Buyer personas are critical to creating a solid digital marketing strategy. Without personas, creating content is just guess work. Don't just hope for the best, know your customers and what they need by creating personas.
When we talk to customers about personas there are several basic persona questions we are frequently asked. Here are the answers to your questions about buyer personas.
What is a Buyer Persona?
Buyer personas are representations of your ideal customer. They’re fictional characters developed through research that guide your marketing efforts. It helps you identify who your customers are so you can effectively market to them. They are based in research and include common behavior patterns, demographic information, and shared pain points.
Here is an excerpt from one of our personas to give you a real life example:
Technical Tony is 45 years old and has a Bachelors in Information Systems from GVSU and an MBA from University of Michigan. He is married and has 3 kids, and is the Director of IT at his $100 million company. He has a lot of technical knowledge, but most of his time is spent in meetings, managing a team, and working on projects, rather than troubleshooting.
This is not a real, specific customer, but an archtype of our customers based on research.
How Many Should I Have?
Typically, businesses have between 1-5 personas. Personas are based on shared traits and characteristics. If your business sells a product that has many different uses, it's possible that your customers use it to solve different pain points. This might indicate you need multiple personas. Or, say you are a furniture company and you sell both to dealers and directly to customers, these are likely two distinct personas. It depends on your individual business and your ideal customers.
How Do I Research Personas?
It’s helpful to start by brainstorming with your sales team and use this as a guide for further research. Your sales team works with your customers regularly and will have a good idea of distinct commonalities and differences that will help you start to categorize them into groups.
If possible, identify specific customers that fall into the persona groups and ask if they’d be available for a quick interview. In person or over the phone are preferable, but email works as well.
Another option is to use form fields on landing pages to gather information. You can also send out surveys or use social media to research your personas. The most important thing is to do research and not rely on assumptions.
What Questions Do I Need to Ask?
When you’re conducting a persona interview or sending out a survey, you want to find information about your customers job role, company, goals, pain points, and demographics.
Where do they go for information? What social media do they use? What industry do they work for? What is their educational background? What publications and blogs do they read? What responsibilities do they have in their job? What are their biggest challenges and pain points?
How Should I Use Personas?
You should use your personas to guide all of your marketing efforts. Use your personas to do keyword research and SEO optimize your website. Post to the social media channels your personas are using. Write blog posts that are similar to the kind of articles they prefer to read. Knowing what your personas’ challenges are, you can create content that solves these pain points and answers their questions. Knowing your buyer personas will save you time and energy in your marketing because you know who your talking to and how to talk to them.
Do you have any other questions about personas? Let us know in the comments and we’ll try to answer them.
Want to learn more about the questions to ask during personas research? Get a free guide to buyer persona questions.
Photo Credit: Colin Kinner