A well-researched buyer persona can be instrumental in your overall marketing strategy and helps you to personalise content for ‘real’ people. Having a persona in mind helps you to reach the right people and talk to them in the way they will understand.
In this step by step guide, we offer a breakdown containing the vital elements of constructing the right buyer persona for your business.
What is a buyer persona?
A buyer persona is a detailed customer profile which is often structured as a fictional character. The character is based on the research of a specific target market, combined with the data of existing or historical customers.
There are lots of elements in the character breakdown, and these will include things such as occupation, challenges and common objections. To reach the right people and speak ‘their language’, you need to understand their personality and key characteristics fully. Buyer personas are great for building an accurate picture of your target market and define the tone and messaging you want to convey in all your online content. Of course, many businesses have a range of different customers, and it’s therefore necessary to categorise these into clearly defined buyer personas.
Our beginner’s guide to creating a compelling buyer persona outlines how you can get started but read on for a detailed step by step guide.
Step 1: Research your target customers
The first (and arguably the most important) step is to do your research. There are numerous ways to do this research, and we suggest covering your analysis from all angles. A common assumption amongst many businesses is that they know their customer already, and this research stage may seem like a wasted exercise. However, dedicating the time to take a broader, more holistic view of your target audience helps you to understand what a realistic persona looks like and perhaps uncover details you weren’t aware of.
- Use your data. Start with the data you already have stored within your customer database. Collect all the useable insights from your records, and this will give you a clearer picture of the types of people who convert. You could also supplement this data by sending out surveys to existing customers via email or even undertake market research and invite focus groups to your offices.
- Explore your analytics data. Google Analytics can be a great source of information and utilised correctly, can give you some interesting insights. Investigate demographics such as location, age, interests, gender and buying behaviour and gather all of the relevant information into one place. There are several social analytics tools too. Facebook audience insights, for example, allows you to view aggregate details on your current customers. You can also analyse a broader market of potential customers, discovering insights such as relationship status, job role and household size.
- Review your competition. Competitor analysis is commonplace in many research methods, and it’s still important to see what your competition is doing when it comes to buyer personas. Some questions to keep in mind when you are checking out the competition are as follows:
- Are they targeting the same sort of people?
- Have they adopted a different tone of voice?
- Do they define their markets clearly?
- What else can you learn from their activity?
- If you’re a B2B company, you could undertake online research and examine the job roles that matter to you. Search for these roles in Google and take a look at what other companies consider key responsibilities of the role in their job advertisements to consolidate with your existing data.
Step 2: Identify your customer challenges
Every customer has pain points and problems they face in their day to day lives. It’s our job to identify these challenges and work out how they stop customers from achieving their end goals.
The best way to do that is to ask questions and direct them to your customer service or account management team (if you have one). Ask them about the common queries which come up again and again and other types of problems the team have to solve. Trawl reviews, testimonials and general customer feedback to identify trends and include customer quotes if relevant.
Step 3: Outline customer objectives
In the same way, you need to outline common challenges; you also need to determine the goals and objectives of your prospective customers. Throughout your research, you need to understand the personal and professional aspirations of your target market to help you deliver content that meets those objectives.
The goals you outline don’t always have to be related to the service or product you offer either. Simply providing knowledge, reassurance or expertise can often help customers meet their end-goals.
If you have a sales team, it’s essential to sit down and talk to them to understand the goals of your existing customers as they are the ones asking the important questions.
Step 4: Humanise your personas
Building your persona is straightforward if you are armed with the right research. Once you have gathered all your data, start identifying shared characteristics and trends. As you sort through the statistics and begin categorising the information into unique customer personas, you can flesh them out into ‘real’ people.
There are many reasons why you should personalise the digital experience, and that starts with humanising the people you want to speak to with your content. The best way is to give your buyer persona a name and a picture that accurately visualises the profile created.
Create a personality for each person and include characteristics such as job title, family, relationship status, hobbies and interests. The aim is for your buyer persona to feel like an individual you could realistically have a face to face conversation with. You’re looking for a similar depth of information as an online dating profile, and it’s important to remember that just because you have a list of key characteristics, doesn’t mean you have a buyer persona.
Humanising the data you have acquired is essential in creating a realistic representation of your target customer. It’s also important to not get preoccupied with the details of your persona. The persona may not be an exact fit for every type of customer you have. Still, the purpose remains the same – to help your business and marketing partners think of your target market as actual people, rather than a mundane list of characteristics.
Using Buyer Personas in your Marketing Strategy
Creating detailed buyer personas and immersing them in your digital marketing strategy helps your business stay focused on what’s important – the customer. Share your buyer personas across the entire team and even have a short presentation about each person, so all team members have a unified view of how to talk to customers and adapt their tone of voice accordingly.
When your sales representatives source new business, customer service team handle enquiries or when you deliver content to attract new customers, a consistent (but highly targeted) voice will speak to the right people.
Research shows that customers are more inclined to go to companies that they trust, which is where buyer personas come in. If you can understand the trials and tribulations experienced by your customers and offer a truly effective solution, they are much more likely to use you over your competitors. When you truly understand your customers, this shows in marketing and advertisement campaigns and buyers will immediately respond to that.
If you need help with creating your buyer personas to build an accurate picture of your target market, contact our professional and friendly team with any questions you may have.
We are also offering a free template download for readers who would like more information on what exactly should be included in a buyer persona breakdown. Simply enter your email details and have exclusive access to our carefully customised template – designed by our specialists.