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Buyer Personas – Creating Your Ideal Customer

Good buyer personas tell human stories of behaviors, situations, thinking, and interactions on the path to accomplishing goals. – Tony Zambito

One of the most surefire ways to create content plans and or promotional campaigns that truly hit home with your audience is by creating a buyer persona. Every inbound marketing resource recommends that you develop buyer personas for your target audience.

So what is a buyer persona?

While the basics of most buyer persona examples will be the same, there are small differences that can make a big impact. A buyer persona is a profile that represents your ideal customer. By creating your own buyer personas, you’ll gain the ability to tailor your marketing efforts and connect with your target audience to meet their needs and solve their problems.

After all, if you don’t know who you’re aiming your efforts at, how are you going to sell your products or services? According to a study from Mark W. Schaefer, three to four buyer personas usually account for over 90% of a company’s sales. Regardless if you’re a business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-customer (B2C) organization, knowing your customer base and having the ability to target them precisely by their day-to-day decisions and buying habits will give you a leg up on competition and better position you to meet the needs of your customer base.

Why are they Important?

It used to be that creating a buyer persona was only practiced by large companies. But now, with the dominating online market, even smaller retailers can take advantage of creating a buyer persona to better target who they want buying their products. As online space becomes more and more muddied, it becomes increasingly important to have precisely targeted ads and communications.

Have you ever found yourself yelling the same statement repeatedly only to find yourself wasting your breath and time because it was all for naught (see-inattentive friend)? It’s incredibly frustrating and time-consuming. Now imagine having to spend money to try and gain their attention only to have it go to waste. Forgetaboutit. In today’s market, that’s the case quite often though. There’s no arguing with the fact that today’s businesses must break through an impressive amount of noise to capture a prospective buyer’s attention.

In fact, some experts estimate that we’re exposed to as many as 4,000-10,000 marketing messages a day, making it harder than ever to get your sales pitch into the eyes and ears of the right people.

Luckily, the tools used to target customers have become democratized to the point that everyone can create campaigns based on never-ending lists of demographics and targeted interests.

Research, Research, Research

Ideally, you already have a slight clue about who is buying from your company or using your company’s services. Capitalism is a cruel mistress and doesn’t have time for the uninformed. In order for your buyer personas to be effective, they need to be detailed. That’s why research is everything. The more research that is done upfront, the more effective you’ll be at creating precision-targeted campaigns that will garner the attention of your customers.

Some research that you can do is to dive through your very own database to discover trends on how your customers consume your stuff. Doing so will provide a general guideline of the problems your existing customers have and what your potential customers could run into. There are multiple tools you can use to figure these trends out, which will help you create a custom campaign to alleviate those needs.

Facebook and Twitter analytics are helpful in showing the topics and demographics that are most relevant to your company. Google Analytics can provide you with detailed information about who visits your website and what terms are being searched. You can use this to customize information – whether you have a blog or something to provide context – to target those searches and provide information that is the most relevant.

Talk to your sales team to see what problems they come across when they’re talking to leads or repeat customers. Doing so will provide even more context in your research as well as open up new doors to more research.

Getting to the Personal Details

Now that you’ve done your persona research, it’s down to defining your customer in a practical sense. Facebook, for instance, has a lot of targeting options you could use to find practical information for your company. Another plus, it’s straight-forward and easy to use. In particular, Facebook Ad’s is a great place to look for customer demographics and interest to define.

Here are some of the big ones to look for when building your persona profile:

  • Location – Where do people from this live?
  • Excluding Location – Where do people from this not live?
  • Age – What is the age range?
  • Gender – What is the gender?
  • Interests – What are the interests of people?
  • Education Level – What is the education level?
  • Job Title – What field of work do your customer work in and what types of job titles do they carry?
  • Income Level – What is the income range?
  • Relationship Status – What is the relationship?
  • Language – What languages do people speak?
  • Favorite Websites – Why type of websites does someone frequent?
  • Buying Motivation – What is this their reasons for buying your product?
  • Buying Concerns – What is their concerns when buying your product?

Remember, it’s not necessary to answer all of these questions for each persona you create. Some of the questions may not even be pertinent to the type of persona you’re looking to create. However, the purpose should always be to understand your customer at a deeper level and be able to communicate with them more effectively – which in turn you will be able to better target them with the ads they’ll interact with.

Humanize Your Information

Utilizing the tools from Facebook, Twitter, Google, and your own databases, it’s time to compile that data and use some educated guesses as to who that person would be. Basically, you’re humanizing your data.

You give the persona a name, a photo of your choosing, what their education level is, relationship status, job title, their interests, buying motivations, buying concerns, and what their gender is. By doing this to multiple personas, you’ll now have a much better idea of who, where, and how you should be creating your marketing campaigns to reach the level of success you want. You’ll be able to target your ads with greater precision and create engaging content that will more likely activate conversion which turns into greater sales and increased revenue.

Your buyer personas will probably change as you gather more and more information and you may even discover that it’s necessary to create an entirely new buyer persona as your company grows altogether.  Because of this growth and continued information gathering, you’ll have to continue to update and modify your personas. Because like ads and campaigns, things that stick around for too long without change become stale.

Power of a Solid Buyer Persona

It’s generally easy to spot a business that understands the value of a solid buyer persona and knows how to use it to their advantage. JetBlue is a good example. Their buyer persona is the budget traveler that seeks a comfortable yet affordable flight. Understanding that its audience is young and like to make the majority of their decisions through social media, JetBlue has crafted its efforts accordingly which have garnered plenty of traction on Twitter.

In fact, a report from TalkWalker saw JetBlue receive 74.1% of its overall social performance from Twitter.

By taking a fun, conversational tone – slogans like ‘Flying like a boss’ – and focusing on responding to followers quickly, the company earned 477,000 followers. Even side handles like @JetBlueCheeps garners great attention and feedback because they know their buyers and target them precisely.

Creating a buyer persona is extremely important for your company to have success with its marketing campaigns. If you have questions, set a free consultation with us.