Buyer personas are a key element in making sure that your inbound marketing strategies are working. Basically, they represent fictional and generalized versions of your target customers. They help your marketing, sales and customer service staff understand how to better attract and relate to your customers as real people. Buyer personas are most effective when they are based on a very deep understanding of your target audience members. They aren't that difficult to create but you do need to ask the right questions in order to really get to know your buyers. Here are some tips for developing more in-depth buyer personas for your business.
Do Your Research
This is the most time-intensive, but also most important part of developing your buyer personas. Research is how you learn about your buyers and help yourself save time wasted on missing your target. There are a number of methods you can use to research your buyers:
- Analyze current clients
- Audit social media interactions
- Read blog comments
- Review social media profiles
- Analyze past prospective clients that didn't work out
All of these methods can help you gain an accurate sense of what your buyer is looking for and what their pain points might be.
Interviews can be especially helpful because you are getting firsthand information rather than gleaning it secondhand from other sources. It helps to offer incentives for buyers to volunteer for an interview, such as discounts, gift cards (like Amazon or Visa credit cards) or other perks. Start with at least 3-5 interviews for each persona you have created. HubSpot maintains that you should interview buyers until you can roughly predict what they are going to say – that means you've got a pretty full and accurate picture of who they are.
Be As Specific As Possible
A common mistake is not being specific enough with your personas. Here's an example:
- Office Manager Ollie wants better customer service software at an affordable price.
- Office Manager Ollie works for a startup delivery service in its early stages of funding. The company is expanding and needs software that can scale. Ollie wants to earn more money and grow his role in the company by making a strategic decision that can improve efficiency within the office. He would like to keep costs down but needs a software platform with different levels of membership so that it can grow with the company.
See the difference? The more specific you are about what the buyer's needs are, the better you will be able to create targeted content that will resonate with them.
Consider Their Motives
Buyer Personas should always strive to understand the conditions under which a purchase is made. Figuring out the buyer's intent upon purchasing will help the team craft better content for marketing. Buying motives generally fall into one of these six categories:
- Desire for financial gain
- Fear of financial loss
- Comfort and convenience
- Security and protection
- Pride of ownership
- Emotional satisfaction Using the previous example, Ollie's motive would be desire for financial gain. This knowledge can help you use language and resources to help appeal to that desire.
Work Closely With the Sales Team
Marketers tend to do most of the research when it comes to creating buyer personas, but sales can usually provide some really helpful insights as well. The sales team is aware of challenges and pain points that customers experience. Their input can help you build a better outline of the buyer's day-to-day life, preferences, and concerns.
Creating buyer personas will help your business build the right relationships with your customers and attract new ones.