What is a buyer persona?
Buyer personas are not a new concept, but they are becoming more popular as customer focused digital marketing becomes the new norm. So what on earth is a buyer persona?
Well, according to Hubspot, a buyer persona is a semi-fictional, generalised representation of your ideal customer with a cool name. Think HR Manager Matt, Small-Business Sam, Latte Lauren or Retail Renee. They are essentially the centre of your business because a buyer persona:
- Helps you understand and relay the WHY. Why are you doing what you are doing?
- Is based on people who buy into your business. It is a generalisation of the people who make regular purchases and may even promote or refer your brand to others.
- Will help convey common issues and challenges within the market, and will help you develop products and services to assist or remedy those challenges.
- Helps you understand how to connect with your customers and leads.
- Assists in understanding your buyer’s journey and the marketing funnel.
- Can also be a way of identifying users who you don’t want to attract. It’s good to know who will find your business helpful and not so helpful.
If you don’t have a buyer persona in mind, how do you know you are reaching the right person with the right information at the right time? This applies to your content creation, social media and paid advertising.
Why else are buyer personas important?
At Pixeld, when you come on board we want to know why you run your business, who you are looking to attract and how you want your customers to be interacting with you or be ‘delighted’ by you.
From a sales perspective your customers might engage with multiple people within your business, from marketing to sales and then service. If sales don’t understand what the lead is interested in or how they communicate, they will not be able to do their jobs as effectively. A buyer persona helps your team create a consistent, personalised experience right through the buyer’s journey.
Having buyer personas takes the stress out of answering all of the questions because you know who your customers are, what they like, what problems they face, why they are interested, how they get information and where and when they receive this information. Not only is it the centre of your business but it is one of the first steps to a marketing strategy aligned with sales, product development, lead nurturing and effective content planning.
Ok so you know why you need a buyer persona, but how do you create a buyer persona?
Creating a Buyer Persona
Buyer personas can be created a number of ways but the best personas are created by utilising a variety of data collection tools and collecting as much information as possible so that you can create as clear a picture of your buyer persona; give them a name, provide characteristics and features, the language they use and consider adding a stock photo of what this customer would look like (this helps to visualise a real person).
When creating a buyer persona you will address Who, What, Why, and How?
- Who are your customers? Who is your ideal customer?
- What are they interested in? What are their goals? What challenges do they face?
- Why are they the ideal customers?
- How can you be helpful?
To help you with the process of creating buyer personas here is a Hubspot tool that simplifies creating your buyer persona into 7 steps.
Where do I start?
We recommend starting with one to two buyer personas and getting detailed about each persona. Start with your ideal or most frequent customer and outline exactly why they are your ideal customer in as much detail as you can, be diligent. Remember that each persona needs to be distinctively different and being detailed will help clearly define each persona. Next, outline and describe a negative persona, these personas are just as beneficial to your business because they will demonstrate prospects that you don’t want as customers and will help you save time and money in marketing and advertising.
How can I get information about my customers?
Utilise Your Contacts
Your contacts will uncover most of the basic information and demographics that you need to start your buyer persona. It answers the WHO and allows you to start forming the picture with this basic information. If you utilise your contacts database you should be able to answer the following about their demographics:
- How old are they?
- What gender are they?
- Where do they live?
- What do they do for work?
Look for Behavioural Trends
After finding out the demographics of your buyer persona, get a little deeper and find out what your customer is interested in, how they found your business, and what pages or products they browse for. Online behaviours will tell you a lot about how comfortable your customers are with using social channels and being online. It may also give you more insight into some personal background information like the household they live in, languages that are spoken and their income bracket. There are a number of tools you can use to gather this information including a social media audit of insights or collecting small pieces of data at various interactions with your website and storing them in a CRM.
Talk to your Team
Get to know what purchases are consistently being made by the same types of people and what leads are consistently not converting. By talking to your sales team you will get a view of how your buyer persona interacts at this stage of the buyer’s journey and what issues they may be routinely facing. This will help you plan conversations and content that needs to be created and published to attract the right type of buyers. Next, you might speak to your service delivery team to indentify the types of customers you see the most success with. The more you involve your entire team in the process, the clearer your picture will be.
Forms can capture important information including real quotes from your customers that highlight their appreciation or their issues. Optimising a form can help you differentiate between each buyer persona. Forms also help you get information about the customer at different stages of the purchase process, including before, directly after purchase, and after receiving product or service. You can even use forms or polls on social media to grab important information about the users engaging with you on different channels. All of these types of forms will help piece together your buyer personas and where each persona is on the buyer’s journey.
Get to know your customers and ask them questions. The more you know about your customers the more accurate your buyer persona will be and the better your business will be able to cater to them. If you need to, set up an interview (either in person or over the phone) and get to know these people and really engage with them. Ask them questions about their lives but also ask industry-relevant and crucial questions about your business to get a complete picture of their purchasing decisions.
So there you have it everything you need to know about creating effective buyer personas. If you need help with understanding your customer base or need any help with a digital marketing strategy make sure to get in contact with us.
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