Marketing is about people.
Good marketing is about understanding how your product or service can directly benefit a person.
To market your business well, then, you must understand exactly who your customer is.
To do this, we create buyer personas. According to HubSpot, a buyer persona is:
‘A semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.’
In non-marketing speak, a buyer persona is exactly who you want to sell to.
In this blog post, we’ll look at how to develop your buyer persona, and how they can directly benefit your business’s marketing strategy.
What information to look for when developing a buyer persona
The first rule of inbound marketing is to know who you’re selling to.
To understand this, it’s important that you conduct your primary and secondary research.
You need to understand your marketing. You need to scout out your competitors, and you certainly need to understand what types of people are engaging most with your business.
There are many factors to take into account when thinking about a buyer persona. For example:
- Age range
- Job title (and seniority)
- Geographic location
- Education level
- Experience in their field
It’s even important to begin to understand where these people go for their information about your industry. Are they looking at competitor blogs? Are they spending a lot of time on Google? Are they reading trade magazines?
If you can understand this, not only can you begin to build a picture of your ideal customer, but you can begin to understand where best to market your business. For example, should you invest in Google AdWords? Or is your money better spent on Facebook advertising?
Okay, onto how to gather this information…
If you have a CRM database full of contacts, this is the best place to start. These are people who have already engaged with your business – all you have to do is understand who they are and why they’ve come.
If you don’t have a CRM database full of contacts, start working on the steps to develop one. Build a premium piece of content and gate it behind a landing page.
When website visitors download your white paper, make sure there’s a form on your landing page to capture useful information about them.
Next, speak with your sales team.
These people engage with potential customers every day, so they’ll have useful feedback on the types of people that are engaging with your business.
If you don’t have a sales team or a contacts database, try and reach out to your customers directly.
Offer them a discount on products if they’re willing to donate some time to
Once you have interviews lined up with customers, prospects and your sales team, consider what you might ask.
What questions should I be asking in a buyer persona interview?
There’s a lot of information you’ll want to gather from a buyer persona interview, and it’s likely you’ll have limited time to conduct it, so be sure to prepare for your interview.
Some questions worth asking include:
- Questions around job role:
- What is their job title?
- What does a typical day look like?
- What skills do they need to do their job?
- Who do their report to?
- Do they manage a team?
- Questions about the company:
- What’s the industry that the company operates in?
- What size is the company?
- What’s their turnover?
- Where are they located?
- Who do they do business with?
- Pain points and challenges:
- What is it that makes these people look for businesses like you?
- Why have customers chosen your business?
- Why have prospects not chosen your business?
- What about their job role are you solving for?
- A little background:
- How old is your interviewee?
- Do they have a family?
- Some hobbies?
- What magazines do they read?
- How often do they spend time on social media? What platforms?
With these in mind, you should be able to gather enough information to begin to build a picture of what your ideal customer might look like.
Perhaps it’s Digital Dave or IT Ian? Perhaps it’s eCommerce Emma?
Whatever name you give your persona, it should be shrouded in facts and research.
Why are buyer personas important?
Buyer personas are arguably your most important inbound marketing asset.
Without one, you’ll have little idea about who uses your products and who you should be trying to market to. Buyer personas are key to understanding and predicting user intent. Without them, it’ll be like trying to drive a car in the dark without any headlights. How are you supposed to know if there’s
Your buyer persona, then, is your guiding light. They define the rest of your marketing strategy, from how you talk on social media to how you engage with prospects in your copy.
You should assess your audience and understand what common ideas they think about, what common beliefs they hold, what common things they do. If you reference these specific things and give the illusion you’re speaking directly to individuals about the thoughts they have, that’s good. That’s marketing. It’s all about research.