Buyer personas are fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers. They help you understand your customers (and prospective customers) better, and make it easier for you to tailor content to the specific needs, behaviors, and concerns of different groups.
The strongest buyer personas are based on market research as well as on insights you gather from your actual customer base (through surveys, interviews, etc.). Depending on your business, you could have as few as one or two personas, or as many as 10 or 20. (Note: If you’re new to personas, start small! You can always develop more personas later if needed.)
At the most basic level, personas allow you to personalize or target your marketing for different segments of your audience. For example, instead of sending the same lead nurturing emails to everyone in your database, you can segment by buyer persona and tailor your messaging according to what you know about those different personas.
You can even create negative personas, then you’ll have the added advantage of being able to segment out the “bad apples” from the rest of your contacts, which can help you achieve a lower cost-per-lead and cost-per-customer (and see higher sales productivity).
How Do You Create Buyer Personas?
Buyer personas are created through research, surveys, and interviews of your target audience. That includes a mix of customers, prospects, and those outside of your contact database who might align with your target audience.
Here are some practical methods for gathering the information you need to develop personas:
- Interview customers either in person or over the phone to discover what they like about your product or service.
- Look through your contacts database to uncover trends about how certain leads or customers find and consume your content.
- When creating forms to use on your website, use form fields that capture important persona information. (For example, if all of your personas vary based on company size, ask each lead for information about company size on your forms. You could also gather information on what forms of social media your leads use by asking a question about social media accounts.)
- Take into consideration your sales team’s feedback on the leads they are interacting with most. (What types of sales cycles does your sales team work with? What generalizations can they make about the different types of customers you serve best?)
Here’s an example of what a Buyer Persona looks like.
What is their job and level of seniority?
- Head of Human Resources
- Worked at the same company for 10 years; worked her way up from HR Associate
What is their demographic information?
- Married with 2 children (10 and 8)
- Skews female
- Age 30-45
- Dual HH Income: $140,000
Where do they go for information?
- Probably has an assistant screening calls
- Asks to receive collateral mailed/printed
What do they value most?
- Keep employees happy and turnover low
- Support legal and finance teams
- Getting everything done with a small staff
What are their goals?
- Make it easy to manage all employee data in one place
- Integrate with legal and finance teams' systems
- Rolling out changes to the entire company
What are their most common objections to your product/service?
- "It's been difficult getting company-wide adoption of new technologies in the past."
- "I don't have time to train new employees on a million different databases and platforms."
- "I've had to deal with so many painful integrations with other departments' databases and software."
What are their pain points?
- I'm worried I'll lose data transitioning to a new system.
- I don't want to have to train the entire company on how to use a new system.
- Integrated HR Database Management
What do you help them solve?
- We give you an intuitive database that integrates with your existing software and platforms, and lifetime training to help new employees get up to speed quickly.