A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.
This is the general definition but really buyer persona’s are much more than that. They are the driving force behind every marketing campaign and the whole reason your business exists.
Whether it is content marketing or paid advertising, you should never dive into any marketing campaign without knowing exactly who you are targeting. By knowing and understanding your target audience, you will be able to deliver highly-targeted and personalised campaigns that maximise your content effectiveness and ultimately, your return-on-investment.
Creating buyer personas is an easy and efficient way to get a better understanding of core customer groups and specific personas. By developing multiple personas you can create generalised characters that accurately represent your ideal market. They highlight key demographic and psychographic information that show you exactly how you should be connecting with your customers.
This post will cover the steps you need to take to develop detailed personas that focus your online marketing efforts. By understanding why personas are so important and how you can use them, you will be able to create highly-targeted and compelling content that engages your target customers.
Why Personas Matter
In the past, buyer personas were seen to be only for big businesses with big marketing budgets. But now they are essential for businesses of all sizes.
As fictional, generalised characters of your target audience, personas help you to understand your customers better. They provide valuable insight into important factors such as need, goals and behaviour patterns. With detailed personas, you can learn more about core customer groups and use specific profiles to drive your online and content marketing strategies. So whether you’re a global brand or a small start-up, you need to understand why personas matter and how to use them.
So why do they matter? Well, to start, the online market is becoming increasingly competitive and crowded. As a result, having ultra-targeted ads and content is key to your online success. Additionally, personalisation is now everything. To ensure your eShot, advert or shopping experience is like no other, you need to provide a personalised experience that is one to remember. None of this is possible without personas.
Similarly, as personas continue to evolve and change, they will provide a great opportunity to make informed decisions about changing the way you connect with your customers. By discovering new behaviour patterns, pain points or new motives you can adapt and continue to grow as a business.
How to Create Detailed Personas
Creating personas using only stereotypes and your imagination is a mistake that many marketers make. It is easy to believe that you know exactly who your potential customers are. But whilst you may know a lot, you certainly won’t know everything.
Instead, you should invest time in collecting and analysing data so you can create an accurate picture of who your customers really are. With many tools and techniques available, creating a detailed persona can be done easily and efficiently. Here’s how...
1 - Starting Broad With Multiple Persona’s
To begin with, you will want to start as broadly as possible. Whilst you will identify multiple buyer personas, possibly more than you first anticipated, you can highlight key groups and then drill down into the specifics.
For example, you may start with two obvious groups:
End Consumers - These are prospective buyers that are looking to make a purchase either for themselves or as a gift.
Wholesale Buyers - These are buyers from other businesses that will look to sell your products either online or within their store.
Whilst these groups are very broad, they are a good starting point. From here you can dig deeper and create a few personas that can fall into the separate groups whilst having slightly different needs and objectives.
Using a fictitious beauty brand as an example, we might want to then focus on end consumers only. These could include:
1. Women purchasing beauty products for themselves
2. Men purchasing grooming products for themselves
3. Men purchasing beauty products as a gift for their partners
Now you have more specific personas in mind, the next step is to define more detail and gather key information about them.
2 - Defining the Details
To get the most out of your buyer personas, you need to establish details such as demographics, buying motivation and pain points. But with access to copious amounts of data and insights, knowing where to start or the right questions to ask can seem an impossible task.
To help you drill down into the details, we have listed some of the key questions that you need to consider and ask:
Personal / Demographic Information
Age - What age range is this persona?
Gender - What is their gender?
Location - Where was this person born and now living?
Interests - What are they interested in? Hobbies?
Family / Relationship Status - Are they single, married, divorced, a parent?
Language - What language do they speak? Are they bilingual?
Education - To what level is this person educated?
Job Title - What field of work do they work in?
What does their role involve?
Income Level - What income range is this persona in?
Buying Motivation - What are the persona’s reasons for buying this product? What motivates them?
Pain Points - What concerns may the persona have? What obstacles will they face?
If you are a new business, you may not have the information you need to accurately answer all of these questions. However, the more you can answer, the better. The aim is to create a comprehensive profile of your target audience so you can create content that delivers a specific marketing message.
3 - Getting the Answers
Now you know what questions to ask, it’s time to get some answers.
As we touched upon earlier, too many marketers rely on using stereotypes and general assumptions. Instead, you need to invest time and resources in researching the specifics. But depending on the size of your customer base and how established your business is, there are different ways in which you access the information that you need.
When you’re a new business, data is something that you desperately need but have very little of. And it may seem like a vicious circle that you can only escape with a big budget or investment, but fortunately, there are some good alternatives.
SimilarWeb is one of the best places to start. You can analyse your competitors’ traffic, identify emerging trends and eventually, learn more about your consumer intent. Similarly, you could use online databases like Acorn that are peered, accredited and reviewed. With access to hundreds of reports and information guides, you can get valuable consumer insight into demographics, social factors, consumer behaviour and much more.
However, if you do have some flexibility with your budget, you may want to consider working with an agency that can conduct detailed market research and provide several personas for you.
If you are either a long established business or one that has been able to build a strong database very quickly, you have more options to consider.
Using free tools such as Google Analytics or Facebook Insights , you can access useful information about demographics, locations and user journeys- all of which can help to shape your individual personas. Another easy way to collect data is using data capture not only across your website but at any given opportunity. This could include using online surveys or by simply asking for information directly. Data capture can also help in the future when you are trying to reach or understand your audience.
Putting the tools aside, speaking to your sales team is a simple way to learn more about your actual customers and the type of people that are already interested in your business.
4 - Putting Your Personas Into Practice
Now that you have developed your personas and have a better understanding of who, how and where you should be marketing, you need to know how to use them to shape your strategy.
By focusing on areas such as your personas’ needs, pain points and behaviour patterns, you can create quality content that they will find not only engaging but suited to their needs. Whether it’s organic, evergreen content or a paid advertisement, by putting your personas at the heart of everything, you can deliver focused campaigns that target the right people at the right time.
For example, you may realise that your target audience spends more time on mobile than on desktop; they read broadsheet newspaper, not red tops; they are interested in health and well-being so they visit health website - all things that will affect which channels you choose to deliver your campaigns.
By following these simple steps, you are sure to develop detailed and defined personas that give you a better chance of succeeding online. From increased engagement on your social media channels to a greater conversion rate on your website, buyer personas continue to help you in understanding your consumer and giving them exactly what they want and need.
Get help with developing your personas by talking to one of our marketing experts today! Contact a member of our team and see how we can help to grow your businesses with a wide range of marketing solutions.