written by Derrick English Jr.
Can you really create content and promote your business without knowing exactly who your customers are? Being able to know and understand who buys or will buy your products or services is necessary to help you be more effective and maximize the return on investments (ROI) from your content marketing campaigns.
Your customers have many resources at their disposal before they make a purchase decision. To distinguish yourself and connect with them, it is important to create more personalized communication geared towards them. What is needed to gain a deep understanding of your customers that allows for you to create quality, engaging content that resonates with them? The answer is a buyer persona.
What is a buyer persona?
HubSpot defines buyer personas as “fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers“.
To be successful in your marketing campaigns, you must be able to form a deep understanding of your customers. Majority of small businesses fall short because they feel that since they created a business to solve a problem that was in the market they obviously know what their targeted audience wants.
The problem with that thought is that information about target audiences is insufficient if you don’t have a strategy, because they usually group all demographics into one group. Have you heard the saying “do not put all your eggs into one basket”, because we all live different lifestyles and basing your assumptions on limited information can dilute your brand.
A buyer persona will give you the ability to put yourself into the shoes of your customer so that you can have a better picture of every aspect of their life. Once you have this information on how your customers think and behave – this will allow you to be able to communicate with them more effectively.
How to create a buyer persona?
There are plenty of resources in the market to help you succeed in this task. It is always good to start off by using research from Google Analytics’ Audience Report, other insights and a competitor analysis to pinpoint who may fit in your targeted audience. Next speak with your existing customers and prospects, both good and bad ones, to get it right the first time.
Depending on your business, there are plenty of elements and questions that you may consider, but to start of, your small business should focus on these main questions:
- Job title and industry – What field of work and job title does your persona has?
- Education – What level of education is your persona?
- Location – Where does your persona live and is it city or suburb?
- Age – How old is your persona?
- Gender – What is their gender?
- Interests – What are their interests (leisure pursuits)?
- Relationship status – What is their relationship status and do they have a family?
- Income level – What is the income range for your persona?
- Language – What languages does your persona speak?
- Goals and objective – What is the reasons why they need your product?
- Challenges – What concerns does your persona have about buying your product?
- Quote – What matters most to them?
Make sure to use open-ended questions and follow them up with “why?” to truly understand (the people who you interview or survey) their goals, behaviors and challenges. Open-ended questions will provide better access to a person’s true feelings which is deep understanding information that you cannot get anywhere else.
We recommend 5-7 interviews for your small business, but the more the merrier. Once you are done with the interviews and used the aggregated data to create your persona – make sure to give your persona a name and image to make your fictitious character feel real.
How to use a buyer persona?
Now that you have created an example profile of your buyer, you should have plenty of ammunition (information) to market to the right customers for the greatest level of success.
Many successful brands like Apple, HubSpot, Seventeen Magazine, and P&G use buyer personas to create amazing engagement with their customers.
For example: looking at the profile above, we know that the more miles Kyle can get per gallon of fuel, being able to speak on his phone hands-free, durability and extra space must be a part of the marketing content. We also know that it is better to reach him online at car review sites such as Edmunds.com and offline using print articles at recreational places.
It is important to be where your persona hangs out at so that you can start and participate in conversations to build your relationship with them and update your persona when needed. This can be on social channels such as Facebook, LinkedIn, business network groups, the gym, coffee shops, etc.
Remember that customers usually go through three stages of the buyer’s journey before making a purchase decision. The information from a buyer persona will help you to create appropriate content needed to fulfill their needs and desires at each stage.
By knowing how your customers think and behave, it will allow you to be able to communicate with them effectively which will help you to accelerate your growth. Having expectations that you will create great content without knowing who you are writing for will not appeal to your customers. But rather using a buyer persona to create marketing strategies based around your ideal customer will deliver strong results.
A buyer persona is the special ingredient needed to deeply connect with your customers to build engagement, trust and loyalty. Let us know the outcomes of your marketing communication after using a buyer persona!