Does your organization know who its buyers are? Marketing resources can be so easily wasted by not having a clear target audience. To maximize the effectiveness of your organization’s marketing campaigns, you must have a clear understanding of who you’re selling to, what their goals are, and what challenges your organization is helping them overcome.
Establishing a buyer persona is an essential part of inbound marketing. It will be the baseline for your content strategy, paid media strategy, and determines where you focus your time, energy, and resources.
What is a buyer persona?
A buyer persona, according to HubSpot, is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on data and research. They help you focus your time on qualified prospects, guide product development to suit the needs of your target customers, and align all work across your organization (from marketing to sales to service).
Simply put, your buyer persona is who you want to sell to. You must collect demographic information, personal preferences, challenges, goals, and other information that could help you narrow down the focus and direction of your marketing efforts, and use this information to create an ideal buyer that you can talk about in conversation as if they are a real person. That’s exactly what you should do as a team - talk about your persona as if they are real. Discussing your persona as if they are a real person helps your team get into the mindset of your potential customers and treat their challenges with empathy, in order to best connect with them.
Buyer personas are built to help you understand your customers and their needs on a deeper, more focused level. Not everyone is a perfect fit for your product or service, and that’s ok. If you don’t make a conscious effort to focus on those with the right fit, you will struggle to earn conversions and will be wasting resources. By always keeping your persona front of mind, you will be able to focus your resources on those who have a valuable use for your product and will help grow your business.
How do you create your buyer persona?
To create your buyer persona, you will want input from many different perspectives throughout the company. If you are only gaining perspective from one department, like marketing, you may be missing out on the full picture of your buyer. Each department has different interactions with your customers and can offer a different perspective. Your service team may know the pain points that your buyer experiences, while your sales team may know what types of customers are easiest to work with and will be most receptive to your product. If you are only utilizing one perspective when building out your persona, you will almost certainly be lacking.
To start crafting your persona, you first have to decide what information your persona should include. Start by asking:
Your ideal customer should be defined by the solution your organization is providing. Do some research to identify deeper characteristics of your buyer. Some information that could be worth developing for your buyer persona includes but is not limited to; age, location, education, career, income, social channels, news sources, habits, personality traits, goals, challenges, and any other information you think could be relevant for your persona. Using the name you gave your persona it may be a good idea to include some alliteration and this will often include a detail about the persona that you want to keep front of mind. For example, “Teacher Terry” or “Annie Accountant”. It is valuable to create a memorable and relevant name that way your team can easily refer to and recall your persona.
How do you utilize a buyer persona?
For every client your organization undertakes, you should be asking, “How is this project going to help us reach Annie Accountant?” Your persona should be the guidelines for all customer-facing teams. Utilizing the persona is an essential part of all decision-making processes in inbound marketing.
Your persona doesn’t just serve to assist the marketing team, it is a great tool to align your company across all roles. Your marketing team should be targeting ads and content to the same target audience your sales team is working with. Your service team should know the challenges faced by that same persona in order to best serve their needs. Alignment across your organization keeps it working as a team, operating smoothly, and working towards the same goal.
It’s important to remember that your persona is never finalized. As you progress as a business and gain more information about your customers. Use this new knowledge to update and perfect your persona. Needs, challenges, and goals will change over time. Ensuring it is still hitting the target for your persona is essential. Your organization will always need to be working to improve in order to maximize your company's efforts.