Buyer Personas: The Effective Marketer's Secret Weapon

By December 04, 2018 Inbound

Doug FightingA buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.

Creating buyer personas allows you to have a deep understanding of who you are marketing to and what their specific needs are.

Why Are Buyer Personas So Important?

-Using buyer personas in an email campaign improved open rate by 2x and click-through rate by 5x. MLT Creative

-Using marketing personas made websites 2-5 times more effective and easier to use by targeted users. HubSpot

-3 to 4 personas usually account for over 90% of a company’s sales. Business GrowBuyer personas help you understand your current and prospective customers better. This allows you to tailor your content, messaging, product development and services to the specific needs, behaviors and concerns of different groups. Put simply, you may know your target buyers are interested in buying a home, but do you know what their specific needs and interests are?

Trying to attract and sell to millennial, first time homebuyers would require a significantly different strategy than it would to attract and sell to seasoned real estate investors.

In order to get a full understanding of what makes your best customers unique, it is crucial that you develop detail personas for your business.

 

“Ok, personas are really important, but how do I actually make one?”

 

That is the million dollar question. Lucky for you, we are going to answer it for free.

 

How To Create A Buyer Persona:

The strongest buyer personas are based on market research and insights gathered from your customer database. Depending on your business, you may only have one or two personas, or as many as 10 or more.

If you are new to building personas, start small and follow the steps below.

 

Step 1: Carry Out Market Research

The first step to creating buyer personas is often overlooked, especially by established companies. Conducting market research to understand your target market as a whole is critical. Established companies often assume that they have done adequate market research and skip this step. If you are reading this post, chances are you want to improve your marketing success. It starts with market research!

Use tools like Google’s Keyword Tool and Facebook Audience Insights to identify your market as a whole. Doing so will allow you to start finding common groups of buyers. These common groups will become your buyer personas.

 

Step 2: Check Your Website Analytics

The next step is to audit your existing website traffic. For established companies this can be a gold mine of valuable information. Using analytics tools like Google Analytics, you can start to identify specific groups of people that frequent your website.

Pay close attention to the type of content that resonates best with them, how website behaviors differ based on certain needs and much more. As a marketer, data is your friend. Start using your website analytics to better inform your marketing efforts.

 

Step 3: Survey Existing Customers

Does your company already have paying customers? If so, they can act as a massive asset in creating effective buyer personas. Using a tool like Survey Monkey or Google Forms, you can easily ask your customers questions that will directly influence your final personas.

For example, if you are interested in better understanding the gender, location and income of your customers, simply ask them! Your customer may be unwilling to answer a survey for free, so consider offering them something of value in exchange. Understanding your current customers will make it much easier to group them into personas. This is where hypothetical meets real life. While the research you have done to this point is extremely valuable, survey current customers helps you to understand how the data you have collected translates to real people.

 

Step 4: Audit Your Customer Database

While we are on the topic of current customers, let’s discuss your customer database. Hopefully you have been keeping track of important customer information. This can range from name and email to job profession and goals. It is important to include this information in the buyer persona creation process, as it will allow you to create significantly more descriptive personas.

If you don’t currently have a customer database, now is a great time to set one up. Moving forward you can think about the type of information that informs your personas and begin collecting it from customers moving forward.

 

Step 5: Talk To Co-Workers In Each Department

Creating buyer personas is generally a task completed by the marketing department. Great buyer personas however require buy in and input from your entire company. Before you start creating your buyer personas, it is a great idea to meet with at least one person from each department.

Talking to a top-performer in sales for example can uncover valuable information that marketing might not be aware of. The bottom line is this: Your buyer personas will affect the entire company, so it is imperative that you leverage the knowledge of all departments to craft your personas.

 

Step 6: Use A Buyer Persona Template

Now that you are equipped with market research, website data, survey answers from existing customers and data from your customer database, it is time to start creating your personas. As mentioned before, the number of buyer personas you create will vary. It is important to identify distinguishable groups within your audience and create a buyer persona for each. Taking a more specific approach with your personas will allow you to take a more granular, contextual approach to your marketing efforts moving forward.

Instead of starting from scratch with your buyer persona creation, consider using a pre-made buyer persona template. As a HubSpot agency partner, we have access to a ton of amazing resources to help us market our clients more effectively. One of these resources is a persona creator, which you can download below:

HubSpot’s Free Make My Buyer Persona Tool

Using this tool, you will know exactly what information to include in your buyer personas, so we won’t dive into the specifics.

Pro Tip: Make your persona names memorable and descriptive. For example, a real estate agent might create a buyer persona for female retirees that are interested in downsizing and name it “Retirement Rebecca”.

 

Step 7: Optimize Your Personas

Once you create your buyer personas, your work is not done. Personas will evolve and change over time. As you learn more about your ideal customers, don’t forget to go back and continually re-define your buyer personas to ensure you are targeting your potential customers most effectively.

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Final Thoughts

Highly successful marketers have a secret weapon and it is buyer personas. Equipped with data backed personas, marketers and businesses as a whole are able to craft an extremely personal experience for their existing and prospective customers. Following the steps outline above, you will be well on your way to creating buyer personas for your business!

 

Have any questions or tips for better buyer personas? Let us know in the comment section below!

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