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How to create a buyer's persona
“By digging down and getting to know your audience on a deeper level, you'll find it much easier to craft the kind of targeted messaging that is more likely to compel them to buy.”
Buyer personas are a crucial component of any successful inbound marketing campaign. Not only are they essential for business owners and managers, they are particularly helpful to those who work within your sales and marketing departments.
If you only possess a surface level understanding of your target customers, your copy and marketing material will unnecessarily speak to a broad audience. Conversely, knowing who you should be marketing to allows you to craft targeted messages that speak directly to your would-be buyers.
By digging down and getting to know your audience on a deeper level, you'll find it much easier to craft the kind of targeted messaging that is more likely to compel them to buy.
What is a buyer's persona?
Buyer personas are fictional representation of your ideal customers based on market research and insights. Depending on your business you may have one, two, or many personas.
Having a well-developed buyer's persona will help you to understand your customers and prospects while guiding you in the development of content and resources to assist them. It also allows you to target your marketing efforts to different segments.
In short, a good buyer's persona will allow you to show the right content, to the right person at the right time.
Buyer personas help to:
- Determine the types of content you should be developing
- Set the tone, style and delivery strategies for your content
- Target the topics you should be writing about
- Understand where buyers get their information and how they consume it
Buyer persona development
Before developing a buyer's persona you will first need to undertake a considerable amount of qualitative and quantitative analysis.
Your data gathering may include analysing demographics, preparing surveys, conducting interviews, studying online behaviour and weaving in your own insights into customer's stories, their motivations and biggest issues they face.
From there you can begin to paint a picture of who your customers are and what their buying journey looks like. Armed with this detailed information, mapping out content specifically targeted to help your ideal customers in your own sales cycle becomes a much clearer task.
When done right, the content you create will focus on what they value most and how your solution will fit into their daily lives.
To gather all of the details you will need to interview customers, prospects, and members of your sales and customer services teams. Also be sure to send out surveys and do your own research.
For qualitative research you will typically be working with unstructured data to discover common themes and patterns. Qualitative research often takes the form of staff, user and/or client interviews, focus groups, content analysis (keyword research), ethnography (in this case, social listening and forum searches) and affinity mapping (think a large number of ideas organised into their natural relationships through the power of Postits).
Quantitative research is all about understanding behaviours of users through numbers and statistics - something that appeals to my sensibilities. This information could be gathered from website analytics, demographic data, sales data, multiple-choice surveys and publicly available studies.
Where to next?
Sometimes, not all this data is available, but gathering as much as possible will give you the strongest vision of your buyer personas. From there you must digest and condense the information before overlaying the information onto "real" living, breathing personas that represent any facets of your would-be customers.
Your buyer persona template
For each persona, fill in the below information
- Persona name
- Persona title
- Job details and key responsibilities
- Where does your persona get his or her information?
- Persona's primary goals
- Persona's challenges and pain points
- Actual quotes
- Key objections
- Role in the purchase process
- Key marketing messages that speak to your persona
Where to next?
Once you have defined your personas, you must then develop a buying journey that will convert these personas into customers. A buying journey maps a buyer's decision-making process during a purchase.
Mapping this allows you to:
- Understand what process your buyers go through when considering your product or service
- Develop a content strategy that speaks directly to buyers, regardless of the buying stage
This will be covered in the next article.
Personapp is an easy online Buyer Persona Template that allows you to create personas and even assign a lovely smiley image to the template. It's totally free.
Up Close and Persona walks you through the process of creating a persona so you don't miss any crucial steps. Note that you will need to put your email address in to finish the process.