We are sure you have heard of inbound marketing, a business methodology that aims to engage customers through the creation of valuable content and tailored experiences. Today we will explain a closely related concept that is commonly found in this field: what is a buyer persona.
What is a buyer persona: definition
A buyer persona is a fictitious profile of an imaginary person who meets the characteristics of a specific type of our customers, something like an “ideal customer”.
All companies have more than one buyer persona profile: characters (or “personas”) that function as a conglomerate of attributes that seek to shape what we consider to be ideal customer prototypes, which should be taken into account before launching any marketing campaign.
The buyer persona is created from customer research, reviewing market studies, surveying audience segments that interest us, analyzing their behaviors… and of course from commercial experience.
How to create a buyer persona template
You can make it as nice and graphic as you want, even adding a made-up name to help you use them (like CEO Jane or Student Peter) or a stock photo to give them a more realistic nuance, as you can see in this buyer persona example from Hubspot, one of the leading inbound marketing automation tools, about a marketing professional profile.
The important thing is that each of these profiles be as complete as possible, and provide information regarding the following:
- Demographic data: first and last name, gender, age, city, country.
- Personal data: marital status, annual income, family and whether or not you have children, health status, insurance.
- Professional data: occupation or profession, company, size of company, annual profits, name of position, years of work experience…
- Personal goals: having children, buying an apartment, saving for…
- Professional goals: a promotion, retire in x years…
- Needs: what this buyer persona needs and what would make him/her happiest.
The goals and needs you propose for a buyer persona must be related to the product or service you offer. Other data to include are:
- Key messages: what to say to this person to help him/her achieve his/her goals.
- Purchase objections: reasons, ideas, judgments, objective and subjective aspects that prevent them from buying your products.
- Sales arguments: arguments that refute their objections.
- Communication channels: preferred means of communication, such as e-mail, telephone or personal visits.
Differences between buyer persona and target audience
It is often easy to resort to the company’s definition of its target audience to create buyer persona profiles. This can be helpful, but it can also lead us to focus only on the data we already know.
The main difference is that the target audience brings together general data on the buyer profile without thinking about specific individuals. From a target composed for example of people between 20 and 25 years old, from an urban area and students, we should move on to a much more specific buyer persona in order to be able to talk to them as you. In this case it could be:
“Sarah James, 22 years old, law student, lives in Boston, likes to practice sports and read specialized marketing media, has a fluent use of the Internet and buys online a couple of times a week, especially books and fashion, in eCommerces such as Zalando and Zara”.
Once this buyer persona has been defined, the message to be devised must be completely addressed to him, as if we had known them all his life (because in reality, we must know him very well).
Relationship between buyer persona and buyer’s journey
Correctly defining the buyer persona will allow a deeper understanding of the buyer’s journey of each user. The buyer’s journey mainly goes through three phases: discovery, consideration and decision, and in each one of them he/she performs different actions until the purchase is reached.
If the buyer persona is correctly created, it will be easier to know in advance the journey that this particular user will take, bearing in mind that if he already knows the product, perhaps their route will begin in the consideration step or that if he is a regular online shopper, he will go through the discovery phase in specific environments that are comfortable for them. In fact, it might make sense to create a different buyer persona for each phase of the buyer’s journey.
Why you should define the buyer persona before making an inbound marketing strategy.
- It serves as a clear reference of the profile of the person with whom we are communicating.
- It helps us make decisions and anticipate the responses that our buyer persona would give to certain messages. You put yourself in their shoes and think about how they will react to new products, offers and other marketing actions. By understanding the needs and desires of your buyer personas, you can create content that is more relevant to them.
- It is a way to segment the target audience, our communication will be more personalized and effective. Buyer personas help you segment your market more effectively, focusing on the customers who are most likely to be interested in your product or service.
What questions you should answer to create your buyer persona
As we mentioned earlier, if you have already defined your target audience, there may be some data that you have already answered at a demographic level, such as age, level of education or economic situation. But there is still a lot to be answered. We have to see the buyer persona as a real customer, with his feelings and motivations, so there are some essential questions that will have to be expanded according to the characteristics of the sales sector.
What is the name of my buyer persona
It may seem the least relevant question but it will be with that name that you start to visualize a part of your customers, so it is an important section. For example, if your product is sold only in one part of the country, choose names and surnames specific to that area.
What do you know about their interests
Incorporating tastes and opinions in the file that we make facilitates the knowledge of that person. To extract this data, it is interesting to ask your customers directly in a form, as we explain in the video, or to study some of the customers through the sections they see most on your page or the keywords they use to reach it.
What does them know about your product or services
First of all, defining the buyer persona implies adapting the message and the medium to that particular client, so we will not treat a person who is already immersed in the subject in the same way as an amateur. In these cases we will have to define two different profiles. For the already knowledgeable we can create messages with more detailed information and a more technical language, while the newcomer will need to obtain knowledge from scratch.
What are their buying habits
We will not address in the same way to a user who usually buys online and has no fear of this medium, as to one who is still wary of doing so. For the latter to reach the decision phase, it will be important to show them that the store is trustworthy and that all regulations are complied with. It is important that you imagine their frequency of purchase, their preferred stores, their average purchase ticket…
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