day singles are forced to undergo to meet people.

But now that I’m a copywriter who works with startups, I’ve discovered that my online dating days taught me a thing or two about digital marketing.

What does online dating have to do with content creation and digital marketing for startups?

Believe it or not, everything.

The Online Dating Paradox

The thing about online dating is in order for the process to work — in order for you to accomplish your goal, which is to find the most compatible person for your relationship needs (be those needs casual or long-term) — you have to know exactly who it is you’re looking for. Otherwise, the algorithms will have little to base their search upon besides superficial factors that have little to do with true compatibility.

The dating sites will come up with suggestions, sure, but the likelihood of those suggestions being a perfect fit for your needs become slimmer the less certain you are of your requirements for a perfect match. Thus the painful process of sifting through the profiles of people whose picture features a close-up of their abs, the weird-as-sh*t people posing with their guns (both the arm kind and the semi-automatic kind), and of course the profoundly poor spelling and lack of punctuation skills (major turn-off for a copywriter).

And once you’ve found The Right One, there’s no guarantee that you’re the right fit for them. After all, they may meet every parameter you’ve been seeking, but if your profile isn’t optimized to their needs, you may get overlooked in favor of the competition.

It’s a catch twenty-two mirrored in the world of startups, isn’t it? Like a member of a dating site, you’re looking for someone to fulfill a need you have in your life (in the case of a startup: money), but in order for you to find them and achieve fulfillment, you need to know who it is you’re looking for and what it is they’re seeking.

The Pickier You Are, The Better Your Results Will Be

Digital strategist Amy Webb shared her online dating experience in her TED Talk “How I Hacked Online Dating.” As a super-smart, left-brained data junky, Amy a) was having trouble finding a suitable mate using online dating services, and b) felt the need to reverse-engineer the algorithm so she could create a profile that would nab her ideal man.

So she did what any self-respecting growth hacker would do: she did some competitive intelligence, did A/B testing of profiles, and created a system for rating potential matches based on her own prerequisites for a potential mate. After posting her newly optimized profile, Amy received a flood of responses and finally met the man she would later marry. Here’s what she says:

“Well, as it turns out, there is an algorithm for love. It’s just not the ones that we’re being presented with online. In fact, it’s something that you write yourself. So whether you’re looking for a husband or a wife or you’re trying to find your passion or you’re trying to start a business, all you have to really do is figure out your own framework and play by your own rules, and feel free to be as picky as you want.”

So It Goes With Marketing

The pickier you are about who your perfect customer is, the more likely you’ll be to find them, and the more likely they’ll find you.

From a copywriting and content creation standpoint, the more in-depth your understanding of your target’s internal motivators, the easier it will be to persuade them to buy from you.

If it seems like a tall order to identify THE ONE for you and your business (especially if your business is a startup and hasn’t even begun the customer acquisition process), fear not. By the time you’re done with this post, you’ll know the questions you need to ask and where to go to find that elusive perfect match.

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