So you already know you need a buyer persona, but you’re just not sure where to start? Well, this blog is for you. Lets get about creating your buyer persona!
If you want to learn more about Buyer Personas, how and why we use them, then read this blog post on Buyer Personas: What They Are and Why You Need Them.
To sum it up, a Buyers Persona is a fictional snapshot representing a segment of your audience. This is used for marketing content to the most relevant users at the most appropriate times in their buyer’s journey.
Know your audience – then segment them accordingly
You’re not always going to market to just one type of person, and being able to segment your audience into multiple personas will allow you to effectively tailor your marketing campaigns to reach the right Buyer Persona.
Let’s take John, for example, he owns an IT services company. He is looking to market a new managed services product line. Now, from his past experience, he will either be dealing with the CFOs of medium businesses – or the owners/operators of small businesses.
We can tell that John has 2 very different people he will be dealing with; while a lot of the Buyer Persona elements will be the same for both parties. The motivations for the CFO to make a purchase will likely be different from the ones for a small business owner/operator.
Another example is selling fitness products to both females and males, you would create independent personas for targeting different market shares and hone in on certain segments within that industry. This allows you to, again, tailor your strategy and your marketing to show up for the right person at the right time.
To tailor the marketing for his product to both potential customers, John will need to create an accurate Buyer Persona for each. The Buyer Person should encompass the ideal client’s motivations, behaviours, values, goals, and pain points.
Do your Research – combine all your resources together to build a better persona
There are many ways to do this. First off who do you ask?
- Interview existing customers on the phone or in-person – they use your business for a reason, leverage this and find out why they use you or your product. Make sure they are the clients you want to target, if they are not your ideal client then they are not someone to interview. Call them or setup an online questionnaire, you can use services such as Google Forms, which is a great online utility.
- Speaking to your staff is a great place to gather information. Your sales staff and frontline staff can give great insight into what your potential customers are asking for. This will allow you to flesh-out relevant questions to add to your persona over time.
- You can also do some form of traditional marketing, like focus groups and one on one interviews, if your budget allows.
Secondly – where to gather additional information
- Analytics – Look into your website analytics, look for trends or any indication of who is reacting to what, who is clicking on what. This will give you an insight into visitor demographics, as well as other indicators such as; the keywords that brought visitors to your site, what pages they looked at, and for how long.
- Social Media – Depending on how your business uses Social media, this medium can be a great place to pick up on customer questions, motivations and sometimes pain points with your service and/or products – that will help you ask the right questions.
- Email Marketing – If your business uses Email marketing through iReach, HubSpot or Mail Chimp you can also look at these for analytics to gauge what your clients are reacting to.
- Guessing – Based upon your experience in your industry you can make informed guesses on a lot of details for questions. This step should be left until last, to fill in the blanks and flesh out the final persona. These guesses may potentially have more incorrect information compared to the other sources.
Since your buyer’s personas are a fictitious representation of your ideal customer, the more information you can obtain, will provide a better understanding of your actual customers in the end, and lead to better results.
The Questions – How many questions lead to the perfect persona?
Not as many as you think, some people try and keep it as low as 10 questions, however, I have found that breaking it up into several areas of questions works best. I will usually customize the questions to reflect the business that we are analysing or trying to market to. Also, these questions are suggestions only, some will be very relevant to your persona, some will not be, so pick and choose them based upon the actual relevance.
Naming your Buyers Persona
Give it a good name that you and your marketing staff will refer to it by, it will give the Buyers Persona the feel of an actual person, instead of a marketing persona.
These can be simplistic as “Shane the Salesman” or “Anna the Accountant” or you can get creative, my first one was “Bilbo Baggins the Business Owner” mainly due to the fact I couldn’t think of another name at the time, and I had just watched the Hobbit the night before.
Anyway, Bilbo Baggins is the one persona still talked about in that campaign. The campaign is long over and the personas are no longer being used, however, our team still talks about Bilbo, so use something people will remember, it will help your staff marketing to it!
Job Role Information
- What is your job title?
- What is your job role?
- How long have you been in this role?
- What Skills are required to perform your job?
- What knowledge and/or tools do you use in your job?
- Who reports to you?
- Who do you report to?
- What does a typical work day involve?
- What are you responsible for?
- What does it mean to be successful in your current role?
- What is the type of Industry / Industries your company works in?
- What is your Company Size?
- What is your Company’s Revenue?
Relevant Demographic & Personal Information
- What is your Age?
- What is your marital status?
- Do you have any Children?
- What is your income level?
- What languages can you speak?
- What is your Education Level?
- Which schools did you attend?
- What were your fields of Study?
- Do you require ongoing training for your position?
- Are you Tech-Savvy?
- Do you use a Mobile device or Table to read, play games, research? If so when do you use them? And what type of device?
- Describe your career path, what got you here and where do you want to go?
- Do you live in an urban, suburban or rural environment?
- Describe what you like to do for fun?
- What are some of your hobbies?
- Preferred method of dealing with vendors (e.g. email, phone, in-person)
- Do you use the internet to research products and vendors? If yes, how do you search for them?
- Do you purchase or get purchase ideas off social media? If yes which social media services do you use?
