Having a “Target Market” Isn’t Enough – Why Your Bookkeeping Business Needs Marketing Personas

(prefer video over text? click here to watch the Facebook Live instead)

The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter—’tis the difference between the lightningbug and the lightning.

— MARK TWAIN

You know that writing great content online matters for your bookkeeping business. And you want your social media posts and blog entries to help convert online viewers into phone calls and new contracts.

But, if you’re like most financial professionals … well, you don’t like writing. And you really don’t know how to write something that will stop a Facebook scroll. So how do you get your content from “lightning bug” to “lightning”?

Let me ask you this: When you write all that marketing content for your Facebook posts or blog entries or LinkedIn articles, do you know who are you writing to? Who is your audience? Do you have someone specific in mind? Or do you just throw up holiday greetings and tax tips and hope that’s enough?

And, ok, you may even be a little better than that – maybe you know that your target market (and best bookkeeping clients) are solo-practice attorneys in their 40s in the Dallas area. As long as you’re writing toward that group, that’s specific enough, right?

Nope, not even close.

If you really want your online content to be electric, and get the attention of new clients, you’re going to need to get really REALLY specific on the “who” you’re talking to.

So pull up an Excel spreadsheet and get ready for some research, because we’ve got some marketing personas to build!

Target Market vs. Marketing Personas – What’s the Difference?

One of the main reasons for using personas is that when you target everyone you actually target no one. The art of segmentation is about narrowing your focus in on people in the market that are more likely to become your users/customers so you can better serve them.

— MICHAEL KING, “Personas: The Art and Science of Understanding the Person Behind the Visit”

Alright, so, we already know that your “target audience” is a broad overview of who you serve: it covers details like the age range, geographic area, and profession of your clients.

But a marketing persona (also called a “client avatar” or “ideal client profile”) takes it wayyyy further.

A client avatar:

  • Is a very detailed profile of your ideal client, uses about 10-20 points of data, and is usually given a name (like Jill or Steve)
  • It’s created using researched data, not guesses, to make it accurate, razor-sharp, and useful
  • It humanizes who you’re writing your content to, making it easier to write something warm, emotional and specific (who’s easier to talk to? Jill, or “young mother in mid-30s going through a career change”?)
  • It helps you understand and speak to the motivations of your clients – what makes them tick, their values, their goals, their struggles, etc.
  • And it’s very common for companies to create multiple versions of client avatars within their target market

In case you need a comparison, here’s a good example of the difference between a “target market” and a “client persona”:

“Your target audience can tell you that women between the ages of 35 and 40 are likely donors for your school supplies drive, but a persona will tell you that these women are mothers with school-age children looking to help teach their kids about the power of helping others.” (Source)

Can you see the difference?

With that target audience, you don’t really know who you’re talking to because it’s not a person: are they married? Mothers? Employed? If so, where? And why in the world are they dropping off school supplies? But with a persona, you have a much clearer idea who you’re talking to, how to have a conversation with her, what motivates her to donate school supplies, and how you can appeal to her to ask her to donate at the next school supplies drive.

Does it really matter that much?

I wish I could say it didn’t – research for client personas like this take time, and writing individualized specific content is not easy. (Believe me, I do it every day, I KNOW)

Isn’t it possible to just squeak by with more generic content? Can’t you just post things like helpful tax tips and filing deadlines? Those are useful to your bookkeeping clients, right?

Technically, yes, that stuff is useful and your clients will appreciate that. But in today’s personalized online market, if you’re looking for more engagement and conversion, those kinds of generic posts just aren’t going to cut it.

“In the B2C space, companies like Amazon and Netflix have trained consumers to expect a personalized browsing experience. That expectation has begun to spread into B2B and other industries as well. Companies are beginning to see personalization as a key strategy to their future marketing.”

— MEGHAN KEANEY ANDERSON, “Stop Being Rude: 22 Data-Backed Reasons to Personalize Your Marketing

And this personalization trend isn’t just a guess – Meghan’s article shares a lot of research that backs it up:

  • “HubSpot found that calls-to-action targeted to the user had a 42% higher view-to-submission rate than calls-to-action that were the same for all visitors.” (Source)
  • “Leads who are nurtured with targeted content produce a 20% increase in sales opportunities.” (Source)
  • “[One of] the top reasons for U.S. email users to unsubscribe from a business or nonprofit email subscription [is that the] content is no longer relevant (56%). (Source)

And here’s something else – the fact that you’ve read this far tells me you’re looking for results, not a short cut. You know your content needs to be more effective, and you want to figure out

So here’s the short version: if you want to write content that converts better, increases sales, and stays in email inboxes, it’s got to be very specific for the exact client you want. You know you have to write the content no matter what – so don’t waste your time creating lazy posts. Take a little more time to get much better results!

That’s what I’ll cover in the coming weeks: how to research and create client avatars, why you should include at least one anti-client avatar, and how to talk to them in your business messaging.

(And in case you’re curious and raring to get started, feel free to snag my free client avatar worksheet. You can download it here: )

Liked this? Wanna learn more? Click here to continue on to the next post:

“How to Find the Data you Need to Create Marketing Personas for your Bookkeeping Business”


And, like always, please feel free to comment here with any questions you’ve got, and friend or follow me on Facebook at Pukkapith Content

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