How well do you know your ideal customers?
You won’t be able to position your company to meet the needs of your customers without first understanding who they are. This is the first step in defining your company's market position. How well do you know your target audience and the people that make it up? How well do you know their goals, challenges, and backgrounds? Do you know what they’re most interested in and what pains they have? Who do they answer to and what are their daily life is like? Do you know more personal things like how old they are, where they went to school, where they live and what their family is like?
These questions might sound a bit excessive, but know this…
Creating Great Content through Buyer Personas can help your business results dramatically.
Without knowing things about your ideal customers, it’s extremely difficult to create a strategy to attract, convert and sell to the best opposites for your business. You need to understand as much as you can about your target audience and integrate this knowledge into every aspect of your marketing and your business.
This post is all about what buyer personas (or buyer profiles) are, how you can use them to grow your business, and how to create top notch ideal customer profiles.
What are buyer personas?
Hubspot has a perfect definition of buyer personas:
"Buyer personas are fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers."
They help you understand your ideal customers (and prospective ideal customers) better. They make it easier to create content that resonates on a personal level with the specific behaviors, wants and needs of the different types of people you are looking to attract.
Depending on your business, you could have just one buyer persona or several. Some companies have as many as 20 - 30. Businesses use their buyer personas for everything from developing marketing and advertising campaigns to creating new goods and service offerings.
The best buyer profiles are based on real data as well as insights from your team and existing customers. We’ll get into creating buyer personas shortly.
“Negative” Buyer Personas
Where buyer profiles represent your ideal customers, negative buyer personas represent who you DON’T want as a customer. These are people that are not a good fit for your business and you do not want to target.
Here are some reasons for negative buyer personas:
• Insufficient budget
• Too advanced for your offering
• Students who are only performing research
• People engaging in your content for solicitation purposes
• High likelihood of churning or low total value
• Misaligned expectations
Identifying and understanding these people will help you save time and money in the long run. Don’t waste your time marketing or selling to these people.
How to use buyer personas
Your buyer personas allow you to personalize your marketing content for various segments of your audience. Rather than sending generic information to everyone, you’re able to craft messaging based on what your personas are interested in.
Negative personas allow you to eliminate the “bad apples” from your contact database, leading to reduced customer acquisition costs and cost per lead.
When combined with an analysis of each stage of the buying process (how far along someone is toward purchasing), you’re able to create highly personalized content.
How to create buyer personas
Buyer personas are created through a blend of real data and insight. You’ll need to conduct some research, interviews and surveys to gather the info you need from a blend of existing customers, prospects, and others who might align with your ideal customers.
Tip: Begin with one buyer persona, then build up from there.
Don’t bit off more than you can chew. Too many personas means exponentially more personalization and customization with your marketing. Each persona needs to be well differentiated from any other. Start with your core customer and dig really deep into their nature. Once you start analyzing the data of your first persona, you’ll have a clearer understanding when it’s time to create new personas.
Here are some best practices.
Talk to your existing customers or prospective customers. Find out how they feel about your product or services, and ask lots of questions about their jobs and lives. What tools do they use and who do they answer to? What are their biggest challenges?
Look for Trends
Check out your own marketing data to learn more about how your leads and customers find you and what content they are consuming. Are they finding your organically or through social media? Have they downloaded certain ebooks or watched a particular tutorial video? Which pages are they spending time on?
Talk to your Team
Visit with the people on the front lines. Your sales team will have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to questions, objections and reactions that they’re hearing the field. They may be able to make generalizations about your different buyer personas that will prove helpful.
An Example and Template for Creating Great Content
Now it’s time to create your buyer persona. Here’s our buyer persona template to guide you along.
Buyer Persona Example
Here’s an example of a buyer persona that you can create using our template. Let’s call him “Marketing Manager Mark”
Section 1: “Who”
Here, you’ll fill out some background and demographics for your persona.
Section 2: “What”
This section is about goals and challenges, along with what your business can do to help.
Section 3: “Why”
Here are real quotes from actual customers and prospects, as well as some common objections.
Section 4: “How”
Finally, marketing messaging that you want to use for this particular buyer persona.
Use our template and this example as a guide to creating your own buyer personas. If you need help getting started, we’re glad to share some recommendations.