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Everything you need to know about buyer personas

Posted by Amy Dwyer on 9 August, 2018

Inbound Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Digital Marketing, English

“When you combine the Buyer Profile with Buying Insights, you will have clear guidance for the decisions you need to make to win their business” – Adele Revella

What is a buyer persona?

(Hier finden Sie den Artikel auch auf Deutsch...) 
Personas are fictional characters that describe the various needs, goals, and behavior patterns among your real and potential customers. They help you understand and communicate with your (potential) customers in a more targeted, more efficient and more relevant manner. In a nutshell, a buyer persona is a generalised profile that represents one of your ideal customers or key influencers. And one buyer persona is usually not enough, as the decision making process is influenced by multiple people. You need a buyer persona for each typical type of target audiences your company regularly deals with.

By creating  buyer personas, you'll gain the ability to tailor your marketing efforts and successfully connect with your target audience to meet their needs and solve their problems. After all, if you don't know who you're aiming your efforts at, how are you going to sell your products or services?

Take your buyer persona for a ride – it’s important!

Having a deep understanding of your buyer persona(s) is critical to creating relevant content, efficiently distributing this content, targeted product development, successful sales follow up, and really anything that relates to customer acquisition and retention.

According to the Harvard Business review, the number of people involved in B2B solutions purchases has risen to 6.8. This increasing complexity makes it even more important to really segment who you are talking to and to understand exactly how to meet their requirements. In this blog article, we are going to show you how to create your own buyer personas to grow your audience, effectively boost brand awareness, and drive sales.

At the most basic level, developing personas allows you to create content and messaging that appeals to your target audience. It also enables you to target or personalize your marketing for different segments of your audience. For example, instead of sending the same lead nurturing emails to everyone in your database, you can segment by buyer persona and tailor your messaging according to what you know about those different groups.

Furthermore, when combined with the buyer journey stages (i.e. where the buyer is in the buying cycle), buyer personas also allow you to map out and create highly targeted content. And it does not stop there…. as the saying goes „Content is king, but distribution is queen” – by understanding where your personas can be found and how they consume information, you can ensure that your marketing messages reach them effectively.

Get going with your buyer persona

The good news is, defining a buyer persona isn’t that difficult. It does take time, it takes research, it takes some energy, but it is interesting and it is worth it!

Start by making some qualified assumptions, take advantage of the wealth of information that the internet and social channels offer and then verify this by talking to real contacts. By interviewing your sales team, your colleagues that represent the personas you are defining and some existing customers and contacts, you can then qualify these assumptions and expand the details.

The even better news is, we have put together a list of questions that you can ask that will help you define your buyer persona:

Persona Name & Persona Profile Photo

  • What is your persona’s name? It's very important to give your persona a name, give them a photo… bring them to life and humanize your marketing efforts.

Company

  • In which industry/sector does your company belong to?
  • What is the size of your company in terms of revenue and employees?

Role

  • What is your Job role/title?
  • What skills are required in your job?
  • Who do you report to?
  • Who reports to you?
  • What are you responsible for in your job?
  • What does it mean to you to be successful in your role?
  • Who influences your decision making process?

Goals & challenges

  • What are your main goals?
  • What are your biggest challenges?

Information sources

  • What publications/blogs/websites do you read?
  • How do you learn about the latest trends in your sector?
  • In which social networks are you?
  • What communities are you in?
  • Who do you follow on Twitter?
  • What events do you attend?
  • How do you prefer to interact (email, phone, in person)?

Demographics

  • What is your age?
  • What is your marital status?
  • Do you have children?
  • How much do you earn from your job?
  • Where do you live?
  • What level of education did you complete, which university did you attend, what did you study?
  • What do you like to do in your free time?
  • Do you think in a more operational or strategic manner?

5 steps to keeping your buyer persona alive

Creating a persona is one thing, it takes time and effort, but you have a result at the end of the day; however…. it does not stop there. In order to gain a long term benefit (for both of you), it is vital to keep your personas alive and up-to-date.

  1. Create a persona overview document, containing all of the gathered information.
  2. Structure and format it in a consistent manner, so that everyone in your business can get to know all of your personas.
  3. Inform your colleagues of the background and importance of your personas and request that they help to keep them up to date.
  4. Save them ideally in your CRM and ensure that you allocate a persona to each of your contacts (otherwise how can you segment and reap all those benefits?!)
  5. Review your personas on a regular basis, they will change. The market changes, user behavior changes, your products change, you change.

The more you communicate, the more you can track, analyse and understand user behavior, the better you can understand your personas. As you learn more, go back and continually re-define your buyer personas to ensure you're targeting your potential (and existing) customers most effectively. 

And to round it all off….. 

As mentioned previously, your buyer personas will likely change as you learn new information and have more interaction with this group. From our experience, you will likely to continue to discover entirely new buyer personas the more you look at this topic. This is not a topic that should be solely allocated to marketing, it's success is very dependant on a  close interaction with sales, post-sales and all customer facing members of the company.

With defined buyer personas your marketing stands a much better chance of success. From increased engagement on your social media channels to a greater ROI for your online ads, taking the time upfront to define your buyer personas can help your business succeed. The better you understand your target audience, the better you can serve their needs, which ultimately leads to happy, satisfied customers, and a happy, satisfied you!

To help you to effectively achieve this we have decided to share our persona creation template with you - hope it helps, have fun!

And if you are interested in learning more, also about how to integrate your buyer personas into a successful digital marketing strategy, check out our new workshop offering. 

Jetzt entdecketn: Digital Marketing Workshops

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Credits: Header image by Edu Lauton on Unsplash