What’s a Buyer Persona and why do you need it?
posted July 22nd 2014, 10:51 pm by Scott Hartig
Updated: April 2018
We’ve got a question for you, and we want you to be honest with yourself about the answer. Do you know who your target audience is? Seriously. Do you know who you are trying to reach with your marketing efforts?
If you feel like you kind of know, but it is sometimes difficult to figure out how to market your content to said audience, this post is for you. We want to introduce you to something that is going to clarify your marketing efforts and add simplicity to your day.
You see, all of these questions are asking the same thing: who are you trying to reach? The reason buyer personas are so important is because they help you to flesh out the answer to this extremely important question. Once you know who your buyer personas are, you’ll know who your customers really are -- not who you think that they are. You can have a better handle on their day-to-day life decisions and what they are looking for in an organization. You can better anticipate their thoughts.
So, what's a buyer persona?
Now, let’s make something clear: Buyer personas aren’t target markets, job titles, roles or dependent on specific tools or technology. They’re not based on real people. They are, however characters created from:
- Common behavior patterns
- Combined pain points (both professional and personal)
- Universal goals, wishes, dreams
- General demographic and biographic information
When you create a buyer persona, you are essentially creating a person with a life that falls into the categories set forth by these four items. This is a person that you will consider the needs of every time you create a new marketing campaign.
Example: You are a manufacturing company with a niche of creating metal fences for colleges. You are trying to tap into that market further. To better understand who you are trying to reach, you could create a persona. When developing your persona, you are going to need to "ask" this character a series of questions that should include:
- What is your job role/role in life? Your title?
- How would a typical day look for you?
- What is the size of your company/organization (revenue, employees)?
- What are your biggest challenges?
- Which publications or blogs do you read?
- To what associations and social networks do you belong?
- How do you prefer to interact with vendors? (email, phone, in person)
- Do you use the Internet to research vendors or products?
These questions are a great launching point for figuring out who your brand persona is. But, that isn’t all you need to do to get started. That’s just step number one. Here’s the full list:
How to Build a Buyer Persona
- Identify the questions you want to ask to develop your personas. (Done! Well, we got you started, but you can always add and subtract to that list!)
- Determine how you’re going to research your personas—how you’re going to get your questions from Step 1 answered.
- Compile the research and the answers you’ve uncovered. Look for the trends and pay special attention to them.
- Edit and adjust your persona as your company grows and changes.
Knowing your personas will help you to identify where your ideal customers (qualified leads) are spending time on the Internet. Once you know that, you’ll be able to situate your brand presence there, too.
Note: You don’t have to have an answer for every question when you’re building your personas. Work with what you have and continue to go from there. Keep tweaking! Your customers are always changing, and your buyer personas should be, too.
Final Thoughts on Buyer Personas
Now, you should have a general idea of at least one of your buyer personas. In case you’ve been wondering, you may only have one buyer persona. You may also have two, three, four, even five. It all depends on what your research tells you. Sometimes you need male and female buying personas. Sometimes you need to cover different age demographics. It all depends on your company.
Let us know if you have questions. We would love to be a resource for you. Good luck!