What are Buyer Personas?
“Buyer personas (sometimes referred to as marketing personas) are fictional characters created to represent the composites of the values, behaviour, and characteristics of your perfect customers, distilled into unique summaries.”
Buyer personas can be very complex or quite simple, depending on the nature of your business and the type of person who typically purchases your goods or services. Buyer personas are:
- Common behavior patterns
- Shared pain points (professional, personal)
- Universal goals, wishes, dreams
- General demographic & biographic information
Why do you need Buyer Personas?
If you know and understand who buys, or will buy your products you will maximize your advertising return-on-investment and content effectiveness.
Buyer personas help you understand your customers and prospective customers better. This makes it easier for you to tailor your content, messaging, advertising, and services to the specific needs, behaviours, and concerns of different groups.
How do I actually make Buyer Personas?
Start With What You Know About Your Best Customers. Think about your best customers, the ones who you have the best relationship with, who want to purchase more than one product or service from you. Identify what you already know about those customers. Are they within a certain age range? Do they tend to be male or female? Do they have a certain level of education? Do you know if they have kids? What do they like to read? Are they from the same sector?
Focus On Pain Points
Why are they coming to you? Unfortunately “they need my product or service,” isn’t really a good enough answer. Ask yourself what pressures your customers tend to be under. Are they under a deadline? Are they looking for the best possible cost? Is quality their main concern?
Once you’ve answered these basic questions, take it a step further. When fleshing out buyer pains, it’s helpful to imagine yourself as a curious two-year-old child. For every answer you come up with, ask yourself why. If your customer is price sensitive, is it because her boss is pressuring her to cut costs? If that’s true, then why is that the case? Once you’ve exhausted all the “whys” you’re able to come up with, you’ll have a pretty good understanding of your persona’s pains.
Conduct Interviews and Research
If you have the time and the budget, conducting customer interviews and research proves immensely helpful to the persona development process.
Interviews give you the ability to both deepen and sharpen the answers you came up with when you developed your initial persona sketch. How many questions you ask depends on how much time you and your interviewees have, but, at the very least, find out your customers’ ages, genders, and roles in their companies, professional goals, biggest professional fears and biggest professional challenges. If you have more time, find out what they do for fun, what they read for pleasure, what their family structure is like and how they prefer to communicate.
If you don’t have time to conduct person-to-person interviews, ask your customers to fill out a survey. If you have the budget, you could incentivize them to do so with a free gift or discount offer.
Get Into Your Persona’s Head
Once you’ve conducted research into your persona’s general characteristics and pain points, it’s time to “get into character.” It may seem strange to try to embody and feel like another person, but doing so proves tremendously helpful, both for coming up with content topics and writing your actual copy.
If you’re not sure how to “get into character,”for marketing purposes, this means going back to your persona’s pains and the “whys” behind them. Think about how you would feel in the same situation. Then, think about what you would like to read to help you solve that pain.
If you’re able to find out what your prospects read, this should also prove very useful to developing content. If they read certain news sites or blogs, spend some time reading content on those sites to get a sense of the kind of voice your prospects connect with.
When you really get to know your ideal prospects and are able to get into their heads, you give yourself the ability to plan and craft content that connects with them on both a personal and professional level. Once you start generating content that resonates with your personas to help them solve their pains, lead conversion comes naturally. Follow the tips above to develop the perfect buyer persona for your inbound marketing campaign.