The priority of any inbound marketing process is supposed to be defining buyer personas, from which the target audience will be ably defined.
A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.
When creating your buyer persona(s), consider including customer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals. The more detailed you are, the better. It ideally represents the wants of your customers and their behavior as they come into contact with your business.
Easy access to the internet, means that the profiles can be developed easier and faster.
When developing a buyer persona, Brian Tracy in his publication for Entrepreneur advises going through these 6 tips:
1. Define your product or service from the customer’s point of view. What does your product do for your ideal customer? What problems does your product solve for your customer? What needs of your customer does your product satisfy? How does your product improve your customer’s life or work?
2. Define the ideal customer for what you sell. What is his or her age, education, occupation, or business? What is his or her income or financial situation? What is his or her situation today in life or work?
3. Determine the specific benefits your customer is seeking in buying your product. Of all the benefits you offer, which are the most important to your ideal customer? What are the most pressing needs that your product or service satisfies? Why should your customer buy from you rather than from someone else?
4. Determine the location of your exact customer. Where is your customer located geographically? Where does your customer live or work? Where is your customer when he or she buys your product or service?
5. Determine exactly when your ideal customer buys your product or service. What has to happen in the life or work of your customer for him to buy your product? What time of year, season, month, or week does your customer buy?
6. Determine your customer’s buying strategy. How does your customer buy your product or service? How has your customer bought similar products or services in the past? What is your customer’s buying strategy? How does your customer go about making a buying decision for your product?
A buyer persona is a sketch of what your customers should be into and is also segmented to a particular target.
Composition Of A Buyer Persona
Here is an overview of what to include in your buyer persona template:
Persona name: It’s very important to give your persona a name to bring them to life and humanize your marketing efforts
- Essential information about their company (size, sector, etc.)
- Details about their job role
- Salary or combined household income
- Location: are they from an urban, suburban or rural region
- Level of education
- Family size
Goals and challenges
- Main goal
- Secondary goal
- How you help your persona reach these goals
- Primary challenge
- Secondary challenge
- How you can assist in resolving these problems
Values and fears
- Main personal values
- Common objections during the sales process
Think about how you might describe or communicate your product or services to this particular type of person?
Elaborate on your marketing message and decide on a consistent message based on how you’re going to sell yourself to this customer.
How to Create Your Buyer Personas
Throw feelings out of the window and base on real data. Your buyer personas need to be based on real-world information, not gut instinct. Define the people who want to buy from you, not the people you wish would buy from you.
1. Research Your Audience
It is only after in-depth research that you are going to develop usable data about your target audience.
Getting started, you can look through those that are already buying from, those that repeatedly buy from you and supposedly start analyzing the similarities between them, or what makes their preference differ.
When you match the similarities, it gives you an indicator of what aspects of your product or service to front and even make better. Knowing what causes the difference in tastes will help you better the product to make it more all-round attractive.
Some of the key data points you’ll want to collect are age, location, language, income, buying behavior, interests, and activities, and life stage (such as new parenthood or retirement). Gather what you can from your customer records, and consider confirming and supplementing that information through email surveys, online surveys, focus groups, or even customer interviews.
A comprehensive social media marketing plan can easily provide you with analytics to avail you with an incredible amount of information about the people who are interacting with your brand online, even if they’re not yet customers. Facebook Audience Insights provides especially valuable and detailed information. Lest you forget, Facebook has over a billion users and it is an avenue to look at keenly.
The other side of research needs to look at how your audience potentially interacts with your competition. Furthermore, is your competition exploring a demographic you should also be looking at?
2. Identify the Customers’ Problems
From the data collected, the customers are looking at solving different problems. What’s holding them back from success? What barriers do they face in reaching their goals? These answers can be picked from social media. It is called social listening.
Social Media can help you monitor the interaction people have with your product, as well as the mentions you get, and how competitors are going about their business.
Further, you can check in with the customer service team and hear which complaints/queries/questions they get most regarding your product. Find out if they can help you identify patterns about which groups tend to face different kinds of challenges.
3. Identify Customer Goals, And How You Can Help
The upside of listening to problems is you can identify the goals whose solution is supposedly lacking or isn’t working out as was hoped.
These goals might be directly related to solutions you can provide, or even not. If the goals from the buyer persona(s) you are building aren’t directly aligned with your product, they can form the basis of a campaign, or they might simply inform the tone or approach you to take in your marketing.
You can go beyond the features your product is offering, and deeply understand the benefits your buyers want from the said product. It can be hard for marketers to get out of the feature mindset—which is one reason buyer personas are so important. They help you flip your thinking and consider your products and services from a buyer’s point of view.
4. Turn research into buyer personas
Now that you’ve narrowed down the most common details about your customers, you should organize those details into separate personas. You can classify using the similarity in benefits looked for or even challenges faced.
Go ahead and name your buyer persona, and go along with defining traits like a job title, a home, income prospect. Personalize the buyer persona but nothing too specific. You may lose the picture if you get to personal and specific.
Remember, a list of characteristics does not equal a persona. A persona is a realistic description of a person who represents one segment of your customer base. Sure, not all people in this customer group match the characteristics of your persona exactly. But this persona represents this customer group to you and allows you to think about them in a human way rather than as a collection of data points.
It can also be worth looking beyond the traditional ‘buyer’ when creating your personas.
One persona to look into is influencers:
Influencers – Influencers are people that, although they may not directly buy the product, are influencing the actual buyer so significantly and at such scale that it is worth investing time into these people. A good example of this is accountants who tell small business owners which accounting software to use or web designers who tell their clients which CMS to use.
The difficult part about creating a buyer persona is done and you can now go on to reach out to these different buyer personas concerning your product. These are the basis of your marketing and sales process.
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