October 10, 2013 at 11:45 am

Buyer Persona: The Main Character in your Marketing Story

Buyer Persona: The Main Character in your Marketing Story

buyer personaWhen I first entered the world of inbound marketing I completely overlooked the power of buyer personas. I figured surely my clients and especially my own business knew who they were selling to. We don’t need a long drawn out process to determine a ‘persona’ for an effective marketing strategy, right? Wrong. Oh so very wrong. Creating a buyer persona is like creating a character for the story of your business. If you were to write the story of your business, it would be a powerful page-turner of a customer with a need or want and your business would sweep in to save the day. The customer would be the main character and your business the supporting cast. The main character in your business story is your buyer persona.

For those just arriving on the inbound marketing scene, buyer persona is defined as fictional characters created to represent the different customer types within a targeted demographic, attitude and/or behavior set that might use a site, brand or product in a similar way. Simply put, buyer personas are a profile of the ideal customer for a particular business or brand. Buyer personas are imperative to the inbound methodology. They are the cornerstones of the entire marketing strategy. Marketers build their content and the sales team focuses their targeting on the fictional identities of their ideal customer.

To create these personas you will need to pull statistics from your web traffic, compile current customer demographics from your sales team, and do your own research on who wants or needs what your business is offering. Often a business will have several personas. Here at What She Said we have quite a few as our services attract all kinds of different brands and industries. Here are 4 ways you can use the character of your buyer persona and begin your marketing story truly focusing your marketing efforts.

Beyond Demographics
Who is your customer? Where do they live? What is their average age? Male, female? These things are important to research so that you are targeting the right demographics. For clients developing buyer personas, we encourage going a few steps further to determine the buyer’s position in their company and level of seniority. Consider what a day in their life looks like. Are they busy beyond belief? Do they love to play golf? Are they world travelers? Adding a personal touch to your personas make it easier for your employees to contact and understand the buyer. This will make your character come to life because your customers are more than numbers on a page.

Pain Points
What do they struggle with? What are the problems you need to solve for them with good or services? What can you help them solve by directing them to the right resource? These are your characters’ conflicts. Writing this out can really help the marketing and sales team stay on the same page and focus their effort collectively in order to be more effective. Just like in writing a story, your business’ sole focus should be moving the customer towards solving the their problem.  You are their pain point healer, the protagonist of your story.

Values and Goals
What do they value most? Perhaps their focus is quality or superior customer service. What are their goals? The goals of your buyer persona will differ based on their position and duties within their organization, their purpose as a consumer, or their lifestyle habits. What experience are they looking for when seeking your goods or services? Some will desire an in-depth, all encompassing experience; while other will want it to be quick and easy.  Asking your current customers these questions will build a solid foundation for your buyer personas and new marketing campaigns. Your buyer’s goals and values strongly effect how they buy which should affect how you sell.

Objections
What are their most common objections to your product or service? If price is the roadblock for your buyer, you will need focus on showing value. Commitment is another common objection. If this is the case, you can consider offering a free trial or limited money back guarantee to combat this protest. By forming a collection of information into a carefully thought out persona, you will create the perfect solution to the major conflict or objection and any minor obstacles that come along.

Though buyer persona creation can be a little time consuming, the value far outweighs the time spent. As we’ve mentioned before, buyer personas truly are the cornerstones upon which your marketing strategy is built. The better you know your buyer, the stronger your marketing efforts will be. You may meet some opposition within your company regarding research required to construct truly great buyer personas. Stay strong and push through; those same people will be thanking you when your marketing strategy, founded on the personas, start increasing sales and leads. A fully formed buyer persona is a powerful tool in your marketing strategy; with it your business will live on- happily ever after.

Ready to get started? We made up a little worksheet to get your personas underway.  First few pages are general questions addressed in this post then it really drills down and gets specific so you can fully formulate you perfect buyer personas.

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