When composing blog posts, I imagine writing them to Rachel, David, Bart, and Leslie. Could one of them be you? Most likely. Rachel, David, Bart, and Leslie are personas representing real people who read blogs of this type. They were created from raw data and not a few educated guesses. David might be you, and Leslie could be your coworker or a business competitor. When I can place a name to and know the background of the people reading what I write, I can meet their needs for quality content even better.
The same principle applies for sales and marketing. Building personas for your audience can improve the way you solve the challenges your customers face with your products and/or services. Creating a core group of buyer personas may take time, but it can be the single most important step you can take to improve sales in 2018.
Creating a Basic Marketing Persona
A persona is a sketch of a key segment of your audience. It’s best to create three to five of these personas to represent different types of people. There are many persona templates available to help you get started. Here are a few good ones:
- Create Buyer Personas for Your Business– Hubspot
- Buyer Persona Profile– Epic Content Marketing
- Buyer Persona Template– Brass Cycle
- Basic Marketing Persona Template– Buffer
- User Persona Creator – Xtensio
Most templates include the same basic information, and you can always add specific items that relate to your business niche. The elements included in your personas tell who the person is, what they value most, and can help you know how to speak to them best regarding your product or service. The following information is basic to all personas:
- Name of the persona
- Job title
- Key information about their company
- Their role in the company
- Household income
- Location: urban / suburban / rural
- Goals and challenges
- Primary goal
- Secondary goal
- How your product or service helps achieve these goals
- Primary challenge
- Secondary challenge
- How your product or service helps solve these problems
- Primary values
- Common objections during the sales process
- Your marketing message to them
- Your elevator pitch to them
How Do I Glean the Information for My Personas?
You should look far and wide for sources of information when building your buyer personas. The more diverse your sources, the better information you will obtain. Three major places to look are:
Your Website Analytics
Your website analytics show where your visitors come from, how long they spent on your site, and what keywords they used to locate your site. This data can reveal key desires that led them to your site and is vital to creating personas. In addition, the tools they used to get to your site can also tell you much about the person and their desires.
Involve your team in the process of creating personas. Anyone who interacts with your customers and customer data can contribute important information about what they observe regarding customer behavior and motivations.
Social Media Research
What questions or problems are being asked about on social media? Are these questions or problems you can adequately address with your products or services? Who is asking the questions or presenting the problems? Use this information to flesh out your buyer personas.
Ask Your Audience
Who knows your customers better than they do themselves? Ask current customers for interviews or to fill out surveys. These can reveal deep insight about values, fears, goals, and pain points that truly resonate with them. With this information, you can craft specific approaches to meet them at these points of need with your products and services.
Complete Your Buyer Personas
After gathering the necessary information, the next step is to actually build the persona profiles.
Give the persona a name.
Many who create buyer personas choose to combine a personal name with a label that explains the persona type, such as IT Ian or Laid Back Larry. The name can be whatever you choose. It is important to make the persona feel like a real person. You should provide enough details to allow you to step into the persona and see your services and products from the persona’s perspective. Laid Back Larry looks at your offerings from his specific viewpoint and identifies benefits and flaws for himself.
Identify the persona’s job, role, and company.
The greatest resource for coming up with jobs for your personas are customer surveys. However, this type of information can also be found by tracing social media respondents or followers and looking at profiles. Be as specific as you can with job titles, company size, and the type of business. For example, it may be important to know of the persona is the owner of a small business, a sole proprietor, or a member of middle level management of a large corporation.
Discover demographic information.
This information can be found from survey info, Google Analytics, social media profiles, and interviews, even educated guesses. Where your visitors live as well as their age, gender, affinity, and whether or not they are savvy with technology can be important to how you formulate your marketing approach.
Goals and challenges, values and fears.
This section is where actual customer interviews are valuable to help determine your objectives. During your interviews, ask questions like those below to get a sense of your customers’ challenges, feelings, and goals.
- What’s important to them?
- What’s driving the need for change?
- How are they going about change?
- What do they need to facilitate change?
- To whom do they turn for advice and/or information?
- What could cause the need for this change to go away?
While learning about these goals and challenges, you can also identify ways in which you can help customers meet their goals and overcome their challenges. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. What common objections arise during the sales process? How can you help this customer close the deal?
Marketing message and elevator pitch
Now, put all this knowledge and information to use and determine the best ways to meet the needs of each type of customer represented by your personas. How can you describe your product or services for each particular type of person? How can you tailor your elevator pitch to hit home with each persona?
Follow these links for examples of great buyer personas:
Is All This Really Necessary?
If you are wondering if all this information is really essential, the answer is absolutely yes. The more detailed your buyer personas, the more refined your marketing messages become, and the more effective they become. The details have two primary functions:
- They force you to get into character and facilitate a genuine understanding of the feelings, thoughts, and behaviors of your customers.
- They help you find previously undetected opportunities for your services or products. These opportunities can make what you make or what you do even more relevant in your customer’s lives.
Buyer personas will help you identify with your audience and better solve their problems. And when you solve their problems, everyone wins. The results will be a vastly improved buying experience for your customers and increasing profit and viability for your business.
Have you created marketing personas for your business? Did you follow a similar process as the one outlined above? What resources did you use? We’d love to share your great ideas with our readers. Share your buyer persona stories and tips in the comments below.