In every area of marketing, from email marketing to social media marketing and online marketing, we’re seeing an increasing number of digital marketers adopt a persona-based approach to their marketing work. But what is a buyer persona, and how do you create one? In this article, we’ll discuss the ins and outs of crafting buyer personas and how you can use them to develop sales-focused marketing content that connects with your target audiences.
Define Your Buyer Persona
The first step in creating a buyer persona is to define it. A buyer persona is simply a representation of a group of buyers that share similar needs, behaviors, and opinions. When you develop buyer personas, you must do so in conjunction with key performance indicators (KPIs), such as sales, lead generation, and customer satisfaction.
You don’t need detailed knowledge of each buyer’s needs, wants, and behaviors to create them. It’s often useful to create buyer personas without this level of granularity. This ensures that you’re developing a complete picture of your ideal buyer rather than a generalized idea of your average customer. With a little imagination, you can come up with a diverse group of individuals largely representative of your typical customer but will also include a couple of individuals who are more or less like you.
For example, suppose you’re an eCommerce store owner who wants to sell your products to consumers in Brazil, but you’re more used to selling to urban audiences in North America. In that case, you might create a buyer persona for an urban Brazilian woman who typically buys wedding gowns and another for a rural Brazilian man who typically buys electronics and musical equipment. Developing two separate buyer personas allows you to test different approaches to marketing, SEO, and content creation, with the added benefit of having two distinct groups of customers to analyze and understand.
The Importance Of Testing
One of the reasons that marketers have begun testing and prototyping content and campaigns is that they know it’s a pain in the butt to start from scratch every time you want to change something about your campaign. Creating a buyer persona and testing marketing materials with it not only makes life a lot easier but also allows you to track the results of your campaigns and make necessary adjustments as you go along.
If you’ve ever tried to run a marketing campaign with no baseline to judge it against, you’ll know how hard it can be to track the success of your efforts. By using a consistent method for creating buyer personas, you can use them as a benchmark to easily measure the effectiveness of your campaigns and content creations without having to set them up again from scratch. The best part is that since you’ve already defined your ideal buyer, you can use them repeatedly without changing much about the initial characterization.
How To Create A Buyer Persona
Since we just discussed the importance of testing, let’s now dive into creating a buyer persona, beginning with the first step, deciding which approach you’ll take. There are three basic methods that you can use to create a buyer persona.
The First Method
The first method, which we’ll discuss in more detail below, is called “top-down” or “vertical” marketing. In this method, you start from the highest level of the organization and work your way down, defining the needs of the top management team (TMT), then moving to the next level, etc. A top-down approach to marketing means that you’re starting from the inside, seeking feedback and input from the very individuals who will be using the products or services you promote to create the desired experience for these end users.
The top management team establishes the vision and values of the company and then takes this knowledge to the rest of the organization. As a result, marketing leaders and managers can use these insights to guide their efforts and create more effective campaigns.
The downside to a top-down approach is that it can be time-consuming and requires a lot of trusts. If you decide to pursue this route, make sure that you work with a trusted marketing partner with the expertise and experience to help you develop a clear picture of your target audience and who can also vouch for the authenticity of these personas.
The Second Method
The second method, which we’ll discuss in more detail below, is called “horizontal” or “side-by-side” marketing. In this method, you start from the lowest level of the organization and work your way up, defining the needs of the front-line employees (FTEs), seeking feedback and input from the very individuals who will be using the products or services you promote, to create the desired experience for these end users.
A horizontal approach to marketing means starting from the outside, seeking feedback and input from different groups of people to create the best possible understanding of your target audience. One of the best examples of a brand taking a horizontal approach to marketing is Zappos, which uses this method to gain customer trust and loyalty.
By starting from the outside and working your way in, you can better understand your target audience’s needs and the factors influencing their decision-making process. However, a downside to a horizontal approach is that it can be time-consuming and requires a lot of trusts. If you decide to pursue this method, make sure that you work with a trusted marketing partner with the expertise and experience to help you develop a clear picture of your target audience and who can also vouch for the authenticity of these personas.
The Third Method
The third method, which we’ll discuss in more detail below, is called “reinforced” or “matrix” marketing. In this method, you start from the highest level of the organization and work your way down, defining the needs of the top management team and then moving to the next level, etc.
