Believe it or not, one of your hardest questions as a marketer is: Who—specifically—is our customer? I think most of us will admit we don’t know our customers as well as we should. By neglecting to have an accurate and well-defined customer or—buyer persona—you hinder the potential and effectiveness of your marketing efforts.
Marketing is about knowing your customer/client better than anyone else. The understanding that comes with this insight allows you to speak their language, at their level, at the right place and at the right time about your product or services in an authentic and human way. Add some great branding—and you got a good foundation to build your marketing programs.
So What Are Buyer Personas?
Buyer personas are fictional representations of your ideal customers. They are based on real data about customer demographics and online behavior, along with educated speculation about their personal histories, motivations, and concerns.
How Are Buyer Personas Created?
Buyer personas are created through research, surveys, and interviews of your target audience. That includes a mix of customers — both “good” and “bad”— prospects, and those outside of your contact database who might align with your target audience. You’ll collect data that is both qualitative and quantitative to paint a picture of who your ideal customer is, what they value, and how your solution fits into their daily lives.
In this post, I’ll give you the steps you need to accurately identify your buyer persona. This will allow you to focus your content and messaging like a laser for better results.
1. First Start With Some Background
It’s good first to start with some broad strokes and then fill in the blank areas as you go. To begin, start by answering the questions below.
- Basic details about persona’s role
What do they do for a living and how did they get there?
What is their level of education?
- Key information about the persona’s business/company
List facts like industry, market cap, competitors etc.
What does their brand stand for? Check their website (if applicable) to learn more.
- Relevant background info, like education or hobbies
What do they typically do in their spare time. Are they rushed for time, busy parents? Weekend warriors? Workaholics?
TIP: For established businesses: When first starting, look to who your current customers are (if applicable). Write them on a big sheet of paper and find trends or commonalities among them. It’s a good bet that a lot of them will fall into the same bucket.
Demographics round out the edges and fill in the blanks. Important as demographics are, they still are only one dimension of your customer. Use the questions below:
- What is their gender? Male or Female?
- Age range
- Household income (Consider a spouse’s income, if relevant)
- Urbancity (Is your persona urban, suburban, or rural?)
When potential prospects call, ask them why they contacted you. Make it a point to ask them some of the questions above.
Identifiers help you sound like your buyer persona. If your customers are attorneys, you’ll want to utilize your thesaurus and make sure your writing sets a high standard. If your buyer persona are surfers, you’re going to want to talk as such bro.
- Buzz words
List some industry buzz words and words that are commonly used by your buyer personas
What does your buyer persona sound or act like?
What kind of language do they use? Is it intelligent and articulate? or more slang?
Begin listing your buyer persona’s primary and secondary goals. This will begin to give you ideas on what kind of content topics you should begin thinking about. Interview them to get more detail.
- Persona’s primary goal
- Persona’s secondary goal
When potential prospects call, ask them why they contacted you. When you’re on the phone with your client, make it a point to ask them some of the questions above.
Now we’re getting into the nuts and bolts. List the challenges your buyers face. Generating leads? Growing their business? Creating relevant communication?
- Primary challenge to persona’s success
- Secondary challenge to persona’s success
6. How We Help
Begin brainstorming on how you can help your personas. Think beyond what your product or service directly offers. Move in the direction of other dimensions, verticals or channels of your offering. What might you be able to provide that leads them to your solution? Don’t drive to close, drive to help.
- How you solve your persona’s challenges
- How you help your persona achieve goals
7. Real Quotes
To humanize, list some real quotations taken from your interviews and surveys. This will ground the persona even more in your mind and in the minds of your marketing and sales team.
- Real Quotes
Include a few real quotes – taken during your interviews – that represent your persona well.
- Common objections
Identify the most common objections your persona will raise during the sales process
8. Marketing Message
Now that you have a good understanding of your persona, how can you distill this information into a short succinct message. This message should be used in your positioning statement and tagline. It should be the basis and ethos of your brand. It can also be the trunk of which all your content hangs off of.
- How should you describe your solution to your persona?
- Include a few real quotes – taken during your interviews – that represent your persona well. This will make it easier for employees to relate to and understand your persona.
- Elevator pitch
Make describing your solution simple and consistent across everyone in your company.
9. Add A Picture
And Name Them
Last but not least, add a picture of them. If you have multiple buyer personas—pick a picture for each. It can be a current client or a stock photo.
10. Communicate This To Your Company
How do you communicate this new understanding of your target customer with your entire organization? After all, if your sales and marketing teams don’t understand who they’re speaking to, it’s hard to craft a message that really resonates.
To get started, download the free buyer persona’s template below to get an example of how to present your buyer persona to your company for greater understanding and marketing ROI.
FREE DOWNLOAD: A Marketer’s Guide to Creating the Buyer Persona
The key to maximizing your marketing efforts
In this powerful template — we help you and your team think through and identify who your ideal customer/client is. This will enable you to set SMART goals to turn your website into a lead generating machine. It will also help you present your buyer persona to your team for internal alignment and clarity.
By Josh Claflin, Brand Development, Inbound Marketing & Creative Strategy
Josh helps brands who are struggling to develop their brand; grow, stabilize or increase profits through their websites; increase revenue through online channels and enter the digital era of marketing.