Now’s the Time to Start Using Buyer Personas
Extensive recent research has shown just how much buyer personas can help to improve your marketing. In a study conducted by ITSMA, an organization for B2B marketers, buyers are 48% more likely to consider businesses that personalize marketing to address their specific issues.
What is a Buyer Persona?
A buyer persona is a profile of your ideal customer. It is based on what you can learn through market research and what you already know about your current customers. Personas consist of audience demographic information, insights into decision-making, behaviors, goals, and motivations.
Buyer personas are valuable because they inform and provide guidance when making decisions about product development, marketing, sales strategies, and customer service. Targeting the right audience with relevant content and appropriate tactics will help you get more website traffic, leads, and customers. According to a Cintell study, a customer intelligence firm, 71% of companies that exceed lead generation and revenue goals have documented buyer personas.
One way to bring depth to data is by using the “day in his/her life” method. You can approach this as an internal exercise, where you and your team use knowledge and imagination to construct an average day for a type of buyer. You can also interview real customers and consolidate information.
When building a persona using the “day in the life” method, humanize your target. Focus on aspects of his or her personality and the activities that influence choices. What does your persona see, think, feel, and do?
The important thing to understand about buyer personas is that they’re supposed to represent segments of your audience, not your entire audience as a whole. Even smaller businesses can have several unique groups of people they are targeting as potential customers.
The more accurate and detailed your buyer personas are, the more valuable they will be. The right approach is to gather information from a variety of sources to build your profile. The best place to start is with your current customers. Think about who your best customers are. They’re the ones who are most loyal and spend the most money with your business.
Then ask yourself:
- What characteristics do our best customers have in common? (For example, they could have a similar background, live in a similar area, or share other qualities.)
- What are their pain points? (What problems do they have that your product/service solves?)
- What benefits do your best customers receive by choosing your company? (In other words, why are they loyal?)
Even if you have a good idea of who your best customers are and why they choose to purchase, it won’t be the whole picture. Use a survey to collect information directly from customers. Encourage quick responses by offering an incentive for filling out the survey. In the B2C world, that could be a discount on their next purchase. Gift cards are common incentives to encourage B2B customers to participate.
Here are some examples of the types of questions you can include in your survey:
- What’s the most valuable thing about our product/service for you?
- Why do you choose us over competitors?
- What prompted you to look for a solution like ours?
Once you have a good understanding of who your target audience is, their pain points and interests, you can target them with relevant marketing across three stages of the buyer’s journey: awareness, consideration, and decision.
At the awareness stage, your target persona has a problem that your product or service can help fix. But they might not know about your business or any other solutions like yours that can help them. They’re at the research stage, trying to understand their problem and ways to fix it. Your campaign content should be educational to attract new traffic to your business.
During the consideration stage, your target persona knows what their problem/need is and are now wondering what to do about it. They are trying to decide if they should invest in your product or service to solve their problem or pursue an alternative solution.
When the buyer reaches the decision stage, your audience is aware of their options, including your products/services. It’s time to actively encourage them to convert by illustrating your solution’s value and how it compares to competitor options.
Investing time to develop personas helps you construct better campaigns to convert leads into buyers by highlighting aspects of the buyer’s life that impact purchase decisions.
Using personas helps you develop campaigns and content that resonates with buyers. If you think your company would benefit from developing personas, schedule 60 minutes in the coming week to work on the concept. Brainstorm to come up with different personas and select one. Give your buyer a name and bullet out their “day-in-the-life” story. Search online to find a persona template and fill it out without worrying about missing information.
Feel good about what you created because your persona doesn’t have to be perfect to be powerful. In an hour, you fleshed out your assumptions and turned data into insight. You also took an important step to help your company grow revenues – which is the ultimate goal for every enterprise.