So you’ve identified your core clients as either businesses (B2B) or consumers (B2C). The next step to establish the right Visibility is building a few concrete buyer personas for better engagement and more profit.
What are Buyer Personas?
A semi-fictional profile of your ideal customers based on relevant data and market segmentation to help guide business efforts.
A lot of departments use them and they do a whole lot of work in smart business decision making. Personas are a more narrowed and specific definition of a segment.
To get even more particular, there are 2 types of personas: an audience and a buyer. An audience wants to consume content merely for educational and entertainment benefits. A buyer wants to absorb content that helps with their decisions about a transaction.
Why should I care about Buyer Personas?
- Google cares. They take data and use their own market segmentation algorithm, which they call “inferring user interests.” Their end-to-end people modelling includes affinity categories (Audience Persona) and in-market buyers (Buyer Persona). If you want a good page rank for SEO, I recommend sticking to what Google likes – getting to know your buyer personas.
- Sprint lost 1.3 million customers in 2008 because they didn’t care. AT&T gained 2.1 million users and Verizon acquired 1.4 million people. Why? Sprint was ranked the worst among wireless providers for customer experience. As Harvard Business Review puts it, “customer experience matters most.”
- They help you make better business decisions. If you develop a proper buyer persona with relevant data, your company won’t need to allocate time and money to campaigns that may not work.
How do I build a Buyer Persona?
Create a story
Collecting Data through Research
The top two key qualities: 1) Ask, 2) Listen.
Be sure to address qualitative identifiers and quantitative measurements. Use online and offline data to guide you. Apply multiple methods that include interviews, questionnaires, surveys, and social listening.
Most people associate “data” and “research” with numbers and statistics. That’s not all. Our next post about conducting effective market research outlines effective procedures to congregate relevant information.
Segmenting and Layering Your Data
Look for commonalities and clusters of data from the research. Identify trends and patterns you see from factors that are important to your company (i.e. location, age, company size, gender, hobbies). Think about your business goals and prioritizations. Begin to verify previous hypotheses and educated guesses.
When you separate the people into groups, explore their story. Which features would most benefit Group A versus Group B? What would solve their problems?
Creating a Story for the Buyer Persona
You’ve done all your homework, so now it’s time to put it all together.
Some of the common profile details that people put in their buyer personas include:
- Name (usually includes a title descriptor like “Marketer Mary” or “Salesman Sam”)
- Role or Title
- Demographics (age, location, ethnicity, education, income)
- Firmographics (industry, company size & location, performance)
- Psychographics (needs, problems, challenges, goals, attitudes)
If you want to get into the nitty gritty, others who are more dedicated to buyer persona development may write about:
- Interview quotes or Common sayings
- Hobbies & Interests
- Websites they visit and blogs they read
- Computer literacy
- What keeps them up at night (reference to pain points)
- Buyer’s Journey (coming soon)
These examples will probably help you visualize what it looks like:
- Simple Buyer Persona template from Buffer
- Very extensive Buyer Persona example from Buffer
- Basic Buyer Persona example from Hubspot
- Basic Buyer Persona example from Quantum Postcards
And here’s Hubspot’s amazing interactive tool developed specifically for building a buyer persona.
How does a Buyer Persona help me?
- Targeting the most valuable clients to your company
- Knowing what relevant content to create
- Gaining an understanding of your ideal customers
- Making better business decisions
- Developing scenarios and business cases based on consumer needs
- Creating effective and profitable outreach and marketing campaigns
- Optimizing all your strategies for better SEO
… Not much.
What are the best practices for making a Buyer Persona?
Don’t be too detailed on irrelevant trivia. Focus on the factors that align with business goals.
Don’t make a flawless persona. It’s okay to make a jerk or a quirky person.
Stay away from inconsistencies. If your sports enthusiast is an Apple fan, he probably doesn’t have a Windows phone.
3-5 is a good number of personas.
Make your interactions personal. Try not to rely on scripted Q&A interviews and group sessions.
Be sure to check out our next post on how to create an effective market research plan to ensure you get every nook and cranny of preparing a personalized and engaging marketing strategy.
Next up: C0nducting Market Research.
This is a blog series outlining the details of the 6 principles of Engagement Marketing: VAIRCG.