What are buyer personas and why are they important?

When generating content it’s always better to have a buyer persona in mind. You need to have a target for your content, whether that’s a tweet, a blog post or an email marketing campaign. Your content should be useful for someone, somewhere and should help them. This why buyer personas are so useful.

Personas are fictional representations of your customers. They have characters based on their online behaviour and past interactions with you, and include ideas about their motivations and problems they face.

Buyer personas ensure the content you have created is aimed at the correct person. By creating these fictional characters your team can ensure that all types of customer has targeted content and campaigns, specific to their needs.

How to create a buyer persona:

1. Look at your target market

First of all, think about your target market. Chances are your personas can be created from your knowledge of your current and past customers. What kind of questions do they usually ask when they approach your business? What solution does your company offer? What kind of person usually buys from you – if your business is B2B, are they a senior manager, or a researcher? If your company is B2C, is your customer knowledgeable about the industry? Have they used a similar product in the past?

2. Think about their demographic

Secondly, think about their demographic. You may be able to use existing data from your clients to support this area of your personas. Consider interviewing existing customers and ask them questions that are not necessarily related to your product or service. You are looking for generic, open answers that include details such as their age, location, and their household income if relevant.

3. Analyse their personality

Thirdly, think more about their personality. Creating a personality for your persona allows you to think of him/her in a more substantial way, instead of thinking of them as imaginary. Name your persona. What are their goals in life? Do they have hobbies? If so, what are they? Do they link to your product or service?

4. What are their challenges?

Now that you know the age, gender, location, role and personality of your persona, you can begin to add information that is relevant to your company. For example, if you are a technology company, what device are they most likely to use? Will a 45 year female use the same smartphone as a 20 year old male? How much time do they spend on social media? How often do they buy new technology products? Answering questions like this will help you target your customers with the correct information, through the right channels, at the right time.

5. Put a face to the name

This may seem strange if you have never built a buyer persona before, but it is well worth doing. Find a picture of the persona and attach it to their description. This will make the persona seem like a real person, and when you focus your content at that person, you will have their face in mind.

Once you have around 4 or 5 personas in place, you can begin writing content aimed directly at those people. Think about what problems each persona may face in their daily work, and write your content as though you are answering their questions, for example ‘What would Bob want to know about this product?’

Additional personas

On top of your ‘everyday’ personas there are two additional personas to bear in mind – even if they don’t purchase anything from you.

These people can help you generate more social shares and email forwards and will help your brand and credibility without even becoming a customer.

Your company’s biggest fan

There are some companies out there that don’t need a massive social media presence – an electrician for example. The electrician’s customer may not be the type of person to jump onto their twitter account and promote their services, but they can still be a big company fan.

Remember to create content for your fans, even if they don’t buy from you. These people can turn other people into happy customers on your behalf, so remember to keep them sweet.

An influencer

An influencer is another example of a person that may not buy from you, but can have a big impact on the success of your brand. There are people in every industry that are known as thought leaders, have a large social media audience and can help to grow your brand. Research your industry influencers, see what kind of content they enjoy and are sharing, and create content that would be suitable for them.

Again, you may never receive direct sales as a result of the influencer’s actions, but it can help with brand visibility and get your name mentioned in the right circles.

How many user personas do you have? Do you find they help when creating content? Let us know below.

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