Over the past couple weeks I’ve talked a lot about why it is important to create content for your user. But, before you even start creating content you need to truly understand who you are creating it for. What us marketing folks tend to do is create something we like to call “buyer personas.” So, what exactly is a buyer persona?
It is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer. They are based on real data and selected educated speculation about a customer’s demographics, behaviour patterns, motivations, and goals. In other words they are your dream customer, and who you want to be creating your content for. They are also extremely beneficial for your business as they help you to create better and more targeted content that will attract the right visitors, leads, and customers to your business.
How to Create Buyer Personas
Now that you know exactly what buyer personas are, let’s get into how to create them. In order to develop your buyer personas you need to do some research first and find out what your audience cares about and what makes them tick.
The best place to start is by interviewing current customers as they have already bought your product and engaged with your company. They know what people are looking for, what challenges they face, and what makes them decide to buy. By interviewing current customers you will obtain a better understanding of who your ideal customers are and what they care about, which will make it easier when it comes to writing targeted content to them.
Other people you may interview include prospects and people outside of your contact database that might align with your target audience. These groups may be harder to book an interview with, but they can provide high-quality information. Providing an incentive can help in booking interviews with people you haven’t established a strong relationship with yet.
Now, how many people do you need to interview? It depends. If you already have a good idea of who your personas are you may only need to do 3-5 interviews. But, if you are a new business, or are just not very familiar with your customers you may need to do around 10-15 interviews. Basically, you will start to notice patterns and once you start predicting what your interviewees are going to say next, you probably have done enough research and are ready to move onto the next step.
Now that you’ve done all you’re research you can identify patterns between the various interviewees and segment them into different groups–your buyer personas. If you are just starting it’s best to create between 2-5 buyer personas and you can always add on from there.
Once you’ve come up with your different buyer personas you can create buyer persona stories, as these will help give you (as well as the rest of your organization), an in-depth understanding of exactly who they are targeting.
5 Chapters to Building Buyer Persona Stories
When developing your buyer persona stories there are five main “chapters” that will help in fully understanding your personas.
1) Job and Demographic Information
Start by defining each of your buyer personas’ job and demographic information. Questions to consider are:
- How old are they?
- Are they male or female?
- Where do they live?
- What company do they work for?
- What is their level of seniority?
This is a great place to begin, because it starts to paint a personal picture of who your personas are.
2) Day-to-Day Life
You understand your persona’s personal characteristics, but a person is more than just their demographics. You might want to think about:
- What does a day in their life look like?
- Are they busy beyond belief?
- Do they love to play golf?
- Are they constantly traveling?
This will help you to fully understand your persona and make them come to life.
Once you’ve defined your persona’s demographics and understand their daily life, you can give them a name and browse some stock images to find a picture that represents them. This helps to create a clear image of the persona in your teams’ minds and really makes the persona come to life.
3) Pain Points and Goals
You’re selling your product or service to help customers solve a problem. Go into detail about how the problem affects their day-to-day life and how it makes them feel.
Once you understand their pain points, you can get a better idea of what their goals are and what they value most. This will help you to target your marketing in a more effective way by showing how your product or service can solve your persona’s problems and achieve their goals.
4) Where do They Go for Information
If you’re planning on marketing and selling to these personas, you need to know how they consume information and where they go to find information. Questions to think about include:
- Do they go online or do they prefer newspapers and magazine?
- If they prefer to go online, are they active on social networks?
- Do they read blogs?
- Who are their most trusted sources; family, friends, industry experts?
If you know where they go for information you can make yourself present and work on establishing yourself as a trusted company in that area.
5) Common Objections
What are the common objections you frequently receive for your products or services? If commitment is a common roadblock, you may find it helpful to offer a free trial or money back guarantee. If you anticipate the objections your personas may have then you can prepare for them and provide a solution that will remove any doubts they have about your products or services.
Creating buyer personas can be time-consuming, but they are an essential part of a successful marketing strategy. The better you understand your personas the easier it will be to create targeted content that will attract the right visitors, leads and customers to your business.
Now that you understand what buyer personas are and how to create them, there is no reason to put it off any longer… I encourage you to start developing your personas today!