Defining a Buyer Persona
In a nutshell, a buyer persona is a description of your buyers or prospects based on actual customers. However, buyer personas are much more than just descriptions; they express what your prospects are thinking as they consider an offer from your business. When mapped out properly, buyer personas give marketers actionable insight into the concerns, beliefs and principles which motivate people to make purchases from particular businesses.
Therefore, by building your own buyer personas, you’ll be able to design your marketing strategy in a way that will address the needs of your prospects and customers. The renowned business consultant Mark W. Schaefer states that only 3 to 4 buyer personas make up over 90% of the business’s overall sales.
This guide will get you started with setting up buyer personas that will increase brand awareness and sales.
Let’s dig in!
Do Your Research
You now know that developing buyer personas for your prospects should be a vital part of your inbound marketing strategy. But how do you get started?
You can’t begin to build your buyer persona without understanding who your customers are, and what needs they want to be fulfilled. What you need is information about your prospects and existing customers. An effective way of getting this actionable data is by holding surveys and polls on your social media accounts.
Another good way of getting information about your target audience is to simply call them and ask them for a quick interview in exchange for a promotional offer. For instance, you can ask your customers to sign up for a 20-minute call in exchange for a 15% discount on their next purchase. This is a good way of learning about your customers’ purchasing decisions, which will help you draw related businesses in the future.
Don’t be afraid to learn from your competitors, because chances are that everything you’re trying to achieve has already been done. That means taking a look at how the competition is engaging their prospects and customers online. Visit your competition’s webpages and analyze their web copy or content marketing. This will give you great insight into your prospects’ and customers’ needs and problems.
When formulating questions for your prospects or customers, use services like Survey Monkey to get ideas on how to phrase questions for different demographics. If you pay attention to the way your questions are structured, you will receive the most useful insights that will help you build your buyer persona.
When trying to learn new things, it pays to just be quiet and listen. What issues do your prospects or customers care about the most? This is one of the most important questions you should keep in the back of your mind when building buyer personas. To get the answer to this and other questions, you should use social listening as a way of learning more about your target audience. A properly executed social listening strategy will provide you with incredibly useful data for your buyer persona campaign.
There are several ways to successful engage in social listening. Let’s take a look at the most effective ways to gauge what your prospects and customers are thinking.
What You Should Listen Out For
When setting up our social listening campaign, you should have clearly defined goals-what are you listening for? What do you want to find out? Of course, these goals should go hand in hand with the targets of your overall digital marketing campaign. Some common examples of your social listening goals can be:
What Tools To Use?
Social listening is a great way to learn about your prospects or customers. And what’s more, there are a lot of tools out there to help with your social listening campaign. Let’s take a quick look at some of the nifty social listening tools that will not only save you time but make your campaign run smoothly and efficiently.
- Hootsuite: This savvy tool helps you monitor all of your social media accounts from just one suite. You can quickly respond to complaints and questions.
- BuzzSumo: This great tool gives you the ability to find and monitor important influencers who are engaging with or sharing your competition’s content. This tool monitors particular keywords, but you can also monitor specific content writers or even domains! This is an awesome tool to “spy” on your competition and learn how they’re interacting with their customers.
- Followerwonk: Similar to BuzzSumo, this is a Twitter analytics that helps you identify and analyse the competition’s followers. This tool is exceptionally powerful because it will give you data on the follower’s geographical location, bio and even a list of people they follow.
These are some of the best tools you should use in order to get a better insight into the minds of your target audience. The information you gather via these tools will help you build a realistic buyer persona of your prospects and customers.
Always Take Notes
Make sure that you keep a spreadsheet of your customers’ compliments and complaints. Analyse them, and try to see what things excite your customers and what annoys or puts them off. By doing you so, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of your customers.
Analyse Your Site Analytics
You’ve probably heard how over the past couple of years, 90% of the data in the world was created. In fact, we generate around 2.5 quintillion bytes of data on a daily basis! So, you should use this fact to your advantage in building a buyer persona. You should leverage this unbelievable amount of data to build your brand’s buyer persona.
Look at your website’s analytics and discover where your visitors came from, how long they stayed on your webpage, and what keywords they used to find your business. You’ll be able to see how your prospects or customers found and what platforms and devices they used. This sort of information will help you greatly in building your buyer persona.
