Buyer persona: step by step to build the perfect persona for your business
If you have a business, you certainly want to obtain more leads and increase your revenue, right?
To accomplish this, it is necessary to create and execute a marketing strategy, which includes content production and other actions, as a way to prospect consumers.
It works like a conversation, where you and your audience build a relationship.
However, will your strategy ever work if you try to talk to everyone?
No, because if you decide to speak to everyone, nobody will hear you. The reason for that is simple: people have different needs, opinions, pain points, and challenges. So, if you want their attention, they should see that you understand and want to help them.
To achieve this objective, and accurately reach your audience, you can start by building a buyer persona, also known as a persona. Creating it is the basis of a Digital Marketing strategy.
This content will cover the following topics:
- What is a buyer persona?
- What is a target audience?
- What is the impact of a buyer persona in marketing?
- How does a persona affect your content production?
- How to create a buyer persona in 4 steps?
What is a buyer persona?
A buyer persona is a semi-fictional character that represents your ideal customer.
Creating it requires a careful work that includes market research, customer data that you already have, and even some assumptions.
Once you build your persona’s profile and describe its characteristics in detail, you will be able to understand your audience and address your marketing efforts to the right people.
After all, if you know your ideal customer “in person”, it is easier to talk to him about things he is interested in.
Nowadays, it is helping businesses and marketers all over the world to reach customers, establish a relationship with them, and make more sales.
Now that you know the theory, how about understanding the concept of persona in practice?
First of all, imagine a company that offers CRM software. How would its persona look like? Let’s see the following topic.
An example of a persona
William, 35 years old, married, has a bachelor’s degree in marketing and a busy professional routine, although he tries to find a balance between work and family.
He works as a marketing manager for a company that supplies kitchen equipment to restaurants.
Since the company’s early days, he has been worked with spreadsheets to keep track of their customer base, which is growing fast.
Thus, he realizes that the old method is no longer an efficient tool, and the members of his team are complaining about their difficulties in using spreadsheets.
For this reason, he has been talking to the CEO about the possibility of acquiring a CRM system.
However, his boss thinks that spreadsheets are still an effective method of tracking sales and keeping a good relationship with customers.
William frequently searches CRM-related terms at Google, aiming to find out the ideal solution for their problem.
He even asks for more information when he finds a system that he likes, and also wants to complete his benchmark by email.
He is on LinkedIn, where he regularly consumes content to keep up with his area, as well as on Facebook, which he uses for personal purposes. Also, Willian likes to watch the news on YouTube.
Because their business involves a lot of transactions and communications with customers, as well as orders with special requests, they need a CRM system with some specific characteristics.
For example, it must be easy to use and intuitive. Besides, it should be scalable, since the company will keep on growing.
Also, the software has to integrate with their email solution so that they can automate the communication with leads and customers.
Finally, it must offer segmentation features, which will facilitate the marketing and sales departments’ work.
What is a target audience?
Are you familiar with the concept of target audience? It is important to know the differences between it and the idea of persona.
Firstly, a target audience includes more general data, that is, demographic information of people that are more likely to become your customers.
A target audience profile can also include socioeconomic and behavioral aspects, although not detailed as the persona’s characteristics. It had been widely used in offline marketing campaigns.
Some target audience examples to help you understand the concept:
- marketing managers, 35 to 45 years old, working in companies in the state of New York;
- men and women, 30 to 40 years old, middle class, owning dogs;
- women, 25 to 35 years old, middle class, interested in DIY (do it yourself).
As you can see, a personas’ profile gathers much more information about people you want to reach. But why is it so important?
What is the impact of a buyer persona in marketing?
A better understanding of your customer
Imagine you’ve just met a person and want to establish a pleasant conversation. Maybe you agree that you will be more likely to accomplish that if both of you share common interests, right?
So, as the person talks about his interests, goals, and challenges, you can tell him your opinion and even offer suggestions.
In the relationship between your business and your customer, the same occurs. Once you have a complete profile of your ideal client, you will be more likely to be empathetic, and your prospect will feel you really understand and want to help.
Direct your marketing efforts to a persona will help to save time and money. You will have higher chances of reaching people who have exactly the problems your product or service is meant to solve.
Thus, with less time and money spent, the cost of attracting each customer is lower.
If you have a buyer persona, you are able to segment your communication according to people’s preferences. Think, for example, about the language you should use.
Do your prospects like to talk formally or informally? What vocabulary do they use? Do they prefer reading a text with technical terms? Would they like if you use emojis?
Segmentation also includes appropriate content, according to the customer journey stage that your lead is at.
For example, if the person is at the awareness stage, he needs more educative and general content, which is present in blog posts and infographics. At the decision stage, interactive calculators and case studies would be welcome.
When you have a buyer persona, you can answer all these questions. Thereby, you will help your customers to go ahead through the customer journey, which will increase the number of sales and, of course, the revenue.
More persuasive approaching
Because objections are a natural element of a negotiation, you must be prepared to clear up your prospects’ questions.
