Why Buyer Personas are so Important and How to Create One

Buyer PersonasOne of the most important aspects in formulating an effecting marketing strategy is the development of ‘buyer personas’. Buyer personas are fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers.

These ‘personas’ can aide you in gaining deeper insights around the needs and wants of your ideal customers and make it easier for you to sculpt a high converting experience to their specific demands. These personas represent examples of the real buyers who influence or make decisions about the products, services or solutions you market.

The strongest buyer personas are based on market research and insights garnered from your actual customer base through means such as surveys, interviews and direct feedback. Depending on your business model, you could have as few as one or two personas, or as many as twenty. This may rely heavily on the variety and complexity of the products, services or solutions offered.

Buyer personas are a tool designed to assist in the formulation of strategies to persuade buyers to choose you rather than a competitor or the status quo. More critically, insightful buyer personas can readily inform strategies for persuasive messaging, content marketing, product or solution launches, campaigns and sales alignment.

At the most basic level, personas allow you to personalize or target your marketing for different segments of your audience. They can also be leveraged to develop a more effective “Micro Conversion Strategy” that addresses common concerns or offers valuable information to segmented personas based on real time ‘assisted conversion’ data and other high performing conversion sequences based on available analytical data.

To place it in a simpler context; instead of sending the same lead nurturing emails to everyone in your database, you can segment by buyer persona and tailor the messaging according to what you know about those different personas.

Depending upon the type of products or services you offer, personas may be most effective in mapping out highly targeted content to customers and potential customers at different stages of the sales cycle.

How to Create a Buyer Persona

Buyer personas are created through research, surveys, and interviews of your in-market target audience. That might include a mix of customers, prospects or those outside the scope of your target market but whose needs might align with your ideal in-market prospects.

Here are a few tips for conducting ‘buyer persona’ research:

  •  Interview customers either in person or over the phone to discover what they like about your product or service.
  • Perform a detailed analysis of your conversion funnel to uncover data about how certain leads or customers find and consume your content.
  • When creating forms to use on your website, use form fields that capture important persona information. (For example, if all of your personas vary based on company size, ask each lead for information about company size on your forms.)
  • Take into consideration your sales team’s feedback on the leads they are interacting with most. (What types of sales cycles does your sales team work with? What generalizations can they make about the different types of customers you serve best?)
  • Do not simply reverse-engineer your marketing strategy based on the capabilities of your solution. Think about the customer’s pain points and other factors that drive them to seek solutions. This includes the possibility that you will also need buy-in from others within the customers own organization
  • Strive to understand the circumstances that cause your buyers to allocate their time, budget, or political capital to seek out a solution.

A Basic Buyer Persona Template Might Include

Customer Background Information

  • Job Description
  • Career Path
  • Family Situation

Basic Demographics

  • Male/Female
  • Age Range
  • Income
  • Location

Other Identifiers

  • Demeanor
  • Communication Preferences

Goals

  • Primary Goal
  • Secondary Goal

Challenges

  • Primary Challenge
  • Secondary Challenge

What can we do to help our persona achieve their goals and/or overcome their challenges?

Collect real verbatim customer quotes about goals and challenges they face. What is your point of pain?

Common Objections: Why wouldn’t they buy your product or service?

Marketing Messaging: How would you describe your solution to your buyer personas?

Develop an elevator pitch: Sell your persona on your solution in one simple sentence!

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