Imagine you're about to start a paid Facebook advertising campaign or write your first blog post as part of your inbound marketing strategy. To write the right blog post or create an ad that resonates with your (prospective) clients, you need to have a clear image of who your customers are. So, the first question is: who are my ideal customers? What do they care about? How are they spending their time on the Internet?
Creating buyer personas will help you answer these questions.
What are buyer personas?
Buyer personas (sometimes referred to as marketing personas) are fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers.
Buyer personas are not just about traditional marketing demographics - data such as a person's age, income, marital status and education. Buyer personas also teach you about the behavioral characteristics of somebody who would purchase your product/service.
Having a thorough understanding of your buyer personas will help you in your marketing efforts and content creation. Most importantly, they make tailoring content to your clients’ specific interests possible. In addition, buyer personas are also critical to driving product development, sales, and really anything that relates to customer acquisition and retention.
How do you create buyer personas?
The strongest buyer personas are based on market research as well as insights you gather through surveys and interviews with your target audience. Your target audience consists of a mix of customers and prospects. Google Analytics or Facebook Insights can be very valuable to learn more about who's interested in your business.
If you don’t have an established business yet, you can look at your biggest competitors. One of the best places to start is by using a service like SimilarWeb to analyze the traffic of your competitors.
Depending on your business, you could have as few as one or two personas, or as many as 10 or 20.
Here are some methods for gathering the information you need to develop your own buyer personas:
- Scan through your contact database to uncover trends about how leads or customers find and consume your content.
- If you use contact forms on your website, use form fields that capture important information for your persona. For example, if all of your personas vary based on the industry in which they’re active, ask each lead for information about the industry they work in.
- Talk to your sales team and ask if they recognize any trends and generalizations among your customers.
Most importantly, interview customers and prospects to discover what they like about your product or service.
Bringing it all together
The final step is to organize all the data you’ve compiled in the user interviews into a clear buyer persona overview. You can use a template like the one above. It's important to remember that your personas will change as you discover more information about your major types of customers and what motivates them. Don't worry if your personas are based on hunches and personal thoughts, especially when you’re just starting out.
As you learn more about your real buyers, you'll continually re-define your buyer personas. That's the way to ensure you most effectively target and increase your leads.
This article is part of the Growth Blueprint Blog Series. The Growth Blueprint provides companies with a comprehensive strategy to increase leads and grow their business online.
The creation of buyer personas are a key part of the complete foundation for a successful website. Do you want to know if the Growth Blueprint can help your business grow online? Read more here.