September 13, 2019
Buyer personas can help your business create compelling content, drive more sales, and keep your customers happy and loyal.
The problem is, though, creating good buyer personas can be difficult.
Where do you start?
This post will break it all down.
We’ll dive right into what a buyer persona is, explain why they’re valuable and then give you a step by step, actionable strategy for creating buyer personas and using them to drive awareness and sales.
A buyer persona is a description of your ideal customer (or customers, if you have multiple target markets).
Unlike a generic target market breakdown (which might be “new moms” if you sell environmentally-friendly diapers, or “SMB marketing teams” if you sell social media management software), a buyer persona goes deep and specific.
A buyer persona breaks down a single person’s demographics, values, pain points, and goals. To help your teams better visualize the buyer persona, most include a face and name.
Skytap, a self-service provider of cloud automation solutions, launched a tailored content marketing strategy.
Targeted buyer personas…
By better defining who your target is, your understanding of what those people are searching for on Google, what level of understanding you can assume, and how much nurturing each lead is likely to need, you more effective turn visitors into leads and sales.
For example, Neil Patel uses, “Do you want more traffic?” as the lead-gen headline on his website’s entry overlay.
This messaging resonates with his buyer persona, whose primary pain point is a lack of website traffic:
A complete buyer persona will inform your team about where your ideal customers are (on which platforms), and what messages will attract their eye and get them to click.
For example, Noom (below) uses the Facebook Ad headline “Lose weight for good,” recognizing this is the primary desire of their ideal customer:
By identifying the knowledge level and primary pain points of your ideal customers, you can more effectively test your website’s USP, navigation, sales pages, etc.
We’ll continue the Noom example, by moving from their Facebook ad to their website.
They continue the “lose weight for good” value proposition, using it here to turn visitors into leads:
Knowing who you shouldn’t be targeting improves the ROI of your sales and marketing campaigns.
Not every visitor or lead has the same value. Identifying who should be made priority and who can be left to automation is vital to a scalable sales strategy.
A great way to do this is to showcase (on your homepage) the businesses you’ve worked with before. If your buyer persona is a person who works for an enterprise-level or agency-level business, show businesses they’ll recognize.
Those same businesses will turn a mom-and-pop ecommerce business away. This is the right call if you want to scale your business without wasting time on leads who won’t be able to afford you.
Here’s an example from PitchBox, who showcase businesses who represent their buyer persona:
By implementing buyer personas, your sales team will be better prepared for every chat conversation. They’ll know frequently-asked questions, the average level of understanding, even the tone which will resonate most effectively.
They’ll be able to create automated email flows which better resonate with onboarding customers, build a more effective knowledge base (by showing the most important and frequently-asked question first) and better address the primary pain points of existing users who want to leave.
If you created your buyer personas, appoint someone else within your company to take the role of that ideal customer.
The reason for this is that the creator of the buyer persona won’t be able to stay objective. If the appointee has any questions, be sure to answer them in full, but leave the “character building” up to them. This makes the process more natural.
Then have them interact with your business from that buyer’s point of view.
Here are a few of the main use-cases for a buyer persona:
There are many other buyer persona use-cases, but these first four give you a better idea of the role buyer personas can play in your business’ marketing, sales, and support processes.
An example of a buyer persona for a real estate firm:
Here’s an example of a buyer persona for a B2B business:
And you can go as deep as you like. Narrowing down the buyer persona often helps to find actionable tactics.
For example, this is a more comprehensive buyer persona example for an enterprise-level software provider:
This section will give you an actionable strategy for creating a complete buyer persona.
Your support team will help you define who your existing customers are.
Combining this data with that of your sales team will give you a good idea of the demographic details, pain points, and primary objectives of your buyer persona.
Remember that answers to all these questions should inform your marketing/sales strategy. There’s no point in learning that your sales team thinks your prospective customers have brown eyes.
Here are the top five questions to ask your support team when creating a buyer persona:
5 Questions to Ask your Sales Team:
Your sales team can help define who your prospective customers are, as well as the characteristics of people who tend to buy.
Here are the top five questions to ask your sales team when creating a buyer persona:
Your customers are a priceless resource for defining your ideal buyer persona. After all, these are the people who have bought from you before, and (if they respond) are engaged with you now.
How to talk to your customers:
If you want to, you can incentivize your customers to filling out your questionnaires by offering a gift card or other, in-platform incentive.
5 Questions to Ask your Customers:
Like every marketing strategy, your analytics tool is going to be hugely valuable in building a solid buyer persona.
If your existing tool doesn’t show you the answers to the questions below, consider switching analytics tools.
If that’s outside your budget, it’s okay to rely on common sense and conversations with your support, sales teams, and existing customers.
Any buyer persona is better than no buyer persona.
6 Questions to Ask your Analytics Tool:
If you want to run an ambitious Christmas campaign targeting a demographic which isn’t, necessarily, one of your existing buyer personas, don’t let that stop you.
Online marketing is about innovation and testing as much as it is data.
One of the main ways to create solid buyer personas is to try targeting a certain demographic and seeing if the approach works well.
If you decide to release a major new feature (after running it by your personas), how will that affect the appeal of your product with your existing buyers?
Now that you have a more complete understanding of buyer personas, including exactly how you can create and use them, it’s time to dive in.
In a couple weeks, meet back up and sit down with the data.
Once you have your personas, it’s time to act.
Review the actionable walk-through above and be sure to let us know how it affects your marketing, sales, and customer success results!
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We’ve been growing businesses since 2009, let us do it for you!