Believe it or not, you have an expert in your midst whose perspective will transform your business. You’ve probably heard of him before—he’s called your “buyer.”
Hopefully, you haven’t forgotten him while you’ve been building your empire, but in case you have, we’d like to reintroduce you. If you’re meeting for the first time, then today’s your lucky day. Not only is he about to reveal what makes him tick, but he’s also going to give you insight into your products and services that you won’t necessarily find in pie charts and Excel spreadsheets. The only thing you have to do is map out his buyer persona.
What Is A Buyer Persona?
A buyer persona refers to an archetypal representation of a real individual who might purchase what you have to offer. This person has a specific set of attributes and follows a decision-making process that is influenced by several key factors. Observing the behavior of this buyer allows businesses to determine what those factors are and how they motivate the individual to choose one solution over another. The data gleaned can then be leveraged to drive product development and shape marketing strategies.
Why You Need To Define Your Buyer Personas
Buyer personas are crucial for your business in that they enable you to:
- Pitch to the right person in the corporate food chain. While you may believe you need to convince the executive at the top, the reality is you really need to convince the people with the problems on their desk.
- Gather the type of insights that influence strategic business decisions.
- Help members of your team understand each of your target groups in terms of their problems, desires, goals, beliefs, capabilities, and limitations. You can use buyer personas to collate pieces of data into something that provides proper context and tells a story about a specific type of individual.
- Understand the topics, tone, and style that will motivate a response, and then create highly targeted content for each buyer persona. Besides content creation, the data will also guide your content delivery strategy.
- Prevent common design and development pitfalls, such as making decisions based on assumptions or designing a product based on the mental model of someone who doesn’t fall into your target group. Buyer personas allow you to create solutions and prioritize product features according to the needs of each buyer.
How to Create a Buyer Persona
Step 1: Gather Key Insights
Persona development is most effective when businesses use both quantitative and qualitative research methods to gain a deeper understanding of each buyer. Methods can include interviewing sales personnel, interviewing customers and prospects, conducting keyword research, evaluating web analytics reports, conducting a survey of customers and prospects, interviewing personnel in customer service, monitoring social networks, and more. What’s important here is to surface the information your business will find most valuable moving forward.
Key insights include:
- Demographic information – age, gender, marital status, household income, education, profession, level of seniority, etc
The personal and organizational goals of the buyer
- Pain points – problems that are both real and perceived
- Factors that motivate certain people to purchase your solutions – understand why they want to resolve a specific pain point
- The benefits your buyer expects to receive – determine what success looks like to someone using your solution effectively
Steps in the buying process – factors that impact the buyer’s choice during the evaluation of available options
- Criteria on which buyers base their decisions – determine which features of competing products people view as important
- Perceived obstacles that lead your buyer to believe you don’t offer the best solution
Step 2: Create a Draft of Your Buyer Persona
Once you have your key insights, you need to break the information down into digestible bits of data that help employees understand the buyer’s identity. When creating your draft, consider adding an image that represents the persona, assigning a relevant name, and including helpful links and video footage. The story you create will ensure your team members remain focused and empathetic towards the buyer when developing solutions and constructing marketing messages.
Step 3: Develop Additional Buyer Personas (But Just Enough)
It’s easy to get carried away when mapping out your buyer personas, but the reality is your business is only capable of supporting your efforts to a point. Besides the expenses involved in research, you may not have the resources to create a wide variety of marketing messages. Therefore, you need to assess whether there’s a significant difference between one buyer and the next, as well as consider your ability to implement multiple strategies. Don’t get to the point where you can no longer justify your investment. When done correctly, buyer personas can have a major impact on your ROI.
Step 4: Integrate and Implement
Failing to integrate your buyer personas into the sales process and disseminate the information throughout your organization are the biggest mistakes you can make. Your buyer personas can help you differentiate yourself from the competition, and guide you in the creation of persuasive marketing content that helps your brand’s voice stand out in the ever-increasing noise. Make sure that you not only share your findings with your team, but that you also ensure they understand how it affects them and your business.
Buyer personas evolve over time, which means you need to maintain them once you create them.
Your business evolves too, which means you may need to develop additional personas as you add to your product or service offering.
- Effective marketing messages aren’t based on buyer personas alone. Make sure you have a clear idea of your brand’s story first, and then start mapping out the stories of your prospects.
Have you created buyer personas for your business yet? How have they helped you transform your content marketing strategy? Share with us in the comments section below.