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Targeting Your Ideal Prospects with Buyer Personas

Valerie Rivera October 30, 2020

using buyer personas to target prospects as a financial advisor

At the heart of any efficient and productive marketing strategy is a thorough understanding of the target audience.

Many times, marketing campaigns target everyone at the same time in an attempt to garner as much interest and business as possible. But chances are, if you’re attempting to reach everyone at once, you’re likely not reaching anyone as effectively as you could be.

In fact, firms with a specific target market see 18 percent higher operating profit margins and 35 percent higher median annual client growth.1

Understanding your ideal client’s challenges, goals, motivations, and lifestyle can help you create more relevant and impactful marketing campaigns for your business. This is where buyer personas—an essential part of a digital marketing strategy—come into play.

What Is a Buyer Persona for Financial Planners?

Buyer personas are fictional representations of your ideal clients. These personas serve as a guide for all your content creation, outreach, strategy, and product development efforts. While fictional, they are based on real data and research on your most loyal and profitable clients.

At a high level, your buyer personas may include a variety of information on:

  • Demographics
  • Goals
  • Challenges
  • Common objections
  • Your primary value to this audience

It’s likely that your firm has multiple buyer personas, depending on who you serve best. These could represent clients at different incomes and life stages, or even individuals with specific titles or responsibilities within organizations you do business with.

What Are the Benefits of Creating Buyer Personas?

The primary objective in creating buyer personas is to identify and attract high-quality prospects to your firm, with a fraction of the effort and cost of a less targeted campaign, who convert into long-term clients. Developing buyer personas for your firm can elevate the efficiency and ROI of your digital marketing efforts.

A recent study2 showed that 56 percent of firms say that new business with existing clients is their top driver of growth. At the same time, however, social media has become the third largest source of new clients, behind referrals and centers of influence.

The development of buyer personas guides the effective use of these digital channels, and in the process, yields a number of benefits for firms that take the time to create personas.

Insight into Your Ideal Prospects’ Behavior Online

By researching everything you can about your ideal clients and segmenting them into different personas, you can gain invaluable insight to inform your marketing campaigns. When you know where your ideal prospects spend their time online, how they prefer to learn and engage with people online, and why they pay for your services, you’ll have a much clearer roadmap for attracting the right people to your business.

More Impactful Messaging

A better understanding of your prospects allows you to personalize your message for greater impact, demonstrate empathy to their situations, and present realistic solutions. In this way you establish your expertise and start building the foundations of trust, particularly through content marketing. You can also overcome common objections by proactively addressing them in your content or on your website.

The Right Modes of Engagement

Researching your ideal prospects can help ensure you’re reaching people on the right channels and catering to their lifestyle. Different generations, for example, have different social media habits, and one platform may be more effective over another. Buyer personas can be combined with life stages, for example your ideal clients in retirement, to create highly targeted, segmented content or advertising that’s likely to yield greater results.

An Increase in Efficiency and ROI

Once you’re able to better target your ideal prospects, you’ll likely spend less time and money targeting individuals who won’t be a good fit for your business. Plus, the quality of the leads you work with are likely to improve. You’ll be able to better reach, engage, and convert your ideal prospects into customers.

Committing to developing buyer personas is an important first step in finding new ways to grow your firm outside of relying on referrals.

How to Create Buyer Personas

Start by looking at all the information you have on your existing clients and identify those who comprise your ideal clients. Again, there may be several different types of ideal clients based on your firm’s service model. It helps to work together with any client-facing staff to come up with as much subjective and objective information as you can to start building your personas.

After you’ve worked internally to come up with as much information as you can, it’s important to interview some of your ideal clients. The more detailed your buyer personas, the better you’ll be able to target your ideal prospects. Asking the right questions is key—and there are so many potential questions you could ask clients during an interview.

Here are just a few examples of different types of questions you could ask:

  • Personal and professional questions
    • What’s your education level? Income?
    • Describe your job responsibilities.
    • What’s your marital status? Do you have children, grandchildren or other dependents?
    • Can you tell me about your career path? How did you get to where you are today?
    • What does a typical day look like for you?
    • What kinds of skills are required for success in your role? What knowledge and tools do you use?
  • Goal and Values-based questions
    • What are your most important financial goals?
    • What does a successful retirement look like for you?
    • What motivates you to get out of bed every day?
    • What do you value in a financial planner?
    • What do you expect to achieve with our relationship?
  • Challenge questions
    • Have you had any reservations about working with a financial planner?
    • Are you worried you may not be able to fund all of your goals?
    • Are there aspects of your finances you don’t understand?
    • What do you think are the biggest challenges to achieving your financial goals?
    • Do you feel there are any obstacles to following your financial plan?
  • Behavioral questions
    • Where do you like to get your news? Do you read any blogs or other publications?
    • Are you a part of any Facebook or LinkedIn groups? What’s your favorite social media platform?
    • Do you learn best by listening, reading, watching videos, or some other way?
    • Are you a part of any personal or professional associations? Do you volunteer anywhere?
    • What kinds of activities do you enjoy in your leisure time?
  • Buying questions
    • What motivated you to start working with a financial planner?
    • How did you find me? Did you do any research online? If so, what did you look for?
    • Did you speak with multiple planners? Did you prefer to contact them over the phone or over email?
    • What specifically were you looking for in a planner and why did you choose me?

While this may seem like a lot, it’s only the tip of the iceberg in terms of what you can ask your ideal clients to learn more about them. The deeper you dive into these questions with clients, the more detailed your buyer personas will be.

Buyer Personas Are at the Heart of Effective Digital Marketing for Financial Advisors

Developing buyer personas is an important first step in launching and scaling digital marketing efforts at your firm. With specific personas guiding your campaigns, you’re likely to see greater efficiency and ROI while bringing on more new clients than ever before.

Buyer personas help you get the most out of modern marketing tactics like content marketing, social media, and other digital channels. Success with these digital marketing strategies depends on your ability to craft the right message on the right platform for the right audience. To continue learning about growing your business through digital marketing, read our latest eBook The Financial Advisor’s Guide to Digital and Social Media Marketing.

Sources:

DISCLAIMER: The eMoney Advisor Blog is meant as an educational and informative resource for financial professionals and individuals alike. It is not meant to be, and should not be taken as financial, legal, tax or other professional advice. Those seeking professional advice may do so by consulting with a professional advisor. eMoney Advisor will not be liable for any actions you may take based on the content of this blog.

About the Author

Valerie Rivera, Senior Product Marketing Manager at eMoney Advisor, leads the go-to-market strategy for eMoney’s suite of business development solutions. Valerie began her career at eMoney in 2012 as an Account Executive and then a Live Trainer where she trained over 1,000 advisors on the eMoney platform – helping them drive success in their firms. In her spare time you can find Valerie outdoors--snowboarding, hiking, and mountain biking in her home in Colorado.

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Welcome to
Heart of Advice

a new source of expert insights for
financial professionals.

Get Started

Tips specific to the eMoney platform can be found in
the eMoney
application, under Help, eMoney Advisor Blog.