Developing Buyer Personas to Fuel Your Inbound Marketing

Posted by Drew Himel

June 5, 2013 at 11:18 AM

buyer personasYou’ve heard this adage before: “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” It applies in life, in business, and most certainly in marketing. This is why it’s crucial for businesses to examine exactly who they are marketing to.

Developing buyer personas can be an intimidating task, so we’ve broken down the process into smaller steps and explained a couple of different approaches. This way, you can swap nothing for something that will help fuel your inbound marketing strategy.

What is a buyer persona?

A buyer persona is a fictional customer that marketers put together that closely resembles a businesses’ ideal customer. The marketing strategy is then pieced together around this persona. With an inbound marketing strategy built around buyer personas, the campaign efforts are more likely to be successful, drawing in more ideal customers.

This makes sense. So how do I craft my buyer personas?

First, remember that it is important to create several different personas. This is because you are likely to have a variety of types of customers and it’s vital that you create facets of your marketing strategy that target each one.

Second, there are a couple of different approaches you can take to creating your buyer personas.

A. Brainstorm your own personas using the following considerations:

  • What is their demographic information? Are they married? What’s their income? Age? You get the idea.
  • What do they do for a living? Consider their job and level of seniority. Do they have decision-making power?
  • Think about their typical day. Where do they spend the most time? What are their hobbies? Where do they shop? When?
  • What problems do they encounter? Think about your personas’ problems and how your company helps or doesn’t help.
  • What are their values and goals? What do they care about? What don’t they care about?
  • How do they get their information? The Internet? In person? The newspaper? Social networks?
  • What kind of experience do they expect when making a purchase?
  • Do they have any hesitancies or objections to buying your product? If you address these now, you can be more prepared to head these off in your marketing strategy.
  • How can you identify them? What characteristics or circumstances will let you know you are talking to the actual person that your persona resembles?

B. Conduct interviews of current and potential customers.

  1. Find both “good” and “bad” customers within your current client base. People love to be heard, and, in fact, this often increases customer loyalty. That said, it’s likely that they’ll be happy to participate without any compensation.
  2. Balance out your interviewees with a few people who have never purchased your product but who still fit within your target persona.
  3. Start with 3-5 interviewees, but you may need more. When you get enough information that you start to predict what the interviewee will say, you can stop.
  4. Topics to ask about in the interview:
    1. their job/company/industry
    2. their goals
    3. their challenges
    4. where they get their information
    5. personal demographics and background
    6. shopping preferences and tendencies
  5.  Follow up your questions with “Why?”

Once you’ve created your personas and developed an inbound marketing strategy that caters directly to these personas, you can help your sales team prepare for talking with these people.

And every so often, it’s crucial that you revisit these fictional personas to keep everything fresh. Are the personas still relevant? Why? Has your customer changed? Has your business changed?

So what’s the point here?

By really digging deep and getting a more personal idea of who your audience is, you can efficiently create marketing content that appeals to and informs your potential buyers. With this approach, your customer--not your brand--comes first.

The end result? Loyal customers.

By Drew Himel

Topics: PCR Agency, Inbound Marketing