How do you attract new customers? How do you connect with existing customers? How do you develop personalized content that can still be sent as part of a large scale marketing campaign? Answering these questions starts with an understanding of the importance of, and how to create buyer personas.
A buyer persona (or audience persona) is essentially a sketch of a niche (or key) segment within your target market. For content marketing personas, your buyer personas are the summation of the pain points, desires, motivations, and demographics of your target audience. In other words, you can’t deliver ROI-enhancing content, unless you know the wants and needs of your intended audience. If you learn how to create buyer personas for different marketing campaigns, you can successfully gain insights into the majority of your customers while still targeting a specific niche via personalized content.
How to Create Buyer Personas
Creating your buyer personas will require you to delve into the psychological makeup of your customers. Through the persona you should be able to easily “walk a mile in your customer’s shoes,” while simultaneously viewing your products and services from a business lens. If you want to create sales-driven marketing campaigns, then you need to carry both perspectives with you. To do this you will need to start with a basic template that covers the following information. To use our earlier metaphor, this basic information is your “recipe”.
- Name of the persona
- Job title (including details about their specific role)
- Key information about their company (size, type, location, industry, etc.)
- Age, gender, salary, and household income
- Location (urban, suburban, rural)
- Education level (high school, college, graduate, and education level / understanding within your industry).
- Goals and challenges that are specific to the products / services that your company offers.
- How can you help them achieve their goals?
- How can you solve their problems?
- Common objections that are encountered during the sales process
- Marketing message
- Elevator pitch (If you had only a few minutes to convince the person to learn more, buy, or otherwise engage with your company, what would you say to establish a meaningful connection?)
Once you have moved beyond the basic information, it will be time for you to fill in more specific information. Think of this information as the “ingredients” that you need to follow your “recipe” and create a wonderful “meal.” Remember that your personas might alter slightly from campaign to campaign. For example, a persona built for an email buying funnel might look different than the one used for a blog or social media campaign. With this in mind, here are a few pieces of information that you might want to add to your buyer personas.
- Hobbies help us to understand the intersection(s) between a person’s professional and personal lives. They provide key insights into a person’s interests and how they think, while simultaneously establishing the common ground needed to form valuable connections.
- Real quotes from interviews with customers help to establish trust and provide insight into needs, wants, values, and challenges.
- Computer literacy is important to understand if you are delivering technical content, services, or products.
- Where does your persona get their news and what blogs do they read?
Create Buyer Personas For Each Audience’s Campaigns
Now that we have filled in the “recipe” and “ingredients” portion of building an buyer persona, it is time to deliver the final “meal.” To do so, we need to take a look at how you can gather the information needed to build your persona. For the sake of your marketing campaigns (and the success of your buyer personas) it is important that you cast a wide net to find the detailed and accurate information that you need to create quality personas.
- Check your site analytics. — Within your website analytics you can see the following types of information, which can give you incredible insights into the mindset of your intended audience.
- Where did your visitors come from? For example, did they conduct a Google search or did they click on links to find your site?
- What keywords did site visitors use to find your company?
- What pages did visitors look at on your site?
- How long did visitors spend on your site (and on specific pages)?
- Involve your team in creating audience profiles. — Creating buyer personas is a team effort. It is important to note that your team should not be segmented; instead, you should gather together members of the sales, marketing, and HR departments. Anyone who interacts with customers or has access to customer data should be invited to share their perspective on what makes customers tick in both positive and negative ways.
- Social media research. — The beauty of social media is that it provides a wealth of information on customer behaviors. Use these platforms to your advantage so that you can more effectively understand why someone would like, comment, share, or otherwise interact with your company on social media.
- Ask your audience questions. — Sometimes the best way to build a buyer persona is to simply ask your customers questions. Surveys and interviews are a critical component to building buyer personas that mirror real-life customers. Be sure to use these tools to discover specific details on the goals, values, and pain points of your customers.
Create A Positive Impact With Your Buyer Personas
Now that you have created your buyer personas, it is time to actually use them. The first step is to assign personas to each marketing campaign. Within each campaign you should have a persona assigned to each piece of marketing content. Finally, you should ensure that your marketing campaigns are designed to solve the specific needs, challenges, and goals of specific buyer personas. Through the latter strategy you can use your buyer personas to increase sales, establish valuable connections, and create high impact marketing campaigns that actually reach your customers.