How client personas can help you identify your target market

By AdviceBridge

This is the first in a series of four articles, the aim of which is to help you address different client segments, enabling more effective engagement with each persona type and how it aids in turning unprofitable clients into profitable ones, taking on clients you were previously unable to engage with and establish long-term profitable relationships.

These could well be clients with who you only previously had a very transactional relationship. You may have arranged some life assurance to cover their mortgage, or they could be old members of group schemes you either set up or acquired through business purchases or mergers.

By taking the time to understand them in more detail, you will increase your chances of meeting their needs through tailoring a service more specific to their personalities and thus developing a more engaged and mutually rewarding relationship.

Who is your target market?

The first thing to establish is who you’re marketing to and ensuring the communication you have with them is relevant to their needs.

For example, there’s little point in talking about detailed retirement income strategies with clients in their 40s. They will still be very much in the accumulation phase of their life journey. Likewise, the importance of income protection won’t really resonate with someone in retirement.

So, it’s worth doing some very basic segmentation of your client list, based as far as possible on the information you already hold, to ensure you’re communicating the right messages to the right audience, before building a more detailed picture and developing their persona.

What do you know about them?

If they are existing clients at the very least, you’ll have some basic information about them on your records, even if you’ve never completed detailed fact finds. You’re likely to know their age, gender and whether they are single, married or in a civil partnership. You’ll probably know where they live and if they have children.

Depending on your previous interaction, you should also know some financial details such as if they have a mortgage, or if they are, or have been, a member of a pension scheme.

That information alone gives you a decent starting point to start matching messages to appropriate clients.

The right messages through the right channels

The more you know about your target market, the easier it is to market to them. You can identify the correct channels through which to market to them, making your marketing more effective.

Knowing your target market will help you determine what marketing methods to use for attracting new customers, engaging lower value clients more profitably and how to add additional value for retaining loyal clients.

You can put out the right messages to attract them, and you’re likely to get a better return on investment (ROI) on your marketing spend.

Different age groups will react differently to certain messages and channels than others. For example, there’s little point in using social media channels if your audience are all over 75. Yes, there will be exceptions – “silver surfers” are very much a reality, but it’s usually the exception that proves the rule.

When it comes to communicating with large groups of clients, you should be looking to maximise your chances of success by using the channels that give you the best chance of your message being seen by the highest number of people.

By considering where people get their news and information from on a daily basis, you can adapt your messaging to engage them more effectively.

You can also design your website to appeal to them. This will usually be their first port of call after getting communication from you, so you should look to ensure your content is appropriate and welcoming for the different target segments you are trying to appeal to.

What are client personas?

One good way of helping you to match the correct messages to the right audience is by creating some simple client personas.

These will normally be based on groups of people at specific stages in their life.

Effectively, you’re building a broad persona of a specific client. Not everyone will match every feature you’re listing, but enough of them will tick sufficient boxes to improve the effectiveness of your marketing.

In very simple terms, we’re taking the information we listed earlier that you will already know about clients on your database and making some informed assumptions to fill out our understanding of them.

The sort of headings normally used for a typical client persona will include:

  • Client demographics – including age profile, family details, current wealth, and desired retirement age.
  • Their hopes and fears – what aspirations they have, and what keeps them awake at night.
  • Their media choices and influences – where they get their information, and how they make financial decisions.

Client personas are an archetype that represents the key traits of a large segment of your audience, based on the data you’ve collected from user research and web analytics and your own market and business insight.

A standard client persona does not apply to every client. As we’ve already considered, there are exceptions to every qualified assumption.

The aim of them is to improve the chances that you’re giving the right segment of your target market the right messages (at the right time).

Client personas can improve your marketing effectiveness

Using client personas helps you better identify client needs and wants. They also help you understand how different cohorts of people make financial decisions, where they get information from and what their drivers and motivators are.

They enable you to target your marketing content to align with their financial needs and values and ensure that you’re presenting content to them in a format where they are most likely to see and read it.

By defining your target audience more effectively, you will get more value out of your marketing spend and get an improved ROI.

Next steps

Over the next three weeks, we will be looking at three typical client segments and drilling down to create personas for all three.

How AdviceBridge can help you

AdviceBridge has developed an automated digital solution specifically aimed at meeting advisers’ needs in delivering targeted services that are more profitable to them and engaging to a broader range of client segments.

Find out more about our service and how we can help you by emailing us at or calling us on 0203 925 3850.