However, if you have a persona in mind, it is also possible to predict issues that may come up and cover them, for example, on blog posts, ebooks, and case studies.
Besides that, you will be able to clean up possible questions in the content of your emails, so your approach will be more persuasive. If you do so, your email marketing strategy will have higher effectiveness.
How does a persona affect your content production?
When you have a persona and know your prospects and customers, you can understand the purchasing process.
This knowledge will affect your content production because people need different types of content as they go through the customer journey stages.
Think about a person who has just met your blog. To solve a problem, he probably searched a keyword at Google and found you.
Because he is at the awareness stage, he will need educative and more general content, which he will find in blog posts, infographics, and videos.
As the prospect goes to the evaluation stage, you should offer, for example, ebooks, webinars, whitepapers, newsletters, among others.
Finally, the person gets to the decision stage, where he needs to make a decision: to buy or not.
To help him make the best decision, there are some appropriate types of content, such as case studies, free trials, discount coupons, and even a chat with a consultant.
You can see that the type of content depends on the customer journey stage the person is at. If you build your persona properly, your content strategy will be more effective, and you will be more empathetic and engaging.
How to create a buyer persona? Check out 4 steps!
To create a buyer persona, we can’t rely on assumptions alone. Some inferences may indeed be necessary, but most of the work depends on surveys, which can be done using interviews or forms.
If you ask the right questions, you will be able to gather all the information you need to build an accurate buyer persona. Take a look at some steps you need to take.
1. Collect data
What would be the best source of information to create a profile of your ideal customer?
Your customer base, of course.
In fact, you can interview not only people that have already purchased your solution but also your prospects. So let’s see some ways of collecting data.
You can analyze your customer base to find out trends about how they consume content.
Besides that, landing page forms can be used to collect useful information. Interactive quizzes are a great way to do that because they are attractive, engaging, and even fun.
Talking to experts can be helpful too, because they have a better understanding of your audience.
So, ask the sales team, trainers, tech support, writers who write copies for your audience, among others, for information about people you want to reach.
Besides that, Google Analytics and competitive analysis can offer you useful information about people who could become your customers.
Surveys and interviews
It is essential to have in mind that customers have different levels of engagement. Depending on the size of the form, some of them may not get so interested in helping you.
On the other hand, a small form or interview will not supply you with the necessary information.
Create smart questions, which may be arranged in four categories: demographics, personal data, content consumption, and challenges. Take a look at the following examples.
- What are your gender, age, and education?
- Where do you live?
- What do you do at work? What is your job position?
- What is your company’s industry?
- What is the size of your company?
- What are your goals?
- How is your routine?
- What are your responsibilities?
- What challenges do you have at work?
- What does success in work mean to you?
- What social networks do you use?
- What subjects are you interested in?
- What content formats do you like?
- Where do you find useful information for your work routine?
- How do you learn and acquire new skills?
- What challenges did you have before finding us?
- How are we helping you solve problems?
- What characteristics of ours do you like the most?
Who to interview?
You may be wondering about who exactly to interview. Well, you may get tempted to talk only with “good” customers, that is, people who love your business and its solutions.
However, “bad” customers, who are not so satisfied with your service or product, can offer valuable information. Indeed, interviewing them could even help you to improve your solution.
You can also interview people who have not yet purchased your solution, especially if your business has just started, and you still don’t have a customer base.
How many people to interview?
There is not a definitive answer to that.
However, as you do interviews, at some point, you will start to predict the responses of interviewees. You will notice patterns, so if you start to precisely predict what the person will tell, you may stop and go to the next step.
2. Analyze collected data
Now that interviews are done, you have a lot of information to analyze and arrange.
How exactly could you do that? Search for common characteristics among interviewees, what problems and challenges were mentioned the most. Thus, you will understand what type of content could be more relevant to them.
After, you need to decide how much personas your business will have. Is it possible to gather the information in only one persona? Or would it take the creation of more profiles, maybe two, three, or more?
Regardless of the number of personas, remember that your marketing strategy should include all of them. So, there must be blog posts, ebooks, nurturing flows, among others, for each persona, ok?
3. Build the persona
Now, make all the selected information become a person. Open your text editor and build a profile with name, age, and occupation.
Besides writing down about its day-to-day life, you can even create a quote, relying on the interview, of course, as if the persona itself was telling about its challenges and goals.
Next, arrange the information according to topics such as personal and professional goals, as well as pain points and challenges.
After that, as the grand finale, choose a name and include a photo of a person, because it will help you to see your persona as a real person.
4. Share it with your team
Once the profile is ready, save and share it with your team. All of them should know the persona and give suggestions, which could even lead to some changes if it is necessary.
As you can see, a buyer persona is an essential element in marketing efforts. If you create yours, you will get to know your customer much better, and the marketing team will be able to produce relevant and useful content.
Besides, the sales team will develop a more efficient approach, which will increase its efficiency.
With the proper creation of a persona for your business, your strategy will reach higher levels. To increase these results, even more, read our content with the top Digital Marketing trends for 2020!