Buyer persona, schmuyer persona.
In the grand scheme of things, does it really matter?
Maybe your business is doing OK.
Maybe you’re struggling.
If your revenue is off the charts, I bet you have a fully defined buyer persona.
That’s because a buyer persona will help guide ALL of your marketing and sales efforts, so you’re not shooting in the dark.
What Are You Aiming For?
Imagine it like this:
You’re given a bow and arrow. If you just hit the target, anywhere, you’ll win a million dollars.
You gather your bow and arrow, and walk up to the shooting range.
But there’s no target!
That’s what it’s like to do marketing without a defined buyer persona.
Ok. So I’ve convinced you that you need a buyer persona.
Don’t conjure one up out of thin air, please.
You’ll need some cold, hard facts and information to use to build the persona.
It’s not about your product, your goals, your needs. It’s all about them. What does your buyer persona need? How do they perceive you?
Hard facts and an unbiased approach are the only way to get this done right – which might be why many companies outsource this process.
Here’s how to gather the information you need:
- Know their demographics. You’ll want to learn about your buyer persona’s demographics, like gender, income, level of education, interests, where they live and occupation. But you’re not done yet. Use this information as a springboard to build the rest of your persona.
- Review your database and look through your contacts to discover trends. What are leads and customers doing? How are they consuming your content? How do they find you? Important note: Don’t assume. You need hard, cold facts. Use tools that show exactly how they interact with your content (like Hotjar or Hubspot Contacts), monitor social media, and check your email stats.
- Tweak your website forms to capture information about your buyer persona. For instance, if your audience varies according to the size of the company, you’ll need to gather this information. Be careful not to ask too much though as that could cause your conversion rates to drop. Asking “How would you describe yourself” and then offering a dropdown selection is easy for prospects. However, asking for a phone number or salary could be a tad too much, especially if the lead magnet they’re after is a checklist or simple ebook. Follow the Golden Rule: The amount of information you’re asking for should correspond to the value you’re providing in the lead magnet.
- Get feedback from sales. Your sales team has valuable interaction with leads, so put that information to good use! Interview them and ask about the types of prospects they deal with and who your business best serves. Great questions to ask are: What do our prospects ask the most? What’s their primary goal? How did they get in touch?
- Interview prospects and customers. You can gather some really good data from your customers and prospects. Create a brief list of questions and then give customers – those who’ve had good and bad experiences with your business – a call. Ask them about their problems and challenges, and how your product helped.
- Define the problems. Create a summary or list of the problems that your customers go through. What are their challenges? What results are they pursuing? What qualities do they value?
- Create the profile. Cover aspects like, what their day is like, their objectives, their problems and obstacles, questions they have, their preferences, keywords and phrases they use, and more. Write a story, so it’s easier for everyone to remember. Give your buyer persona a name and a background. Here’s how that could look:
What kind of target is your business shooting at?
Is it broad and general?
Is it specific and focused?
Get your team together and start working on buyer personas. Devote enough time to the project so your team has time to interview customers and gather data. According to our experience, it takes at least 10 hours of devoted teamwork to actually get this done. Plan accordingly.
You probably have more than one buyer persona. But just start with one. The one that will have the most impact on your business – or that primary customer that represents the majority of your audience.
Then, build from there, and work on additional personas.
Be sure to test your marketing efforts and measure results, so you can tweak your buyer persona document as you go. Consider it a fluid document. The data you uncover from marketing should inform the buyer persona, so you can tweak it as time goes on.
One final consideration:
Be sure everyone on your team has the buyer persona and uses it to build social media content, blogs, offers, forms and more.
The perks of developing buyer personas are significant. The information will help your business build stronger marketing messages, reduce wasteful advertising efforts and spending, uncover buyer objections.
Does your business use buyer personas to inform marketing?