Every successful product and the sales and marketing strategy supporting it starts with Buyer Personas.
They’re similar to what many people call their “target market” but they’re much more focused on the individual person rather than an entire market.
The Buyer Persona Manifesto describes them as;
“an archetype, composite picture of the real people who buy, or might buy, products like the ones you sell.”
Buyer personas are fictional representations created for your business based on real information about the ideal customer you want to attract.
They generally include both demographics & psychographics and should be as detailed as possible to get the most long term value from them.
Why do you need Buyer Personas?
If everyone in your organization, especially your sales and marketing teams don’t understand who they’re speaking to, it’s hard to create persuasive messaging that really resonates with your customers.
The more you know about your customers wants, needs and challenges, the better you’ll be able to position your company as the answer or solution to those wants, needs and challenges.
Buyer personas help marketers, writers and web designers develop a relevant user experience and the right messaging for your content marketing, campaigns and other customer interactions.
Simply stated, buyer personas are the foundation for your sales and marketing strategy and everything else is built out from them.
For example when you sit down to write a new blog post, the first step you have to do is understand your audience. This is just one area your buyer personas help a lot.
How to Create Buyer Personas
It all starts with research, surveys, and interviews with your target audience. You want to collect information that is both qualitative and quantitative to paint a clear picture of who your ideal customer is, what they value, and how your product or solution fits into their daily lives.
Start by researching your existing customers. A good place to start is with customers you like. The ones you wish all your clients were like. These are the types of customers you want more of.
If you have a customer database, this can be a great source of knowledge and insight about your existing customers, past leads and even prospects.
Also, talk to your sales and support teams. These people have first hand knowledge of your customers because they deal with them daily.
Next, identify the most common buyers of your products and services. You may have several different types of buyers, so give each one a detailed description, including a name, job title or role, industry or company info, and demographic info.
Here are some key questions to consider.
- Gender & Age – Are they predominantly male or female? Are they younger, older or an age range?
- Profession/role/income – What is their title or common roles? What is their income?
- Education How well-educated are they? This can help with understanding how they process information. Do they understand complex data graphs, stats, and case study results, or do they respond better to customer testimonials and simple images?
- Family, values & spare time – Are they married with kids or single? Where do they live? What are their values? How do they spend their free time? Do they have common interests, pass times?
- Shopping habits & buying decisions – What else do they buy and how? Do they shop online or offline? What do they take into account when they make buying decisions? Is it the price, features, outcomes, simplicity, customer service? What do they do online? Are they active on Twitter, Facebook, or other social networks? What kind of search terms do they use? What kind of information do they tend to consume online? Which of your products do they spend the most time researching? How do they use those products?
- Financial situation – What is their company size, revenue, type? How much are they willing to pay you for your product or service? Do they have a budget for what you offer? How easily do they make the decision to buy?
Needs, Challenges & Goals
Because people learn and shop differently today, the content you create for your buyer personas will need to be focused on satisfying their needs, challenges and or goals.
The more of these you can identify within your personas, the more effective your content will be.
- What are your customers primary goals and challenges?
- What are their responsibilities?
- What does a day in the life look like for them?
- What are they searching for with regards to their problem? Are they searching?
- Do they know they have a problem and there may be a solution out there in the market?
- What is the best elevator pitch for this specific persona?
- What are their common objections?
- What kind of experience are they looking for?
Compile & build behavior based personas
There are a couple of ways you can compile all of this information. The simplest is using a Google Doc.
There are also a few great tools out there to help you create quality personas. Check out Hubspot‘s new Make My Persona tool or the Up Close & Persona tool.
These are great web apps to help you create buyer personas.
Examples of Marketing Personas
Sometimes a sample is the easiest way to get started. Here are 3 example buyer personas to give you a clearer idea of what you want to accomplish.
1) Amanda the Marketer
2) Diane the Director
3) Fred the Facility Manager
Buyer Personas are the foundation of successful inbound and content marketing strategies.
They’re important because they help everyone in your organization, especially your sales and marketing teams understand who they’re marketing and selling to.
Creating buyer personas is an ongoing process of refining and adding more information as you gain a greater understanding of your ideal customer.
I hope this has been helpful and if you need some assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions.
Source credits: Toastwife, Moz, Hubspot, Buyer Persona, Icon graphic.