A reinforced approach to marketing means starting with a broad framework and then adding smaller details to create a very specific and personalized experience for your target audience.
A reinforced approach can be a good middle ground between the other two methods. It starts with a broad stroke and then builds upon itself, creating a much more in-depth and sophisticated understanding of your target audience. Another advantage of a reinforced approach is that you can test various ideas and approaches without committing to one method.
To create a buyer persona using the reinforced method, begin by defining the framework you’ll use to characterize your target audience. You’ll want to consider not only your knowledge of the industry and specific products or services but also the diversity of these considerations.
For example, if you’re a fashion brand, you might create a buyer persona for a 20-something, an urban female audience interested in stylish and trendy wear. To form a matrix, you’ll want to add additional attributes, such as age, gender, and lifestyle. From this point, you can start testing marketing material and approaches while keeping the initial framework intact.
Deciding which approach to follow for your marketing team isn’t as easy as it seems. Sometimes, it just comes down to following your intuition and experience. However, if you’re seeking further guidance, here are some general guidelines that can help point you in the right direction.
If you’re just starting, it’s best to start small and work your way up.
If you decide to go with a top-down marketing approach, seek feedback and input from the top management team, as this will guide your efforts and set the vision and direction of your brand. If you’re going the horizontal route, seek feedback and input from the front-line employees, as this will guide your efforts and set the tone and culture of your brand. If you decide to go with a reinforced approach, seek feedback and input from the top management team, as this will guide your efforts and set the vision and direction of your brand.
Raise These Questions When Creating Buyer Personas
When creating the buyer persona, you should ask yourself questions about the following:
Their current behavior
You can start by asking questions about the persona you are creating. To create a customer service persona, you can ask yourself questions about the customers you have interacted with and their responses to your interaction. This simple exercise will help you determine what kind of person you are trying to create. The more you know about your target audience, the better you can tailor your offering to meet their needs.
The decision-makers for this persona
You can also use this persona to identify the key decision-makers for your product or service. You will need these people to sell your product or provide service. It is usually a mix of people and organizations in a position to make the purchase decision. You can ask yourself questions about who the decision-makers are and what they want or need.
The behaviors you want to see
This part of the buyer’s persona creation can be the most challenging. You don’t know what behaviors you will need from the person you are creating, so it is hard to write an effective behavioral script. Start by brainstorming behaviors you want to see from the person you are creating. It can be helpful to write these down on paper before discussing them. This will help you see the big picture and ensure everyone is on the same page. It is also a good idea to get other team members, such as product designers or marketing specialists, to help with this exercise. They can bring their expertise to help you define the perfect buyer persona.
The environment in which they will use your product/service
If you are creating a product or service for sale in the marketplace, you will need to consider the environment in which it will be used. Think about:
- The physical environment (will they use it in the office, on the go, or at home?)
- The social environment (for personal or business use? Will they interact with others?)
- The technical environment (do they have specific hardware or software requirements?)
- The economic environment (is this a luxury item for them, or a necessary one?)
- The political environment (are there regulations or guidelines that affect them as a buyer?)
You can ask questions about these areas to help determine the perfect buyer persona. Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to creating buyer personas, so you must tailor it to the specific situation.
Additional Ideas To Help You Generate Ideas
If you are looking for inspiration, you can brainstorm with other people. Share your thoughts with a team member with expertise in this area, and see what ideas they can come up with. Or, you can participate in a webinar and ask the experts for help. There are various ways to get additional ideas and support for the buyer’s persona creation process.
The End Goal
Now that you have a clear idea of the behaviors you want to see from the person you are creating, it’s time to set a clear goal for this exercise. This is where you define what you hope to see from the person you are creating. Be specific and measurable, and set a goal for yourself. For example, if you are creating a brand ambassador to promote your product, then you can set a goal of getting five new leads per week via cold emailing. Think about what you will measure, and track your progress regularly.
How will you know if you’ve succeeded?
The end goal might not be entirely clear, so it’s time to set some intermediate goals. You can set intermediate goals, such as getting feedback from 5 new prospects per week or increasing conversion rates by 10%. These are all measurable goals and will help determine if you are on the right track. If you stay focused and establish a clear foundation with the above guidelines, you can create a buyer persona that meets your needs.