Personas, they help get the right messaging to the right people. For some, creating personas may seem like unnecessary busy work. Past experiences tell me that’s not the case; creating personas is a crucial step that will save many a headache further down the marketing road and inform other important decisions. Maybe your team has created personas but ignores them? They’re easy to dismiss but catastrophic to your business if you do.
As a recap, a buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer that incorporates user goals, needs, and interests. It is based on market research and real data about your existing customers. It describes your target audience based on commonalities, not client-specific quirks. A well-formed persona answers the critical marketing questions of who are we talking to, why do they care, and why are we relevant to them? Get it right and personas will be a tool your team actually wants to use to guide content and marketing strategies in order to drive buyer engagement. Keep in mind that a short audience profile with a bunch of adjectives and a couple of demographic details won’t cut it.
(Quick side-note, the term ‘buyer persona’ can be used interchangeably with ‘marketing persona’.)
But how do you create these detailed personas?
First, do your research.
The foundation to any personas creation is research. You need to gather demographic information for your persona. This can include occupation, income, gender, age, location, and interests. Such details can be found in your contacts database. Ideally any forms used on your website would capture important persona information as well. One of the most important ways to gather persona information is through conversations with current customers and prospects. Some of the best advice I can offer is to take the time to conduct persona interviews and/or surveys. The most accurate personas are based on field research.
Then, define goals.
Define your specific goals and responsibilities. What are you trying to achieve? What challenges do you face? How can we help you face them? What types of tools or services can we provide to help you reach that end goal? Followup every question you ask with, “why?”
When creating your buyer persona(s), consider including customer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals. The more detailed you are, the better.
Get a better understanding of how, where, and why your customer (or potential customer) makes a purchase. Where are they in the buyer’s journey? Ask detailed questions such as “what are your goals” and “what obstacles do you face”?
Format your research in a compelling way.
Create your personas.
Using you research, identify patterns and trends. Pay attention to why someone is using a particular product, or looking for a specific solution, or looking to achieve a certain goal. These are determining factors in what types of content your company should be creating.
Here’s what to include:
- Background information – basic details about occupation, education, hobbies
- Demographics – gender, age, income etc.
- Keywords and phrases – identifiers, mannerisms
- Goals – primary and secondary goals and objectives of your persona
- Challenges – primary and secondary obstacles to their goals
- How we help – how you solve the challenges and help achieve the persona’s goals
- Common objections and questions – most common objection your persona might raise during the buying process
- Quotes – a few real quotes taken from surveys and interviews that are representative of your buyer persona (This makes it easier for your employees to relate to and understand the target audience.)
- Marketing Messaging – how should you describe your offer, products and services
Present the finalized personas to the team.
Everyone needs to be on the same page when it comes to who your ideal audience is. The buyer personas you create will be an essential tool for people to continually look at and use to inform their decisions. If marketing, sales, product, and services have a deep understanding of Gardener Gary, Startup Sally, and Financial Manager Matt then they can internalize the ideal customer they are trying to attract.
Use the personas for segmentation, content mapping, lead nurturing.
Buyer personas are very important for your business. Having a deep understanding of your existing and prospective customers is critical in driving everything from content creation, to product development, to sales follow up – really, anything that has to do with customer acquisition and retention. Your detailed personas will make it easier to tailor content and messaging to the specific desires and concerns of your target audience.
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The good news is that buyer personas are not super difficult to develop. Ask the right questions to the right people and present that information in a compelling way and you’ll be well on your way to having an insightful and actionable tool for your content and marketing team to use.
How many buyer personas does your company currently have? Are you thinking you need to make new profiles? I hope this guide helps the process!