How you can create and benefit from Buyer Personas

What are buyer personas?

A buyer persona is a fictional, generalised profile of your ideal customer. Buyer personas are essential when helping to understand your current customers and prospective customers better, making it easier for you to tailor your content marketing to the specific needs, behaviours, and concerns of different groups.

This makes a buyer persona far more than just a ‘job title’ as you could, for example, find that you may have 2 buyer personas for ‘Managing Directors’ – one an older, traditional business leader and the other a younger, tech-savvy, boss. You wouldn’t create the same marketing content for each one would you?

Buyer personas can be built through the use of market research and insights gained from the customer base itself, by asking them questions from surveys and interviews.

Recommendation: There is no limit on how many different buyer personas your business can have; however, if you’re new to personas, start small, there is always time to develop more personas later on if needed.

Negative personas?

Negative (exclusionary) personas provide a representation of those you don’t want to be your customer. This may include examples such as, prospects who you can’t make the required profit from and cost a large amount to service, or students who are only engaging with your content for research/knowledge.

What can personas be used for within your business?

  • Personas allow you to personalize or target your marketing for different segments of your audience. This makes your marketing content very relevant to the reader.
  • If you take the time to create negative personas, then you will have the added advantage of being able to cut out customers who you do not want, from those who you do. This allows you to achieve a lower cost-per-lead and cost-per-customer along with higher sales and productivity.
  • When compared with the lifecycle stage, buyer personas also allow you to map out and create highly targeted content for where they are in the buying cycle. Content for a prospect starting to look for a solution to a problem is different to one about to choose who to use.

How do you create buyer personas?

A buyer persona is mainly created through the use of research, surveys, and interviews of your target audience such as customers, prospects and those outside the contact database who might align with your target audience.

Here are some practical methods for gathering the information you need to create your business’ buyer persona:

  • Interview your customers either in person or over the phone to find out what aspect they like about your product or service
  • Look through contact databases to uncover trends about how certain leads or customers find and consume your content
  • Use form fields on websites to obtain important persona information. Ask each lead for specific information within the form. For example, asking each lead for information on company size.
  • Ask your sales team; get feedback on what leads they are interacting with the most – what type of generalizations can they make about the different types of customers you serve best?

Questions to ask when creating your personas:

  • What is their background? Job? Career path? Family?
  • How do they demographically break up? Male or female? Age? Income? Location?
  • Do they have any goals? Primary goal? Secondary goal?
  • What are their challenges? Primary challenge? Secondary challenge?
  • What can we do: … To help our persona achieve their goals and overcome their challenges?
  • Do they have any quotes? About goals, challenges etc.
  • Why wouldn’t they object to buying your product/service?
  • How should you describe your solution to your persona in a marketing message?
  • Elevator pitch – now you can sell your persona on your solution!

A great investment to make:

Toast have helped many clients to create their buyer personas as part of the content strategy planning stage of our Inbound and Digital Marketing services. Heads of Marketing have often commented at how they then use the personas in everything they do – online and offline. In some cases they have been adopted by sales colleagues to help prioritise business development activity.

Take a look at our full guide on Buyer Personas and do contact us if you would like us to help you through this really important exercise.

 

Download the full guide here

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