BUYER PERSONAS are critical to identifying your target customers, and then appealing to them with your branding and communications activities.
So, what is a "buyer persona" and what are the key aspects to that persona that you can use to strengthen your cannabis brand?
You’re in the cannabis industry as a dispensary owner or producer. You’ve read our publication titled,The 8 Crucial Elements You MUST HAVE to Make Your Brand Shine Brighter Than the Rest, where we presented the 8 essential elements that you need to have integrated into your brand. In this article will discuss the #3 Essential Element: Buyer Personas in more detail.
Firstly, What is a “Buyer Persona”?
Whether you’re in the cannabis industry and have some business knowledge or a lot, you understand the need to define who you want to target as a customer. Creating buyer personas will help you do exactly this, and allow you to be far more successful with your marketing and branding activities.
The company Hubspot defines Buyer Persona in the following, general way:
“A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.
When we get into the details of the buyer persona, it can be broken down still further. For our intents and purposes, we’ll provide an example of how to structure what might be a typical buyer persona if you’re in the marijuana dispensary business.
How can I find all this information?
Unless you have a significant budget and are able to hire a market research agency to create your patient personas for you, you'll have to do this on your own. But have no fear! You can get this information yourself with a little time and effort.
From whom can I get buyer persona information?
Now that you know about the importance of buyer personas and that you can indeed research this on your own, the next question is: From whom can you get information to build out your buyer personas? Here are four suggestions:
If you already have customers for your cannabis business, these lovely folks are your primary source to get additional information to build out your buyer personas. They'll know you best, and they'll be the one who were attracted to your cannabis business in the first place. But why? This is what you can find out so that you can reinforce your messaging and targeting.
Your customers will also give you fantastic insights for which brand initiatives resonate most with them, and those which don't. This will enable you to double down on what works best, and jettison that which doesn't.
Do you know who your prospects are? If you've been savvy about building your email list through providing helpful information on your webpage (and requesting an email address from someone who wants to access this information), you can request insight from them to help build out your buyer personas. If you don't have a method for increasing your email list, you need to have one.
Referrals are basically people in your network. This includes your co-workers, existing customers, social media contacts etc. You can also use LinkedIn to search for people who might fit your target personas, and who have contacts in common with you. You can then reach out to these people and request their assistance.
As a simple word of encouragement, you of course realize that the cannabis industry is still a little bit foreign (to say the least) to many people. You might face some backlash when reaching out to someone to garner information that will help you build your cannabis business. If this happens, keep in mind that the #1 Essential Element to building your cannabis brand is through increasing legitimacy. If you approach the contact with a legitimate business interest in mind, and with a legitimate business query, you'll be facilitating legitimacy overall.
4. Third-party Networks
A third-party network is one where you have no connection at all to people who could provide valuable insights to you in building your buyer persona. One great source of information from third-party networks is Craigslist. You can create a simple online survey (using our suggestion coming up here in a second), and then create an advertisement on Craigslist with a URL link where interested parties can take the survey!
How can I get information from the above?
Now that we know from whom we can get information to build out our buyer personas, it's a good idea to know which methods you can use to reach them. There are three main methods for getting information that will help you build out you buyer personas. These are:
- Online surveys (can include surveys sent through paid advertisements on social media channels, or through your email list. Survey Monkey is a fantastic resource!)
- One-on-one interviews
- Focus groups
A few tips when recruiting interviewees
In order to prompt people to want to provide you information in building your buyer personas, keep the following tips in mind when recruiting your interviewees:
- Clarify you're not trying to sell something
- Provide incentives
- Make participation easy
What about Jane?
Once you get to the point where you're ready to start gaining valuable insights into your buyer personas, you'll need a detailed list of questions to get the critical information you need from individual personas. Let's use the fictitious character, Jane, as an example for how to do this, as well as the relevant questions you need to ask.
A simple overview of Jane is that she is not new to the world of marijuana. In other words, she’s in the market. Once we’ve established this fact, we need to ascertain the following information to the best of our abilities. This could be either with in-depth market research (preferred), or via anecdotal information (less preferred, but workable if deeper research is unavailable).
After you have you have Jane as a person whom you would like to build your buyer persona around, ascertain the following information:
- Where is Jane from?
- Demographics (these include the following)
- Family size
- Hobbies and Interests
- What inspires Jane in life?
- To what does Jane aspire?
- Anything that would inhibit Jane from discovering your cannabis brand
- Immediate goals
- Goals in life
- Common objections
- Why would Jane not want to try your brand?
- Biggest fears
- What ultimately keeps Jane away from your marijuana dispensary?
Once you have ascertained the above information, you will be able to integrate Jane's buyer persona into your overall messaging. Keep in mind that any messaging targeting a Jane-like persona should conform to your marijuana dispensary's overall brand identity. This means that you already know who you are (your brand), which you will have ascertained already this through our publication, The 8 Crucial Elements You MUST HAVE to Make Your Brand Shine Brighter Than the Rest and are able to tailor this brand messaging to meet Jane's buyer persona needs.
Creating detailed Buyer Personas is highly important in outlining exactly how, and through what methods, you want to reach out and attract your ideal customers. Detailed Buyer Personas also provide you a fantastic way to build upon and reinforce your brand messaging.
Remember, to create the most accurate and effective Buyer Personas, you need to have done your research by coming up with detailed answers to the above bullet points. You can also, to a lesser extent, use anecdotal information when creating your Buyer Personas.
Once you have clear answers to the above information, both through direct market research and, to a far lesser extent, through anecdotal information, you will be far more affective at creating the hooks that drive your ideal cannabis customers to you. In addition, if you use all eight of our suggestions in our publication The 8 Crucial Elements You MUST HAVE to Make Your Brand Shine Brighter Than the Rest, you will also be incredibly effective at not only keeping your customers loyal to your cannabis brand, but also in prompting the kind of positive word-of-mouth that will win you new customers who will be loyal to your brand as well.
So, now that we have covered the first three essentials for building your cannabis brand - Legitimacy, Differentiation and now Buyer Personas - and you understand the critical need for the Experiential and to Be The Expert (both covered in our downloadable publication), you are ready to move to the #6 Essential Element: Refinement.