You talking to me?

All alternative fund managers, private equity managers and Registered Investment Advisors have a pretty good idea who their target market is. But it’s often unstated, presumed, not written down, or otherwise not articulated.

However, the more precisely you define your ideal target audience, the better you can tailor your marketing and sales approach. The “them” is this case is called your client “persona.”

What’s a persona? A buyer persona is a representation of your ideal customer. It’s based on their demographics, investment interests, investment objective, risk profile, background, age, geography, and behavior, among other factors.

A Typical Persona?

For instance, a typical buyer persona for a long/short equity hedge fund investor may include that he or she is an accredited investor with more than $250,000 in net worth, makes his or her own investment decisions, invests with a three-year time horizon, has a moderate to aggressive risk profile, owns a own business, is 45 to 65 years old, and lives in a major metropolitan area.

Personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customer based on real data and some select educated speculation about customer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals.

Instead trying to attract, convert, close, and delight all the millions of investors in mutual funds or mattresses, focus on those most likely to become your client.

So use buyer personas. Know who you’re trying to reach – everything you do must be tied back to your personas are.

“Personas help you create the right content, says HubSpot. “The right content will most effectively attract your ideal visitors, convert them into leads, and close them into customers. Personas allow you to personalize or target your marketing for different segments of your audience. For example, instead of sending the same lead nurturing emails to everyone in your database, you can segment by buyer persona and tailor your messaging according to what you know about those different personas.”

The Written Persona

Personas are often documented as a one-page document. Here’s an example, via HubSpot:

The Negative Persona

Where a buyer persona is a manifestation of an ideal customer, a “negative persona” is the bad apple or bad fit you don’t want as a client, at least not yet. You may not want to market to non-accredited investors, for example, or to those who may not meet your fund’s risk profile or tolerance, or to pension funds if you are a start up manager, or to family offices if your fund does not yet have the assets or performance history to meet their minimums.

Persona Research

Your buyer personas should be based on real research, not on your assumptions. The questions you ask as you create a client profile and to determine investment suitability can form the basis for developing your idea buyer persona.

Questions about investment objective, investment horizon, job, family, age, school, research and buying habits are all relevant. You can base your research on your current client database, prospective clients, blog subscribers, newsletter list, industry reports, competitive analysis, and hopes and dreams.

To whom should your inbound and content marketing be targeted? Your buyer persona is who you should be talking to.