Make Educated Guesses
It may sound counterintuitive, but you can also rely on educated guesses to build a buyer persona. If you are a startup, or your business is new and doesn’t have any previous customers, then you can use this strategy. When thinking about your ideal prospects and customers, use logical conclusions to generate purchase motivations. There are 6 questions you should consider when coming up with educated guesses:
- Explain how your product or service improves the life of your prospects or customers life at home and at work.
- What sort of people would find your offer beneficial?
- Why should your prospect choose your business over the competition?
- Include their location and the place from where they’ll purchase your product or service
- What sort of experiences in their life or work will motivate them to buy your product or service?
- What price point can your ideal customer afford and how do they buy a product or service?
Create a Buyer Persona Template
This stage comes after you’ve gathered all the necessary data about your customer base and target audience. Let’s take a more in-depth look at all the different elements of a complete buyer persona template:
While this may seem a little strange, it is important to give a name to your buyer persona in order to breathe a breath of life into your marketing strategy. It humanizes the process, and makes it more realistic.
Include essential information about the company for which they work (size, industry, etc.) and the persona’s job role.
In this section of the template include the persona’s age, gender, and salary. You should also include whether the persona is from a rural region, or lives in a urban or suburban environment. Finally, write down the level of education of the persona and whether they are married with children or live with their parents. Don’t forget to always include the size of the family.
Filling out this section of the template will give you an insight into your ideal prospect, and will improve your advertising targeting.
Objectives and Challenges
This part requires a little bit of creativity; you’ll be getting into the mind of the persona. Start filling out this section by describing the main goal of the persona. If your persona has more than one goal, then simply add their second goal as well. Then, describe how your business can help your persona achieve their goals. It’s important to include any challenges that your business would face in helping the person in achieving their goals. Again, you can include more than one challenge. Finally, write down how your business could overcome these challenges.
Ideals and Fears
Write down their values and beliefs. Are they worried about the environment? What are their political leanings? What keeps them up at night? Taking into account these questions will help you address any objections they may raise during the sales process.
For instance, suppose your business deals with dietary supplements. Your buyer persona could be an elderly retired grandfather who is suspicious of big pharmaceutical companies. You should take that fact into account when creating a sales pitch. Find ways to address and solve your persona’s fears.
A Typical Day
You can get a firm grasp of the challenges and worries facing a person by coming up with what a typical day in their life looks like. As a result, you’ll be able to better visualize the different ways your business can address these challenges.
Consider how to best reach this type of person. What channels should you use to get offer your product or service to them. Are they active on Facebook or Twitter? Also, think about what influences her? Does the person read magazines, books or blogs? And if so, how often? Or conversely, does this person put more stock in the opinions of one’s family, friends and co-workers?
By thinking about whether the person is active on social media will help you find ways to reach them; if they’re inactive then maybe you should send an email or cold call them.
Marketers are now including an elevator pitch when building a buyer persona. An elevator pitch is a short description of the product or service that a company offers. It should be a clear and concise message so that the listener can grasp the offer in a very short time; during the duration of an elevator ride.
Basically, this section should include your marketing message, which must be consistent. This message will reflect the way you’ll sell your brand to this particular customer.
Let’s go back to the previous example of the elderly gentleman who is suspicious of giant pharmaceutical corporations. Your elevator pitch could emphasize that your supplements are all-natural and are much healthier than the products offered by pharmaceutical corporations.
Keep Adding Information
These are only some of the parameters you should include in your template. That means that you should include additional information about your prospects and customers in your template that will help you greatly in your marketing efforts.
You can tinker with each buyer persona you come up with according to your needs. Keep trying to get in the head of your customer base by adding new features to your template that will shed light on their personality. Popular features that you can add to the core of your template include:
- Level of digital competency
- Favourite news sources
- Actual quotes from customer interviews
- Hopes and dreams
Developing a buyer persona plays a vital role in your marketing campaigns; it gives you a picture of your prospects and customers and the best ways to market to them.
As you start out, you’ll be making assumptions about your target audience. However, once you’ve collected a good amount of data you should adjust your buyer personas accordingly.
Don’t think that building a buyer persona is a one-time thing; your customers’ purchasing habits along their challenges are constantly changing. That is why you need to stay ahead of the competition by continually learning more about your prospects and customers.