Buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers based on data and research. They keep you focused on addressing customer priorities instead of your own.
Creating buyer personas will help you focus your time on qualified prospects, guide product development to suit the needs of your target customers, and align all work across your organisation (from product development to marketing to sales). As a result of this simple exercise, you'll be able to:
Once you dive deeper and begin to apply buyer personas to your overall communications strategy, you'll be able to create valuable content, differentiated products and effective sales follow ups.
A perfect example of that would be seen in this tweet below:
Now that you've understood the importance of buyer personas, let's dive into the million dollar question: how to create a buyer persona?
So, what's the best way to create semi-fictional representations of your buyers?
Your current customers are your best avenues for getting valuable insights on their challenges, needs and psychographics of your customers into usable personas.
You can also apply strategic data analysis through research, surveys and interviews.
If you have a business or a professional account, you can leverage the data in your admin dashboard to determine what content speaks to which audience segment.
For example, LinkedIn's insights provides data on job title, location, seniority, industry and company size. When you cross check it with your best performing post, you will gain a better understanding of what your audience is interested in.
Use actual forms on your website to capture data on source, company size, and even potential challenges via a dropdown menu.
Beware of the number of fields you place in a form as it may affect conversion rates. Adding qualifying fields to your contact form is a good way to gather data on leads and to draw out persona insights.
Research notable and key opinion leaders (KOLs) within your industry and approach them for a feature interview for your online blog.
Keep in mind that their expertise and past work are relevant to what they're doing today, so be well prepared and ask contextual questions.
Interviews allow you to gain insight while repurposing content. Further, it also creates great opportunities for cross-promotion. Don't be afraid to reach out to an existing customer or someone on their team as this shows that you are willing to support them beyond your product offerings.
Nothing is meant to last forever, not even personas. So, how do you update your personas to then reflect on your medium to long term marketing strategies?
Your sales team is your internal knowledge pool. Going through each client and finding similarities about their biggest concerns, desires and referral pathways can be an effective way to group them. They also make for effective selling points for future prospects to get in touch with your sales team.
Many manufacturers have a 'catch and release' mentality with their leads. It's important to nurture and mine your existing client base for date to identify future patterns and cross-selling opportunities.
Surveys are a proven method of gaining valuable data that is comparable to sales consultations and meetings. The best way to start is by creating a bi-annual survey that is tailored to a specific product, challenge or topic. How you choose to send this may vary in the form of an automated email campaign, or a hosted webinar.
Now that you've set up a plan to coordinate with with your product-marketing and sales teams, buyer personas are simple. Remember to create workflows that can be implemented on a regular basis and incentivise your team to leverage personas for any outward communication.
Hosting a buyer persona workshop is an excellent way to get the team together to define your ideal customer.
If you need help in creating a content strategy fit for your buyer personas, get in touch with us via the contact form or simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org