Meet buyer personas. Just the same way your customers meet your brand, a buyer persona gets you familiar with your ideal customers. Think of it as getting to know a friend. If you are not using buyer personas already, you should be. You can gain far more from creating buyer personas, especially when it comes to inbound marketing. Now you’ve been introduced, it’s time to get familiar with one another…
Who are your ideal customers?
Imagine you had to identify your ideal customer. Where would you start? If you haven’t got a clue or are not entirely sure, buyer persona development is a must. Even if you are sure of who your customers are, you should still develop your buyer personas.
To create a buyer persona, you need to come up with a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer. After all, that’s exactly what a buyer persona is. Unfortunately, you cannot just pluck something out of thin air. You need to be smart when creating your buyer personas.
While there may be a little bit of guesswork involved, for the most part, you’ll base the semi-fictional representation on research and real data. Existing research that tells you your customers’ habits, experiences, challenges, and how they make decisions. More on that later…
Something else you’ll need to be aware of is that creating a buyer persona is not a one size fits all approach. You’ll create buyer personas for every customer segment you are looking to target. Whether it’s Dave, Chris, Pat, or Molly, you’ll need to create a buyer persona for all your “ideal customers”.
On average, you may have between 3 and 5. Any more than that and you are not being specific enough. At the end of the day, you want to better understand your potential customers in order to empathise with them. You’ll then stand a better chance of acquiring them as new customers.
When done right, a buyer persona can give you a lot. You may feel you already have a general gist of who your customers are. But that is not helpful. Creating a buyer persona allows you to get deeper and better understand how to interact with them. It also allows you to create insightful structures by outlining where best to devote your efforts and how much time you should invest. This will make it much easier to create more appealing and targeted content down the line.
Now you may be thinking ‘but every customer is different?’. True, but you should generalise your buyer persona by compiling common characteristics and traits. Think about the semi-fictional character as if it’s a real person. Then you can better understand how best to engage and potentially delight your customers. Without engaging by providing relevant content that meets your customers’ needs, there’s a good chance they will lose their interest and trust in you.
When you are all finished, you’ll have a pretty good understanding of who to aim your efforts at. This will help you to tailor your efforts and engage with your customers to meet their needs in a meaningful way.
Why should I create a buyer persona?
Research has found that 90% of a company’s sales are because a company has developed 3 to 4 personas beforehand. Why? Because developing your buyer personas gives you an insight into who your customers are and what appeals to them. It also tells you how you can best communicate with them.
Creating and maintaining your buyer personas is essential. If you want to tailor the content you are offering to target your customers’ needs, you should be utilising buyer personas. Doing so helps to make sure that all the activities you do throughout the inbound marketing process will be relevant and tailored.
Another important reason why you should develop your buyer personas is that it allows you to get personal with your customers. Finding out how best to present your brand, you need to start talking about what you do and why. Creating a story that engages with your customers will allow them to build trust and allow them to get to know you better. You stand a much better chance of building meaningful relationships if you do.
To do this, you need to focus on how your content, product or brand addresses the customer’s pain points. A pain point is a problem that is faced by either a current or potential customer. They can also include any problems experienced throughout the buyer’s journey.
Once you have achieved that, your customer will be willing to hear about what you have to offer. Without this focus, a customer or prospect may not be interested. It’s all about delivering the right content, to the right people, at the right time.
What do I include in a buyer persona?
If you are sold on the idea of buyer personas, you’ll probably want to start creating them. But before you do, here’s what you should include. Before you jump straight into anything though, you need to do some research.
A good buyer persona will ask the right questions to the right people. So, it’s very important you include the right information. You’ll need to begin conducting research to identify this information. The research you conduct will collect data from sources such as website analytics, surveys, plus knowledge about your current customers. You can gather a lot of important information by just digging into the data you already have.
Now, once you’ve carried out your research, you can start to develop your persona. There is a lot of information you should consider including, so here’s an infographic to show you:
Developing your buyer persona infographic
Developing your buyer persona entails far more than just a description. Instead, you want to be developing your personas to give you insights. What appeals to your customers? What doesn’t appeal to your customers? How and when is the time to communicate with them? How can you elevate any pain points? These are all points you need to consider when developing your personas.
As a bonus, make your persona more personal by giving them a face and a name. Be as creative as you like.
Inbound marketing and buyer persona
To wrap things up, I’d like to reiterate the important role buyer personas play in inbound marketing. We have already touched upon this throughout the article, but we’ll wrap up with a nice little summary.
The most fundamental use of buyer personas in inbound marketing is how you develop your content. Developing your buyer personas allows you to create more meaningful and relevant content that appeals to your customers. After all, that is what inbound marketing is all about.
Want to get started with inbound marketing but not sure where to begin? Check out our beginner’s guide.
You will find out information about what content appeals to your customers, how they best like to receive the content, and through what channels. Providing the information customers need at the right time will be a great asset to generating important and valuable leads.
Secondly, if you aren’t creating personalised experiences for your buyer personas you risk losing up to 94% of potential customers. Understanding where your customers are in relation to the inbound marketing process will tell you what and when to best serve up relevant content.
But in the end, developing your buyer personas will enable you to attract high-quality leads to your business. Creating and developing content that appeals to your customers will help you create more meaningful experiences. You cannot achieve that though if you do not understand your customers and what appeals to them. The first thing to do is start developing your buyer personas.