If you want to convince a hungry family to buy pizza instead of burgers, price and opportunity might be sufficient motivators to get them to switch. But if you sell higher end or more complex products, it often takes a different approach.

Let’s say you are pediatric dentist. Most of your patients are at least two years old, but the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that children see a dentist by age one. In line with these recommendations, you want to encourage families to bring in their children much earlier—right after their first birthday. But how do you do that? How do you break into the lives of busy parents and motivate them to do what is the last thing most parents want to do—take their infant to the dentist?

The key word is “motivate.” The key is to speak to them using their language and motivate them according to their priorities. To do this, you can use customer personas.

Customer personas are models for communicating with specific types of buyers. Just as with real people, each persona has a set of demographic descriptors, as well as other identifying characteristics. Take, for example, “mother with an infant at home.” Other than raising a newborn, what other pain points does this persona have? How does she make buying decisions? Who and what are her social influencers? Her primary motivators for early intervention? Her primary objections?

Once you have this information, you can craft messaging that targets this buyer type, then identify the names in your list that match up. To help identify them, purchase additional information if necessary. (We can help.)

Remember, these are not characteristics of any specific individual, but an aggregate that you identify as your best buyer. In this case, “mother with infant at home” is balancing work and home life, wants to be a good mom, is concerned about finances being a little tight, and is influenced by family and social media. She makes purchases methodically and tends to be a planner and rational thinker.

Knowing these things, you can plan your mailing. You can talk about how early dental care makes her a better mom, and how, with early intervention, she can avoid expensive dental expenses later. You can note how, with the right planning, she can keep her work/home life in rhythm. You can also develop multiple personas and create relevant messaging for each one.

Sound complicated? Don’t sweat it. It just takes a little time and practice and we are here to help.