Client Persona Profiles in a globe

What is a Customer Profile?

Building a client persona helps you to better understand your clients. Armed with knowledge of your client, their environment and the hurdles they have to jump, you’ll be able to target specific groups with customized content and improve your sales process to better suit your clients. Whilst it sounds like extra work, targeted marketing can be a lot more cost effective than a shotgun marketing method. Here’s a quick one page template that you can use:

One page Customer Persona Profile template
1.21 MB 11 downloads

It’s much easier to market to a customer when you understand them & their environment, but identifying a customer isn’t always as easy as it sounds. There can be many different people in the decision making process, and ensuring that you’re targeting the right person (with the right information) is important.

Identify the players & their roles

Think about a child that wants candy, the child (Influencer) doesn’t have money to buy the candy, but can influence a parent (Decision Maker) who can make the decision to buy – but the purchase is actually completed by an older sibling (Buyer) that’s at the store. I’d recommend analyzing several of your previous sales, and understand who played what role – and at which point you’re making an impact. Once you’ve identified a few of the key players, you’ll be ready to start creating personas (or profiles) for the key individuals that you want to sell to.

Getting the information

Most people in similar roles have similar problems, but don’t base your persona on just one individual. Try to speak to as many people as you can and understand their commonalities. It’s important to speak to them and not to hypothesize in a closed room – even if it is based on your past real experiences. If you can’t conduct actual interviews, organize casual meetings and tactfully elicit as much information as you can.

What you need to know

Try to a build a well rounded profile of the customer (Who), the more complete your profile, the more human you can make your approach & the better you’ll be able to sell. Here are a few high level categories you’ll want to cover:

  1. Where; do they go? Which clubs, societies & events do they attend? Which magazines do they read, and what websites do they frequent or trust? This will help you understand where you need to promote your brand & reach your audience.
  2. What; problems & challenges do your clients face on a daily basis? Who do they report to and what are their KPI’s? Help them fix their problems, make their lives easier and they’ll want to work with you.
  3. Why; does your customer want your solution? What problem does it actually solve? This might be different from the one you intended it for, so listen carefully. People buy things because it helps them in some way, not because of specific features.
  4. How; do they actually buy your solution? What internal hurdles are they going to face, what business cases or justifications will they have to present? Prepare materials that will help your buyer deal with their internal issues quickly. This will make it easier (and faster) for your product to actually get sold.

Once you have all this information for one your clients, you’ll be able to leverage this information to create more relevant buying stages, and to improve objection handling. You’ll probably have to make 3 or 4 of these profiles so that you can address each player specifically.

social clock

What time should I post my content?

For the longest time I hadn’t really paid any attention to the timing of my posts. In the beginning it was tough to even complete a post, so just hitting the publish button was a relief.  The truth is that even with practice, it’s hard to produce decent content. So I started wondering how I could make each piece of content go further.

It turns out that SocialBro produces a great little chart that highlights when your twitter followers are online. Which is precisely when each of your tweets is going to have maximum reach. So I reactivated my bufferapp account and started driving all my non-reply tweets through buffer, with buffer posting based on my SocialBro recommended schedule.

Here’s my SocialBro “Best time to tweet” chart:

SocialBro   best time to tweet

Here’s what happened after I actually used the tweeting schedule:

Tweet post time Activity analytics for kameel

The engagement and impact of my twitter posts more than doubled! In hindsight the logic seems simple, post when my audience is online for maximum reach.

Whilst your twitter audience might not be a 100% accurate representation of your blog readership, if you’re attracting a similar audience, it stands to reason that the timings are likely similar. It’s a great starting point to experiment with.

There are several tools that can help you figure out your ideal tweeting time including FollowerWonk (by Moz), SocialBro and Tweriod. I’ve used FollowerWonk before, and I’m currently using SocialBro. They both have the same sort of features, but you can only get FollowerWonk if you take the complete Mox bundle (which I don’t need personally).

As a word of caution, there are lots of infographics and articles advocating a best time to post. Please remember that it’s entirely dependent on your audience. Don’t make any assumptions, monitor your results, experiment and find out what works best for you. Check and update your schedule regularly, but don’t get too crazy – some things still need to happen in real time.

Performance Matters

Website performance, does it matter?

We’ve all heard the stories about how website load times can affect your business, it’s been repeatedly validated – even by Google. Interestingly whilst Google may talk about the impact it has on users, according to Moz it doesn’t seem to have any meaningful impact on search ranking. Phew? Not really. There’s no escaping the fact that website performance is important to users. The question is, how much is it going to impact your business?

In most scenario’s you won’t find me recommending getting under the hood of your website, except possibly for this. If it’s going to impact your bottom line, you should know a little about it. Even if you have an agency managing your website & it’s performance, it’s a good idea to know the basics – and the quantum of impact, is it really going to be a game changer for your business?

I’m not going to go into any details about performance tuning. Let’s just have a quick look as a small business (or individual) what it takes to squeeze a little more out of your website. I started playing with my (self hosted GoDaddy) WordPress website, and here’s what I found:

Before:

Performance Measurement Before Modification

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After disabling a bunch of JetPack features I don’t really use:

Performance Measurement After Modification

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do these numbers mean?

  1. Load time; lower is better. This is how long it takes to fully display your page to a user.
  2. Page size; lower is better. The smaller your website, the faster it will load & display.

So my website got 1.5 seconds faster, and I shaved just under 100 kB from my page size. Sounds good right? Well by themselves these numbers don’t mean much. After you make some optimizations, you’ll need to track the following metrics to see if the changes had any impact:

  1. Bounce rate; lower is better. How many visitors come to your site and then leave without going anywhere else (or staying for long enough).
  2. Time on page; longer is better. The longer people are looking at your page, the more likely it is they’re actually reading it & finding it useful.
  3. Pages per session; more is better. The more pages people are looking at, the more engaged (and interested) they are in your content.
  4. Leads/Sales/Downloads/YourGoal; this is always the ultimate test. If you have an awesomely configured setup, but no leads or sales (or whatever goal you have for your website), what was the point?

I’ll be making a few more performance changes and I’ll publish the results at the end of next month. Before you get caught up with performance tuning or optimizations, check whether or not it’s going to make any real difference to you business. There are ways of testing this (as above), but you could also just stop and think about your customers, and the type of leads/sales you’re generating ~ is your product a commodity that they’d consider going elsewhere for if the site was slow?