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Buyer Personas Introduction

Buyer personas are arguably the most important part of an inbound marketing campaign because they’re who you should be targeting all of your efforts towards.

Personas will help you identify the wants and desires of your target audience so that you can create products/services that will help them achieve their goals and overcome any possible roadblocks.

Without personas, there isn’t a clear direction for any of the steps listed above. And no matter what kind of business/organization you’re in, you will benefit from creating (and using) buyer personas.

But before we delve into how to create a buyer persona, let’s chat a bit more about what personas are (and what they’re not).

What Buyer Personas Are (And Aren’t)

Personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customer based on research about customer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals.

They focus on common behavior patterns, shared pain points (both professional and personal), universal goals, wishes, and dreams, and general demographic and biographic information.

Personas are NOT:

  • Target markets
  • Specific job titles or roles
  • Dependent on specific tools or technology
  • An actual real person

In the last installment of this series, we briefly touched on the inbound marketing cycle (attract > convert > close > delight). We’re going to delve into that cycle a bit deeper today, this time explaining how personas fit into it all – and why they’re so integral to every stage of inbound marketing methodology.

  • Attract Strangers – Every blog post, keyword, social media campaign, etc. should be specifically designed to appeal to strangers who fit into the framework of your buyer persona.
  • Convert Visitors — Once you’ve successfully turned strangers into visitors, you’ll want to focus on turning them into leads. This is done by creating landing pages, website design & function, etc. with your buyer persona in mind.
  • Close Leads – Nurture your leads with specific, individualized emails and follow-up tactics to turn visitors into customers.
  • Delight Customers – It’s easier to get a past customer to buy again than it is to gain a new customer. Take advantage of this fact by delighting your existing customers with content, email marketing, and social media campaigns that will be of interest to them. Continue to center all of these efforts around your buyer persona.

How to Create a Buyer Persona for Your Business

Personas shouldn’t be the product of rash assumptions or ideas about who you want your ideal customer to be. Instead, they’re based on carefully considered information and ideas.

If you feel like you don’t know enough about your customer base in order to create an accurate persona, that’s perfectly okay! It’s better to start with what you have and add to it later than to not have anything at all.

Here’s some steps to help you get started…

  1. Identify the right questions. If you’re not asking the right questions, you’re not going to get the answers you need to develop an accurate customer persona. Generate questions involving role, company/organization, goals, challenges, where they spend their time online, personal background, shopping preferences, etc.
  2. Determine how to get those questions answered. You can do this by asking them directly in a face-to-face meeting (one-on-one or group), through an online meeting tool like GoToMeeting, over the phone, using short quizzes from survey monkey, etc. Talk to as many people as it takes to start seeing trends. If you don’t have customers yet, use whatever bit of information you currently have (you can always go back and refine it later).
  3. Compile Once you’ve gathered a decent amount of information, start to look for trends in your research/responses. These trends are what will shape your persona.
  4. Build your persona. Pin-point and organize the trends you’ve found using a tool like Google Docs, excel, Evernote, or whatever works for you.
  5. Bring your persona to life. Once you’ve got the basics down, bring your persona to life by giving him/her a face and telling his/her story. Understand not just what your persona is, but why he or she is that way.

With this framework, you’ll be able to develop a buyer persona that will positively impact every area of your company (from inbound marketing to sales to customer service).

Developing one or more buyer persona(s) will not only have a positive impact on your bottom line, but will also connect and unite your organization. Because when everyone is on the same page in terms of of who they’re trying to help, sell, and market to, magical things happen.

But without a buyer persona, your inbound marketing, leads, sales, and retention rates will all suffer.