Creating buyer personas might seem like a marketing buzz phrase, but they’ve always been around perhaps just in different guises. Often when starting to work on a strategy with a new client I find the best thing to do is to take it back to basics. Who is your ideal customer? Who typically buys from you and what the usual journey is that they take to become a customer. I also explore what the types of customers are that you’d like to reach but you’re struggling to.
It all goes back to that age old adage of getting the right message to the right person at the right time.
Marketing – and indeed advertising – over the years has always been about that. I instinctively operate in that way, but I remind myself that not everyone is wired up as a marketer.
This is where introducing Buyer Personas to a business can turn a business around.
What exactly is a buyer persona?
Buyer personas are a series of snapshots of the people who already buy from you or use your services, or that you hope will do so in the future.
A key aspect to consider is that buyer personas are built up from what you already know about your customers having spent years talking to them and getting to know what makes them tick.
When embarking on a buyer persona exercise you might want to involve different parts of your business. Different team members could bring different view points to the table.
We’ve even gone so far as to interview customers for some clients. That’s been a fascinating exercise and always helps the process to life.
What does a buyer persona include?
The information buyer personas contain will vary from business to business, but they often include topics such as age, income and job role, and the main challenges / pain points they face. The whole story helps you to recognise where your business can step in and make your customer’s life easier. By default you will then create a more persuasive marketing campaign that targets them.
As part of a marketing strategy at MMC, we look at personas for a typical buyer as well as a desired buyer.
- Where do they hang out? – i.e. what is going to be the best method of communicating with them
- What do they read – blogs, magazines, journals (this might help you decide to advertise somewhere you haven’t considered before – be it online or offline)
- What’s their typical demographic – age, status, stage in their career
- Explore their outside interests
- Who they report to
- What’s a typical day like to them even to the point of their typical commute to work
- Typical career path
- How they interact – phone/email/social/messenger/face to face
It might all seem a bit ‘Stalkersville’ but I guarantee that by bringing a persona to life, whoever is writing content for or selling to that demographic, will get a clearer picture in their head of who they are talking to.
To name or not to name?
Here’s where the fun comes in. Do you name your persona? Typically British, many of us squirm at this point in the process, but at MMC, we’ve had clients that have named their buyer personas and you’ll often here their names brought into conversations. They’re like part of the family!
I’ve even seen a fantastic office with a cardboard cut out of their buyer personas – I’ve not gone to that extreme yet…but I’m very tempted!
Essentially, creating buyer personas is all about knowing exactly what makes your target market tick so that you can use this to your advantage when you put your marketing messages together.
What do you do with the data?
Once you have the data, you need to share it with your team. From marketing through to sales and even customer service. We typically then map out content and campaigns that target the buyers. This is typically my favourite part as I get to create campaigns that I know will resonate with the reader.
Once you know all about your target audience and what your business can do to help them, your marketing will generally be a lot stronger. You can then work on winning them over by speaking directly to them by starting on the front foot.
Your sale cycles should decrease.
Your revenue levels increase.
The approach is a lot more effective than using the same generic marketing messages to reach every potential customer – this often won’t resonate with a sizeable chunk of your target audience and means that your marketing is unfocused and ineffective. Creating buyer personas changes that completely and means that your marketing is laser focused on reaching exactly the type of customers that your business wants to attract.
Want help in putting together buyer personas for your business? Get in touch with us on 0192 562 3120 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.