Buyer personas, also called marketing personas or customer personas, can help you better understand your customers and reach them more effectively. Knowing how to create buyer personas accurately will help to customize your digital marketing strategy to suit your customers. Whether you work in a B2C or B2B industry, it is important to understand what your buyers look for and how you can make your message resonate in their minds. In this blog post we’ll discuss how to create buyer personas and how best to use them.
What Are Buyer Personas?
Buyer personas are fictional representations of a segment of your target audience. Buyer personas include more than basic demographics—they include information about how the customer goes about their daily life, what problems they face, and how they evaluate possible solutions to their problems.
Many business owners start with guesses, inferences, or assumptions about their customers to create buyer personas. While this can be a good place to start, you’ll need data to create an accurate buyer persona. If you are a new business and you are creating buyer personas for the first time, talk to your first customers, or people who you think might most enjoy your product or service. In this blog post, we’ll provide more details about how to create buyer personas easily and accurately.
B2B Buyer Persona
A B2B buyer persona differs in some ways from a B2C buyer persona. B2B businesses generally work with a smaller group of customers in specific industries and B2C businesses appeal to a wider audience. While demographic information such as age and location will still be important, B2B buyer personas will be more specific to an industry, business, and job. B2B buyer personas will include information about a target business as well as a point-person within the business. As you make your B2B buyer persona, consider adding the following:
- Would you speak with a business’s decision-maker, a support person, or both?
- What challenges does this person face within their job? What goals do they have?
- What would this person’s position be, and how much experience would they have?
- What trade-related media does this person consume?
- What trade organizations do they belong to?
- What certifications or education do they need?
- What questions might they have about your business, products, or services?
- What are example businesses you might work with?
- Are your customers local, national, or international?
B2C Buyer Persona
A B2C buyer persona is a profile on a specific person that represents a group of people. These characteristics will reflect how this person uses your product or service, as well as their needs, interests, and lifestyle. This will include demographic factors, which can be helpful for ad targeting, and more in-depth information about what this person wants, needs, and thinks about. Consider the following questions as you make a B2C buyer persona.
- What is this person’s preferred media type? (TV, social, magazines)
- What do they read or watch?
- What organizations or groups might they belong to? (neighborhood watch, book clubs, student government, charitable groups)
- What is this person’s biggest concern? (getting into a good college, raising respectful children, getting a good job, saving enough for retirement)
- What other interests might they have? (outdoor activities, sports, arts, music, reading, writing)
- What questions might they have about your product or service?
- How do they do research before making a purchase?
Do Buyers Personas Really Work?
When buyers personas are accurate and research-based, you will know what your best customers care about, how they use media, and what messages will resonate with them. This can help to improve all of the following:
- Craft better emails to improve opens and clicks
- Make more impactful landing pages to increase lead conversion
- Place ads more cost-effectively
- Create ads that will get your customer’s attention
- Write better content to increase organic traffic and lead generation
- Create better lead magnets to increase lead conversion
- Provide product or service improvements that are most valuable
How To Create Buyer Personas
Who Should be Involved in Making Buyer Personas?
Depending on how they interact with your customers, different members of your team may have different insights about your customers. To create buyer personas accurately, contact your sales and marketing teams, and anyone else who might regularly interact with customers or have important information about them. It’s probably not necessary to talk to everyone in each department, but a knowledgeable representative from each department should be involved.
The questions that you ask your team can affect the insights that they give you. The following questions can help you get important insights that will help you create your buyer personas.
For your marketing team:
- What demographics does our company cater to and why?
- What problem do we solve and how do we communicate this?
- Do different products or services we offer cater to different groups?
- What pages on our website have the most visits and why?
- What channel or strategy has led to the highest lead generation?
- What coupon codes or discounts are used the most?
For your sales team:
- What do our best customers have in common?
- What objections do leads have that prevent you from closing sales?
- Which products or services are easiest and hardest to sell and why?
- What does your ideal lead look like and why?
- What media do your leads or customers most commonly consume?
- What strategies do you use to get and keep a lead’s attention?
How to Gather Data
After gaining internal insight, it’s time to interview your customers to gather accurate buyer persona research. Be sure to ask open-ended questions, instead of yes or no questions. Divide your customer questions into the following categories to ensure you gather the important insights you’ll need to accurately develop personas:
- Daily Life
- Consumer Habits
- Pain Points
All of this information will help you develop thorough and accurate personas that will lead to understanding the needs of your target audience.There are several different ways you might gather this information.
- Ask customers: talk to a similar group of your best customers and ask them a few questions in-person, in a survey, or through another method. Make sure you ask a large enough group so your information will be reliable, not incidental.
- Poll target audience: You might use a survey tool or market research firm to poll customers that fit your demographics. This can be more expensive, but the data will be compiled for you.
- Conduct your own poll: You might contact current or potential customers on social media, talk to people as they pass, set up a kiosk, or set up a booth at an event to poll customers yourself. This will be an affordable option that can also help you boost brand visibility, but you will have to compile the data yourself.
How Many Buyer Personas Should You Have?
Because you have many different types of customers, you may need to create multiple personas. Take the data, insights, and customer information to create personas that will impact the majority of your current and potential customer base.
How many buyer personas you need will depend on the size of your business and your goals. It may be more cost-effective to focus on your biggest target market rather than smaller groups, especially if these groups are very dissimilar. However, if smaller segments tend to spend more or make more loyal customers that cost less to retain, you’ll want to do some calculations. Remember that different personas generally require different marketing strategies, so only develop buyer personas that you are willing and ready to market to.
You’ve Gathered Buyer Persona Information—What’s Next?
Compile your data and responses you gathered to develop accurate conclusions about your buyer personas. Once you have your conclusions, you might put each persona into a document to build off that data. Or you might use a persona building tool to compile your conclusions.
Once you have buyer personas constructed, brainstorm blog post topics that would appeal to each persona. Include keywords each persona would search for, and their corresponding search traffic.
Lastly, how will you promote your campaign to each persona? Think of a few content offers (checklist, webinar, ebook), and pick the one best suited to their lifestyle. How will you promote the offer? Email drips, CTAs in the blog posts, remarketing ads, and social media posts can all be effective channels to get the word out about your content offer.
With the guidance of your personas, you will have a more optimized inbound marketing strategy. To get more inbound marketing tips and tricks, download the Executive’s Guide to Launching an Inbound Marketing Strategy.