What the Heck is a Buyer Persona and Do I Really Need One?
Is your business struggling to determine which leads are the lowest cost-per-conversion and which leads are simply not worth your time due to high churn or low utility? Spending time and resources on leads that will not convert or ultimately cost your business more than it makes will hurt your digital marketing ROI. Buyer personas can help. Establishing buyer personas is key for your business’s ability to successfully segment your target audience and build stronger, more effective marketing campaigns. Finally, when it comes to content creation, buyer personas are better than SEO optimization alone because buyer personas help shape everything from the subject matter to the tone of your content.
Are you new to buyer personas or not sure how to get started building one for your business? Here’s what you need to know:
What is a buyer persona?
A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real marketing data about your existing customers, according to HubSpot. When creating a buyer persona, you’ll want to integrate customer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, goals and more. In general, the more detailed you are when creating a buyer persona, the better. Depending on your business, you could have as few as one or two personas, or as many as 10 or more. If you are just getting started with buyer personas, start by developing just one and add more as your business grows.
Buyer personas are important because they provide structure and insight for your company. Detailed buyer personas will help guide everything from product development to marketing lead generation, creating better alignment across your business. Consequently, your company will be better able to identify, cultivate and convert the best leads.
“Negative” buyer personas are also useful because they help your business determine what type of customer it does NOT want. Negative buyer personas could include, for example, students who only engage with your thought leadership for research/knowledge (and will never become legitimate leads) and customers who are too expensive to acquire due to high chun/low average sales price. By creating positive and negative buyer personas for your company, you’ll be able to not only identify the right leads, but refine your ability to also segment out the “bad apples” from your lead list. This targeting refinement delivers a lower-cost-per-lead and lower cost-per-customer. Finally, by combining your buyer personas with your lead generation/conversion cycle, you will also be able to build a better content marketing program through the creation of highly targeted content.
How do I create a buyer persona?
Creating a buyer persona is important for digital marketing ROI – and getting started doesn’t have to be complicated. Keep these best practices in mind:
- Interview existing customers/clients to discover what they like best about your services.
- Review existing contact database to uncover trends about how customers currently consume your content (e.g., via a weekly email digest, blog posts, social media, etc.)
- Talk to your sales team to find out which leads are the easiest to convert and which take too much time.
- Focus on the key data: background, demographics, goals and challenges to determine how you can help this buyer persona achieve their goals and overcome challenges.
What do I do with my buyer persona?
Congratulations, you’ve created your first buyer persona! The next step is to apply this information to your current marketing messages. Start by doing the following:
- Use the right language. Marketing is all about starting a mutually rewarding conversation with your target customer by talking with them, not at them. To do that, you need to be using the buzzwords, slang and lingo that your buyer personas use.
- Create useful content. Write your blog posts, e-Books and white papers with your specific buyer persona in mind. Edit your existing content for better persona alignment. Finally, if your old content has had zero success generating leads, consider getting rid of it altogether.
Creating buyer personas is key to better digital marketing ROI. Once you’ve created your buyer personas, combine these personas with lifecycle stages to build a comprehensive content strategy that speaks to your customers about their problems.