Buyer personas are a powerful tool for marketers and copywriters. They help brands get a deeper understanding of their customers so they can adapt and improve their products and services and address any pain points or barriers to sale. In terms of content marketing, buyer personas help marketers create the right content for the right audiences – and deliver it just when their customers need it most.
Getting to know your customers
Buyer personas are detailed, fictionalised descriptions of different customer types. The types of data you’ll require to build your personas will depend on the nature of the business and its goals. Here are some of the most common details used in buyer personas.
- Level of education.
- Geographical location.
- Relationship/family status.
- Salary bracket/disposable income.
- Preferred social media.
- Preferred news outlets.
- Favourite television/music/tech etc.
- Favourite holiday destinations.
- Personal politics.
It’s a good idea to stick to using data that is most relevant to your business – anything that helps you build a better picture of your perfect customer, so you can target your messaging more effectively, present people with the right offers and address any pain points or concerns they have. If you are creating personas for a B2B audience you might want to include data such as whether they are a decision maker, how many colleagues they manage, what their biggest challenges are, what technology they prefer etc.
So, what are the most effective ways to collect this valuable information? Your CRM is a good place to start, as are your sales and customer service teams who interact with your customers on a regular basis. Google Analytics offers a variety of insights about audience demographics as do a number of social media tools (including some which are free to use). You could also conduct a survey of your customers or see if they would be open to a 1-1 interview.
Identify your customers’ needs and pain points
Once you have a general idea of your customer profiles you can start identifying their needs and pain points and how these might relate to your products. Think about how your product will benefit them and what could stop them buying from you. Again, your customer service team should be able to provide some insights with this, as can analysing social media sentiment and the comments on review sites – both for your brand and your competitors. Collecting a handful of quotes from these platforms can be really helpful, particularly if your personas are going to be shared with a number of parties internally and you want to add a bit of colour.
Segment your customers into groups
Once you’ve gathered the above information, it’s time to segment your buyers into groups based on common characteristics. Established approaches include by demographic (age, income, social status), geographic (country, city, population density), psychographic (lifestyle, interests, values) and behavioural (benefits sought, online behaviours, buyer stage) – but you can apply any segmentation structure that suits your business.
How to use buyer personas to improve your marketing strategy
When your buyer persona segments are in place, you can identify which groups would be most receptive to particular campaigns or offers, which present the most and least opportunity, which have the most potential for growth in the future, and which are unlikely to be a long-term focus for your company. You can then revisit your product offering and messaging with a fresh pair of eyes and your buyer personas in mind. What have you learnt from this research that could help you improve your offering and optimise your sales and marketing strategy? How can you engage more effectively with these different groups?
The final step in your buyer persona journey is to revisit and re-evaluate your personas as your campaigns and products evolve. Your audience(s) change over time, as does your business and its marketplace. Keep listening to your customers, and do all you can to understand who they are and how you can help them and you shouldn’t go far wrong. Good luck and don’t forget to let us know your top tips on creating effective buyer personas.