As part one of our Content Marketing Strategy series, we’re discussing one of the most important tools in a content marketer’s pocket: the buyer persona.
A buyer persona is a tool that all reputable content marketers use. It is the driving force behind your campaign, the foundation of all campaign communications, and the reasoning that positions your product and sales efforts. Need I go on?
No? Ok—let’s get started.
This blog will provide an overview of what a buyer persona is and how to create one of your own.
What is a buyer persona?
The buyer persona can go by many names—like, archetypal customer, target audience, or actual names like “Jenny Maston.”
A buyer persona is not a demographic (not CIOs, CEOs, or HR professionals).
It is also not an industry (not healthcare, manufacturing, or agencies).
A buyer persona takes those things as starting points and then builds on them. It makes the roles, responsibilities, challenges, and habits of the individual people that make up your target audience as clear as a picture.
As a quick example:
Our buyer is an HR Director in the manufacturing industry. To be successful at keeping the company running efficiently with low turnovers, she leverages existing talent within the company and finds promising prospects outside of the company to fill all leadership positions. This is difficult because there is a lack of qualified workers within the manufacturing industry, especially as Baby Boomers are retiring. She uses LinkedIn and Cornerstone to manage existing employees and to recruit potential fits for the company. However, she would like to find a way to be more effective in communicating with these audiences to make her process more efficient and reliable.
As you can see, a buyer persona provides guidance for your campaign messaging by giving a fuller picture of your buyer. This ultimately enables you to position your product/service in a way that is relatable and desirable to them.
How do you decide on your persona?
To write a buyer persona, you must know who you will base it off of. Typically, this is the person or group of people who purchase your product/service.
You may need to write more than one. B2B companies typically have a group of people involved in the buying process. Similarly, B2C companies often want to target more than one type of customer.
How do you write a persona?
As we stated, a buyer persona encompasses the role, responsibilities, challenges, and habits of your target. You can research your ideal consumer through these four categories.
Researching your buyer’s role uncovers more than his role, it also identifies his company and industry. Here are some questions to guide your research:
- What is your target’s role? What’s his title?
- What industry does he work in?
- How big is the company he works for?
- What does a typical day look like?
- What knowledge and tools does he use?
Your buyer’s responsibilities get to what makes him successful at work, which in turn provides you with information on how your company can help him succeed. Questions to consider include:
- What is he responsible for?
- What does success look like in his role?
- In his latest purchase, what was his role in the evaluation process?
By uncovering the challenges he faces day-to-day, you can determine how to position your company and product to be his solution. Consider:
- What is his status quo (re: how does your product/service fit into his role)?
- What are challenges with his status quo?
- What are challenges that he faces day-to-day in his role? In his company? In his industry?
>This portion of research determines how you can reach out to your target. Ask questions like:
- What publications or blogs does he read?
- Does he participate in any social networks?
- How does he prefer to interact with vendors (by email, phone, or in person)?
How to research your buyer persona
These questions may be overwhelming if you haven’t determined how to find the information. One great way to get reliable information is to interview existing customers, prospects, and referrals.
Ideally, you’d have three to five interviews to inform each persona. If there is a particularly poignant quote that somebody says, you can use it verbatim in your persona to inject your target’s actual voice.
You can also use LinkedIn for your existing contacts or customers to see how they’d describe their role, company, industry, and responsibilities. You can also see the groups they’re involved with and the content they like.
In addition to customers and prospects, those who have bought from your competition or stuck with their status quo have valuable information. You can reach out to them to determine why they made their decisions. In these cases, you might want to offer some form of incentive.
Buyer Personas Unlock Consumer Behavior
As you research and develop your buyer personas, keep this question in mind: What is the difference between somebody who sticks with the status quo, and the person who changes behavior to purchase your product/service?
The research that goes into creating your buyer persona can unlock the mystery of your consumers’ behavior. And, using the persona to craft your marketing messaging is the first step to speaking their language, establishing common ground, and starting a mutually beneficial conversation.
Researching and crafting the most effective buyer persona takes time and experience. If you need help creating buyer personas for your marketing efforts, contact NuGrowth Digital.