- Please describe one of your most recent purchases. Why did you purchase, what was the evaluation process, and what made you decide on that product or service in question?
- Have you or do you use review websites prior to purchasing? If yes, which ones?
- Are you a member or an industry group or networking group that helps you with products or services in your local area or industry?
- What publications or blogs do you read?
- What associations or social networks do you participate in?
- List the avenues you learn about new information relevant to your job?
- Do you visit websites related to your job or industry, which might help you in your job or purchasing?
Goals & Challengers
- Describe your primary goals in your job role
- Describe any secondary goals in your job role?
- How do you achieve the goals?
- Is there anything that would make achieving these goals easier, if yes please list.
- What is the primary challenge in your role?
- Describe any secondary challenges in your role?
- Describe how you help resolve these challenges.
- Is there anything that would make resolving these challenges easier, if yes please list.
Values and Fears
- What do you value the most when dealing with sales and vendors?
- What are some common sore points or pain points in the sales process?
- What sort of experience are you looking for when it comes to purchasing a new product or service?
Conducting your Surveys & Interviews.
Now it’s time to reach out to all the prequalified sources to gather the information based upon your list of questions. As stated above, I would go to your customers first, make sure they are people that will fit into your buyer’s persona in order to gather the most accurate information. Followed by speaking to your frontline team, sales, and even service orientated employees, to gather additional information.
Depending on the situation, I find I get better information if I walk the person through the questionnaire than if I leave it up to them to complete online. So I would try and get them on the phone, if you have time go through the questionnaire with them. If they’re unable to spend the time now, ask them if you can email a link to the online questionnaire, so they can fill it out when they have time.
If they ask what the point of it is, you can say “you’re a valued customer/client, and its internal research we are conducting to find how we can improve or processes and customer service”.
Doing the Data Dance! or you could also call it Compiling the Data
This is where the magic happens, it’s where we grab all the data we have amassed, from all of our sources. We take the information and put it in the data compiling pot of reduction, boiling it down to a fully sick & working buyer persona, brimming with awesomeness and so realistic it’s almost alive.
Almost… we need to give it a face. . Nooooooo, not that sort of face! A real face, of some random stock art character that reminds you of “Landscaper Larry”.
Adding a picture actually adds a lot to the persona, apart from the Persona Name, the image is the next most important element to get your team remembering whom they’re marketing to. It makes the Buyer’s Persona more real.
A lot of marketers will hang these up in front of their workstation so they can focus on whom they are selling to, try doing that without a photo, people won’t look at it much – if at all.
So let’s bring it all together so you can see what a working Buyer Persona Looks like:
Polly the Practice Manager – with many hats
Administration, banking, cooperate affairs. An overview of the financials, client services, staffing and Managing clients. Marketing and IT. HR- Performance appraisals and marketing.
Annual Billable Targets and Goals are met and exceeded. Our goal is to diversify the business next year into financial planning and finance broking to expand our business
Integration of software in some cases, multiple CRM’s used and need to have more integration between software brands with their client information.
40 – 50
Bachelor of Business Degree & Diploma
Lives in a house on acreage
Polly is in her 40’s and is the General Manager or her own business, for which her husband is the Principle of. They are a financial services business that works in 3 separate fields they’re in. They are Insurance Brokers, Financial Planners and Accountants. They live together on acreage in a mid-range house. She has 3 Children no longer living at home and her annual income is 100k+. Her education is a Bachelor of Business Degree & Diploma of Mortgage Broking.
Polly usually relaxes by reading books, playing games on her iPad and gardening. She also likes eating out and catching a show once in a while.
Polly’s day usually consists of managing issues that require urgent attention and ensuring the business has good turnaround time for all the work that comes in. She wears many hats throughout the day. On any day she can deal with Accounts, HR, Performance Appraisals, Administration, Management as well as Business Marketing.
Polly needs to manage 3 separate CRM’s as all sides of the business use different software and have different requirements. Her biggest challenge is the time it will take and integration between these systems. Other issues include time to spend on marketing the business to other businesses, she currently is in charge of her business blog roll, but would like to try and bring in more leads from their online presence.
Polly gets a lot of her information from word of mouth as well as industry sources, such as accounting, financial planning, mortgage broking seminars, emails from industry bodies as well as industry websites and Blogs/ Specialist magazines. Their business uses Facebook so she is on it a lot, this is how she keeps in contact with her family. She is also a member of some local networking B4B groups, she has a LinkedIn profile but isn’t a heavy user of it. Wants to use twitter for her business but not sure how it works?
Polly prefers to communicate via phone, email and face to face. Price is a factor, but Polly is usually more interested in quality of service and attention to detail.
So there you go, that’s a completed and working Buyers Persona, and you can also download our Buyer Persona Template that you can fill out and stick on your wall after you have developed it.
Developing a Buyer Persona and the research that comes along with it can actually transition into other useful metrics you didn’t see at first, which is an awesome thing.
Also if you find that after your research on your persona – it is not your perfect persona, don’t stress! You can also use these personas as “negative personas” or “anti-personas”. This will help you to avoid these types of clients in the future and help you narrow down your lead generation to only those that are qualified leads, which is what we really want