What are, Why Use, and How to Create Buyer Personas

how to buyer personas

While marketers often work to produce content that both differentiates them and describes the benefits of their products and services, they often miss producing content for each type of person that is buying their product or service. For instance, if your prospect is seeking a new hosting service, one persona may be focused on performance while another persona may be focused on the security features. It’s critical that you speak to both – and often requires that you target each with specific advertisements and content.

In short, it’s about reversing your perception. 90% of your visitors are not prospects… so you need to stop making decisions based on everyone that you’re speaking to and begin focusing on the 10% that have potential. Instead of focusing on your brand, products and services to develop a hierarchy of content that positions each, you instead look at your company from the eyes of your buyer and build out content and messaging programs that speak directly to their motivation for becoming a customer of your brand.

What are Buyer Personas?

Buyer personas are fictional identities that represent the types of prospects that your business is speaking to.

What are some Examples of Buyer Personas

A publication like Martech, for example, serves multiple personas:

  • Susan, the Chief Marketing Officer – Sue is the decision-maker when it comes to technology purchases to assist her company’s marketing needs. Sue uses our publication to both discover and research tools.
  • Dan, the Marketing Director – Dan is developing the strategies to best implement tools to assist their marketing and he wants to keep up on the latest and greatest technologies.
  • Sarah, the Small Business Owner – Sarah doesn’t have the monetary resources to hire a marketing department or agency. They are looking for best practices and inexpensive tools to improve their marketing without breaking their budget.
  • Scott, the Marketing Technology Investor – Scott is trying to keep an eye out for the latest trends in the industry that he invests in.
  • Katie, the Marketing Intern – Katie is going to school for Marketing or Public Relations and wants to better understand the industry so she can get a great job when she graduates.
  • Tim, the Marketing Technology Provider – Tim wants to keep an eye out on partner companies that he might integrate with or competing services.

As we write our posts, we’re looking to ensure we’re communicating directly to some of these personas. In the case of this post, it would be Dan, Sarah and Katie that we’re focused on.

These examples, of course, aren’t the detailed versions – they’re just an overview. The actual persona profile can and should go much deeper in insight as to every element of the persona’s profile… industry, motivation, reporting structure, geographic location, gender, salary, education, experience, age, etc. The more refined your persona, the clearer your communication will become in speaking to your prospective buyers.

A Video on Buyer Personas

The folks at Savvy Panda, an inbound marketing agency, put together this great video on developing buyer personas.

Why Use Buyer Personas?

As the infographic below describes, using buyer personas made sites 2 to 5 times more effective by targeting users. Speaking directly to specific audiences in your written content or video works extremely well. You may even wish to add a navigation menu on your site specific to industry or job position personas.

Using buyer personas in your email program increases click-through rates on emails by 14% and conversion rates by 10% – driving 18 times more revenue than broadcast emails.

One of the most important tools a marketer has for creating the types of targeted ads that result in increased sales and conversions – like the kind seen in the case of Skytap – is the buyer persona. To learn more about what buyer personas are and how they can improve your marketing campaign results, check out Single Grain’s newest infographic – Target Acquired: The Science of Building Buyer Personas.

How to Create Buyer Personas

We tend to start with analyzing our current customers and then work our way back to a wider audience. Measuring everyone simply doesn’t make sense… remember most of your audience is never going to purchase from you. Creating personas requires some heavy research on affinity mapping, ethnographic research, focus groups, analytics, surveys, and internal data. Then name your persona, define the goal or call-to-action you wish them to take, gather audience research, analyze and segment the data and construct the profile.

How to Create Buyer Personas

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