Buyer persona? What is a buyer persona?
We have all had to write an important essay before, right? Do you randomly pick a question and start writing straight away? No - we would hope! Usually you would have spent weeks upon weeks compiling your research and determining exactly how you want to approach a specific question, along with a plethora of supporting quotes and statements.
Writing an essay is a lot like constructing a buyer persona. It takes time, research, creativity and most importantly, perspective.
A persona, by definition, is
- The aspect of someone’s character that is presented to or perceived by others
- A role or character adopted by an author
So what are buyer personas?
Buyer personas are educated and informed projections of a conceptual person who represents your ‘ideal’ customer. They help you understand and relate to an audience you want to market your product, services and content to.
By forensically analysing trends, behaviours, similarities and patterns amongst your target audience, you are able to create a marketing and sales strategy built around their goals, day-to-day issues and ‘pain points’. By showing business prospects you understand their pains and problems intimately, you encourage them to engage further with your company.
Why are they important?
Buyer personas are situated at the heart of any marketing strategy, and throughout every part of the inbound process; they are the most prevalent and most important element. If you can’t engage with your prospects due to a lack of persona profiling, you will lose their trust and interest. Once you have lost someone’s trust and interest, it’s hard to get that back.
Buyer personas allow you to focus on the problems your prospects are facing and provides you with an intricate and precise stream of marketing power to hit the right people at the right time, with the right content. Right? Good stuff.
But more so than anything else, despite being semi-fictional creations and educated assumptions, buyer personas inform you of what your business should be doing to alleviate their concerns and problems. Without buyer personas we wouldn’t know what content to create, which material to share, how we should direct our marketing efforts or where we can improve our presence. They are the context of the narrative, the framework which houses our efforts. They are the compass which determines the direction of our journey and where we should be going.
Remember, the purpose of constructing buyer personas is so that we know exactly who to attract, who we want to delight with our astoundingly good content and insight, and eventually get on board with us. The content and products we produce should be for them.
Furthermore, having concise buyer personas helps us segment our audience and contacts – allowing us to deliver forensically accurate targeted messaging. In a time where there is a massive amount of information, products and services both online and offline, we want to be specific and detail orientated. The more personalised and accurate we can be with our approach, the easier it is to pierce through that swathe of information, and engage with our target audience.
Cool right? Who would have thought that a bunch of data and analytics could be turned into something so useful!
So, how do I create a buyer persona?
Buyer personas require time, patience, strategy and an inquisitive mind. In order to construct the theoretical framework which is your ‘ideal’ buyer persona, you need to question yourself and your business to define just who would be interested in what you have to offer.
You need to be methodical and thorough with your questioning and analysis, as the greater level of detail you have, the more variables you can assess and cultivate solutions for.
You are probably wondering what kind of questions and analysis you need to be doing right? No problem, we can help.
Generally, the questions you want to be asking your buyer persona initially are the ones that will help you lay out a framework of who they are, questions such as:
- what they do,
- what industry they are in,
- how long they have been in that particular industry,
- their job title,
- their business agenda,
- their qualifications,
- where they reside,
- and the challenges they face on a day to day basis.
That will establish the base schematic for your questioning, but it’s important to move beyond the regular questioning context so that you can decipher the entirety of your buyer personas – you need to be able to understand them as people in order to ascertain their needs and desires.
- what activities they like to pursue,
- how old they are,
- the hobbies they engage in,
- why they work in the industry they are in,
- their aspirations and motivations,
- what they would change about their work or industry if they could,
- what publications they read,
- and where they go for news about their industry.
And, if you have a large database of contacts, the information you have collected over a period of time will help you to validate the elements of the buyer personas you are creating. If aspects of your buyer personas align with your actual customers, that’s a sign they are on the correct path. Collect as much information as you can from your existing contacts, their industry, business, demographic, geographical location, experience, job function, business pains and their day-to-day operations, as this will allow you to support the personas you are developing.
Research your personas
Now that you are armed with the above information, you can form a textual or visual framework (whichever way helps you digest information more effectively) which allow you to see exactly where your buyer persona’s pain points are and how you can relieve them and provide them with solutions to other problems.
If you are using a marketing platform like HubSpot, you will be able to manage your buyer personas more easily. The forms you create (you know, those neat little boxes on the right of the screen or at the bottom asking you to subscribe and provide details?) will allow you to ask all the necessary questions and receive the answers you need to venture further. Once a customer registers interest and subscribes, you can use the information you have acquired to start designing trend-maps and find common denominators between the people who visit your website.
Alternatively, you can call up interested prospects without the intent to sell anything, just to have a conversation and determine exactly what they like about your website, what they know about you, what you can do better. Think of it as a reflective questionnaire; your aim is to gather as much information as possible to help this person. Don’t sell them anything.
Another element to consider is your website analytics. They allow you to decipher the nature of the queries coming into your site, when they visited, what they typed in to get there and how long they stayed on a page. You are probably thinking: why do I need this? It’s a fair question. The answer is: data is key. The more data you can collate about your audience and develop a trend or find consistencies – the easier it will be to construct your personas and integrate them.
Don’t create buyer personas alone. Involve your sales department in the process, as their understanding of buyers, their tendencies, the problems they face and how they resolve them, will undoubtedly prove incredibly useful in the construction process.
In addition, having a common understanding of buyer personas and alignment across the business is crucial, as your buyer personas formulate the core of your content creation and content marketing strategy - which will bring you interested parties, which in turn, will bring you customers. If both marketing and sales understand the people they are marketing and selling to, campaigns gradually become more effective - enabling you to build great content which drives a particular business goal.
There’s no such thing as too much information when creating your personas (within reason of course – and for the express purpose of solving their problems with your products) as the more information you have, the more detailed and accurate your personas can be. Surveys are another avenue you can venture down, as you are able to get informative responses and collate statistics which can also inform your analytical.
What can I do with my Buyer Personas?
Implement them into your marketing efforts. Everything you do, create or intend should be innately linked with solving your persona’s problem. They are the embodiment of your ‘ideal’ customer – and in some cases, your buyer personas may encompass a wider variety of people too, that’s great – but in an age of information abundance and excess, being accurate, not assumptive, is the key to success. Your buyer personas are your marketing bibliography, the people your efforts are linked to, and if you can consistently market your product, business or service to these personas, our experience shows us that your marketing campaigns will bring you success.
What you can do with your newly created buyer personas is to start developing your content, produce targeted advertising and refine all aspects of your marketing to relate directly to these personas. If you have done enough detailed research, you will have a plethora of information which you can use to inform your future efforts.
Get out there. You are armed with the necessary details to research and create your own lucrative buyer personas. If you keep the comments above in mind as you pursue your agenda, you will have no trouble finding your audience and eventually engaging with them.
However, if you want expert help in developing buyer personas for your inbound marketing programmes, or for your content marketing, we provide expert content marketing and HubSpot support. Please get in touch for a no-obligation consultation, so we can discuss possible options and evaluate your marketing situation.