When you’re promoting services and attracting new clients on the internet, the possibilities are quite literally endless, but trying to market to everyone is nearly impossible, and that’s why you need a buyer persona.

A “buyer persona” is a fictional representation of your ideal customer, and creating one is a crucial part of digital marketing.   Your buyer persona should as detailed as possible: the deeper the understanding of your target customer, the better.  

Getting Started

Not only will a buyer persona allow you to edit your website content to target event planners who are most likely to book your services people – it’s also useful for lead procurement websites like Eventective, which allows you to qualify leads by choosing the type of event you’re interested in, the time of year, day of the week, and the number of attendees.  Knowing what type of lead is most likely to convert into a sale will allow you to focus your energy in the right places.

The first step is to make a list or description of who you think your ideal target customer is.  Don’t hesitate to give this imaginary customer a name and a detailed backstory – the more realistic – the better. A good example of a strong buyer persona for an event professional should look something like this:

“Kathy” is a woman aged 32-35 who is getting married for the first time.  She works in Marketing and makes 55k-65k a year.  She is getting married in New England in November in order to cut down on costs and she is planning on 150 attendees. She prefers Instagram to Pinterest, she is not planning to have a wedding coordinator, and her top priority – where she is will to spend the most money – at her wedding will be the catering.

Data Compilation

Once you’ve envisioned this customer, it’s time to make sure that your envisioned target customer is on point by compiling information about your former clients.  Think of each satisfied customer as an educational chapter in your unique “buyer persona book” –  i.e. a collection of useful information that will help you attract new clients in the future.

Use a spreadsheet with columns for the following:

-Event Location

-Event Type

-Event Budget

-Number of Attendees

-Event Season

-Event Time

-Event Planner’s Age

-Event Planner’s Gender

-Additional Vendors Used

-Event Planner’s Annual Income

-Event Planner’s Profession

-Event Planner’s Professional Industry

-Event Planner’s Favorite Publication/Blog

-Event Planner’s Favorite Social Media Platform

-Event Planner’s most important vendor provided service (for which s/he is willing to spend the most money)

EXAMPLE: buyer persona spreadsheet

EXAMPLE: buyer persona spreadsheet

Go through your list of past clients and compile the information for each.  Don’t be afraid to add additional columns with more statistics if they occur to you – remember, the more detailed your persona, the easier it will be to target them.

Once you’ve compiled this information, it’s time to look for patterns or similarities.  What do your clients have in common? Do they share similar budgets, backgrounds, or income brackets? Are they all from the same state? It’s okay if you don’t see anything dramatic – just try to hone in on anything that seems to be consistent.

Compare any patterns you find to the faux customer you created at the start – does the information sync up the way you thought it would?  If so, great – you’ve proved yourself right – if not, update your imaginary customer to reflect the new information you’ve compiled.

Interviews Part I

The next step is interviews. Pick three clients from the list who you feel represent your most successful event. Maybe they wrote you an absolutely glowing review on your website or maybe you just felt a real connection when you worked with them.  Send out an email and (very politely) ask if they have time to do a quick phone interview.

Once you have them on the phone, it’s time to get the details.  Ask them the following questions, and remember that the follow up to every question you ask should be “why?” in order to cultivate that deep understanding of your buyer persona’s motivation.

-How/Where they found you

Remember to ask for specifics – If they were referred by a friend, ask who. If they found you through the internet, ask if it was through a lead procurement site like Eventective, a simple Google search, or a blog or online magazine like The Knot.

-Why they chose to book you

What made you stand out compared to the competition? Was it your price point or something unique about your services?

-Their favorite part of the services you provided

Knowing what you do well makes it easy to promote that aspect of your services to other potential clients.

-If there was anything you could be doing better, and how/why

Constructive criticism is crucial for growth – no one is perfect, so don’t take it personally if there was something in your performance that could be done better.

-What was the most stressful part of planning your event?

If it was stressful for this client, it’s likely that it will also be stressful for other potential clients. Knowing their pain points will allow you to focus on the ways you can solve them and improve your pitch in the future.

-Is there anything you would change about your event, if you could?

Being able to anticipate problems before they arise will only improve your performance in the future

This is also a good time to ask for any information you weren’t able to add to your spreadsheet based on memory.

After the third interview take some time to compare answers – were any of them the same? We you able to predict any of the answers? If the answer is yes, you’ve begun to paint yourself a picture of your buyer persona.  If there is no consistency in the answers to your questions, reach out to another three customers and repeat the process.

Interviews, Part II

It’s also important to gather information from people you haven’t worked with yet.  Ask your friends or family if they know anyone planning an event who wouldn’t mind helping you out by answering some questions.  Not only will this help you with your buyer persona, but it may get you some quick gigs if the person you speak with likes your style.

Ask them the following questions, along with any specifics about your particular industry (i.e. if you are a photographer, you may want to ask things like “what style of photography do you want for this event?”)

-Where do you look for vendors for your event?

-What has been the most stressful part of planning your event so far?

-What is the most important thing you’re looking for in a vendor?

-What do you enjoy most about the event planning process?

Always remember to ask for specifics and to follow up with“why?” 

Continue to compile the information and look for patterns until you feel confident that you have a strong understanding of both what your previous clients have in common and what potential clients are looking for.

Go back to your original imaginary client and compare the persona you created to the information you’ve collected and make the necessary adjustments based on the information you’ve collected. You’ve officially created your Buyer Persona.

Buyer Personas can always evolve. As you book jobs, make it a point to continue to collect this information by contacting clients post-event for reviews and feedback. Last but not least, always trust your instincts.

The Takeaways

Creating your “Buyer Persona” will help you target potential clients more effectively and book more jobs.  Remember these key factors:

  1. The more details you have about your buyer persona, the better!
  2. Your satisfied customers are your greatest resource
  3. Interviewing event planners who you haven’t yet booked is a good way to get on their radar while simultaneously gaining a better understanding of their thought process
  4. Always ask “why?”
  5. Buyer Personas should continue to evolve as you book more clients