It is time to stop shooting in the dark by trying to conduct efficient marketing without buyer persona research. There is no chance to establish tight bonds with a target audience and personalize marketing if you do not have a clue about who your customers are.
You might know that there are real people on the other side of marketing. However, have you really realized it? These people have specific needs and desires, which you are obliged to be aware of to intend a marketing shot in the right direction. Do not think of your target audience as something abstract. It’s alive!
In this article, we will discuss why a customer persona is so essential for marketers and entrepreneurs. Get ready to dive deep into the best marketing tips and practices that will help you build a realistic image of your target audience. Here I will consider the following key points such as:
A buyer persona is a sketch of your perfect customer. The primary persona elements usually include demographics, behavioral patterns, interests, goals, and other information that gives you an in-depth understanding of the target audience. It can even describe the buyer’s traits and habits.
A buyer persona contains all the data needed to build successful advertising campaigns, craft the marketing messages that will convert, and customize marketing to the needs and concerns of different targeted groups. A buyer persona will help you humanize a marketing strategy and make a business step closer to success.
A coin has an opposite side – a “negative” buyer persona
Whereas a buyer persona is the generalized image of your buyers, then a “negative” persona means people who seem to be prospective buyers, but actually, are not due to unobvious factors and should be excluded from your targeted list. A “negative” persona includes a set of characteristics that make people who align with almost all perfect customer parameters not interested in your product or services.
For example, your prospective customers are women having kids, however, your product covers only those under 35 years old. In this case, age has become the exclusive factor defining a “negative persona.” Such people can be eventually targeted in the PPC campaigns.
Thus, a “negative” buyer persona research can be particularly helpful in terms of audience restrictions and saving a marketing budget. Create a list of personas according to different parameters that make them irrelevant for your email campaigns or advertising.
By investigating a buyer persona, you can get a better understanding of the goals, motivations, and interests of your target audience. With this data, you can create highly-targeted content and make a brand speak the same language as its audience.
If you did not research a buyer persona, you would never learn that your audience uses slang or emojis, which you can use in marketing to start communicating with customers in their language. It adds a pinch of a specific style to your marketing messages and makes them well-understood by the audience.
You can segment a target audience into more specific groups, create a list of personas, and personalize your marketing for them. For example, you can craft different messages based on what you know about your personas and email them to the segments of your audience.
You can boost the productivity of marketing campaigns by excluding “bad” customers from a targeted list. It helps cut an advertising budget and make email marketing work more efficiently after you segmented your “negative personas” from a contact list.
You can pair a user journey map with a customer persona to define the points of the weakest user resistance. This approach allows you to find out what a person would prefer in a user journey. It will also help you turn a user “who is looking for something” into a user “who is ready to make a purchase.”
Usually, a buyer persona template consists of three parts: personal parameters (such as gender, age, etc.), work-related data (like a job title, company), and a more descriptive part (includes the buyer’s objectives, values, and pain-points).
This is the core information that can be completed with persona elements such as primary sources of information, a description of one day from the persona’s life, etc. This free persona template suggested by Buffer is an excellent example.
Using Google Analytics, Facebook Audience Insights, or any other marketing analytics tools, you can extract valuable information about people who interact with your brand. Try to find the answers to the following questions:
All this data allows you to make the right conclusions on the customer’s lifestyle, values, mentality, mindset, etc. – what is paramount information needed to build a viable marketing strategy. Here you can see one of the persona examples created by HubSpot.
If I asked you who you were, you would answer something like, “I am [name], a [man/woman], [x] years old. I am a [profession].” After two parameters that define us as humans, the next one we would mention was a job title.
We associate ourselves with our job since it occupies a considerable part of life. It has such an immense influence on us that it often re-shapes our personalities, growing the traits of character that help us be successful.
To see an entire picture of your target audience, you must be well-informed about occupations and industries your customers are related to. That is why your customer persona should include answers to these questions:
Here you can find an excellent structure of work-related data presented in a buyer persona example created by Buyer Persona Institute.
With this data in hand, you can target your ad campaigns at the entrepreneurs, for example, who may be interested in the corporate software which you promote. You can also tailor the emails specifically for marketers and entrepreneurs who likely face a problem that your marketing tool can easily solve. The specific work-related information about your customers opens up incredible opportunities for marketing personalization.
Now is time to reveal your inner human-nature researcher. Interview your existing and prospective customers to identify their behavioral drivers, motivations, and life goals. Define your buyers’ values to make content even more persona-specific.
With a whole lot of empathy, you should step into the customer’s shoes and strive to understand the main pain points. It will help you find out how your brand can help prospective buyers reach their goals and overcome the challenges.
Here you can check a free persona template created by HubSpot (again). It is an excellent example of how you can structure the target audience’s goals and pain points.
Discover your target audience by checking your site analytics. There you can see where these people have come from and what keywords they used to find your products or services. This information is especially precious for a customer persona since it shows your customer’s needs and desires that led them to your company’s site.
You can use social networks as a social listening tool. You can ask your followers specific questions, monitor their comments and reactions, and air the problems which your company can solve.
Moreover, social media analytics tools such as Facebook Audience Insights or statistics on Instagram can give you plenty of demographic data, information about the customers’ main interests, and lets you tap into what kind of content evokes the most engagement.
Your customers are the most abundant source of insights. If you can not find whatever you need in the analytics, you can ask your customers directly. Send the questionnaires via email, ask people to specify some information when they subscribe to your newsletter or even conduct real interviews with customers.
Marketers should also tightly collaborate with sales and customer support teams to listen to their insights crystalized during communication with real customers.
If your company has just started entering a market and does not have customers yet, you can interview people who could fit into your customer personas. You can start by interviewing your employees that have some similarities with the targeted persona. Talking to real people who share similar opinions on a product as the independent reviewers may be extremely useful.
Finally, give a name to your customer persona and let your marketing team understand that this a real human with real needs, desires, and goals. We should keep in mind that we create for human-beings, first of all. A more humanized approach is the number one demand for business success today.
In this article, I overviewed buyer persona elements and the best practices to create a list of personas for your business. I hope that these persona examples will be helpful in your research. Apply the presented free persona templates inside and start building a realistic image of your target audience that will help you understand people who you devote your marketing to!