Marketing is an area of your business where success depends on meticulous research and planning. When drafting your marketing strategy, you should be able to visualise who is buying your product or service. These are your “buyer personas” – a validated segmentation of your current or intended customer base. Each buyer persona represents a different but ideal customer who you can categorise based on their demographic and psychographic tendencies.
Marketers typically name each profile (e.g. Tom, Simon and Alice) to create a figurative person and background to the personas so you can serve them better. For example, Alice might be a university student in her early 20s whereas Tom is a father of two children earning $80,000 per year. You can see how your marketing message to Alice will be different to Tom.
Below, we provide a blueprint for building out buyer personas so you can create a marketing strategy that can drive return on your investment.
Why are Buyer Personas Important?
Buyer personas are important for two key reasons:
- Allowing you to deliver ultra-targeted messages; and
- Allowing you to leverage tools to target your customers.
Delivering Ultra-Targeted Messages
In an increasingly crowded online space, untargeted messages are more likely to get lost amongst the noise. Buyer personas can assist marketers to target their communications by:
- Determining what sort of content you need to deliver your message;
- Setting the tone and style of your messages;
- Focusing on a delivery strategy that your intended buyer persona would consume;
- Understanding the topics your personas like to engage in; and
- Discovering the places where your personas like to digest content.
Ultimately, it allows you to craft messages which target your customer’s pain points. In doing so, you can offer solutions and increase the chances of getting your desired action.
Leveraging Tools to Target Your Customers
There are also many tools which use buyer personas to create mass campaigns and reach audiences. For example, Facebook’s paid advertising platform has advanced targeting options which allow you to hit specific audiences with your ads. You can segment audiences by the following:
- Relationship status
- Education; and
- Job titles
You will need to understand your buyer personas to harness these tools effectively.
What Information Do You Need To Create Your Buyer Persona?
There are several ways to create buyer personas. However, the result is the same – you should have a clear picture of who your customers are, what they like and dislike, and a clear marketing message for each profile. Broadly speaking, you can divide the information you have collected into demographic and psychographic traits.
Some demographic information you might seek to obtain include:
- Age: What is the age range of your persona? (e.g. 20-25)
- Location: Where does your buyer persona live?
- Gender: Is your buyer persona male, female or other?
- Salary: What is the salary bracket of your persona? (e.g. $50,000-60,000)
- Education: What is the highest level of education your persona has completed?
- Job Title: Which industry does your persona work in and what is their position in this industry?
- Relationship status: Is your buyer persona single, married, in a de facto relationship, divorced?
- Language: What languages does your buyer persona speak?
Some further information you can collect as part of your psychographic analysis includes:
- Motivations: What motivates your persona to make purchases?
- Concerns (pain points): What concerns does your persona have about making purchases?
- Content preferences: What content does your persona like to receive? From where? What format?
- Research: Where does your consumer like to do their research?
Using this information, you can paint a picture of your customer base.
How Do You Collect The Information?
You will first need to gather information at the macro level to narrow the total market into a manageable chunk. Imagine you sell baby formula. At the outset, there will be two easily identifiable customers:
- Wholesale customers who purchase your baby formula in bulk for resale; and
- End consumers (presumably parents) who purchase low quantities.
You can further divide these customers again:
- Online retailers; and
- Bricks and mortar retailers.
You can also split the end consumers into:
- Mums; and
These four subgroups still don’t tell us much about our customer. Remember, we want to know their likes and dislikes to craft a targeted marketing message. We need a more detailed analysis to segment these groups further. Some practical methods for doing this include:
- Surveys and interviews;
- Analytics research;
- Social media research;
- Customer relationship management (CRM) research;
- Team involvement; and
- Progressive profiling
Surveys and Interviews
Where possible, you’ll want to create a profile around customers who have already purchased from your business. So, understanding their motives and concerns will be crucial if you want to communicate better with similar people.
Surveys and interviews, in person or over the phone, will be one of the best methods to gather deep insights about your customers. Customers want businesses to hear what they are saying about their products and services. Taking time to listen shows not only that you appreciate them but is a valuable form of feedback that you can action.
If you own a website, you can conduct thorough demographic analysis using the analytics tools that you or your webmaster have established. Google Analytics provides an in-depth Audience Report which includes information such as:
- Interests; and
Social Media Research
Similarly, many social media tools allow you to conduct the demographic analysis. If you own a Facebook page, you can use the Facebook Insights tab to find information like:
- Age bracket
- Location by city and country; and
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Research
If you have been collecting information about your customers, your CRM tool is also a great point of demographic research. You can uncover trends and patterns about how customers have interacted with your business.
Getting your team together is also a powerful method of generating insights about your personas. Your aim should be to bring together the many functions of your business – marketing, sales, business development, customer service – to provide feedback and paint a picture about your personas. Any team member that has had interaction with customers should be part of this process.
Just like you were a different person when you were a child compared to a teenager, your customers will also change. Progressive profiling is a method of continuous data collection that you can use to update your buyer personas. You can gradually collect this new information through forms on your website in return for valuable pieces of content.
How Do You Use Buyer Personas in Your Marketing Efforts?
After you have collated all this information, you should have a very clear understanding of what pain points your personas have. To deliver a compelling message, prepare an elevator pitch which focusses on these concerns. What is your value proposition? How can your product or service alleviate their problems?
You can use this pitch to deliver your ultra-targeted messages. For example, we might give a discount off our baby formula to Alice who is a price conscious university student purchasing on behalf of her baby brother. Conversely, we might offer Tom some baby formula from our premium range.
Simon, Alice and Tom live in a crowded online space. They are inundated with messages from all over the internet, and many of these get lost in delivery. Understanding what drives your customers to make purchasing decisions is important. To best reach your customers, undertake research and gather information from a variety of sources to paint a comprehensive picture of your buyer personas.
Although there are multiple ways of gathering this information, the final result should be clear. You should arrive at a point where you can craft a targeted and compelling message which touches on their pain points. This pitch is what should set the tone, style and delivery of your marketing strategy, and help you deliver optimal results.
How are you using buyer personas in your business? Let us know your thoughts on LegalVision’s Twitter.