Every great inbound marketing agency starts their campaign with understanding their customers. The best way to do that is to learn how to create buyer personas. Buyer personas are fictional profiles that describe your ideal customer and they give insight into the lifestyle of your ideal customer. Buyer personas are like a map for your inbound marketing campaign showing you where you can reach people with your message. Creating buyer personas takes time if you’re doing it correctly. Your buyer personas should be based off of real research not assumptions. Many business owners will get a inbound marketing agency to do the research, but you can follow these steps to get started on your own inbound marketing campaign.
Here are 5 steps on how to create buyer personas for your business:
Research is vital to creating your buyer persona. You do not want to base it off assumptions. Personas are the foundation of inbound marketing because every piece of content you create will be targeted to your personas. You want to make sure you get it right. Doing research will help you discover the pain points your ideal customer is dealing with, where they are looking for solutions and how they get their information. That way, when you have a piece of content you know what it should be about, where you should put it and how you should deliver it to them.
After you have done some research, the next step is to interview current and/or past customers to gather more real data. Look for patterns in who they are and what they do. Try Interviewing your employees; after all, they probably interact with your customers as much if not more than you do. Think about what common questions customers are asking. Where do they find you? Where do they get their information? Use this information to start building the story of your persona.
3. Create A Profile
After you have done the research and interview, you can start to create a profile for your buyer persona. Start by choosing a name and an image, then write a 1 sentence summary about who they are. This profile will help you to easily remember the attributes of each persona that you make. Keep this section simple, you will be adding a lot more information in the later steps. A good example for a name would be something like "Small business Sam" to describe an owner of a small business. You can create several different profiles depending on the different types of buyers you want to market to. Having several personas can help you to have content formed directly for certain types of people you market to.
4. Write the Story Of Your Persona
The next step is to write the story of each persona. This is where a lot of the details will go for each profile. This section you will put together a story of all of their behavioral characteristics and motivations. This would include their pain points, their desires, goals, challenges. Pain points are simply when someone has a problem or a need and it is causing them pain. People experiencing pain points are in the awareness stage of the buyer's journey. It is also good to focus on the behaviors of your persona. Find out what motivates them, what roles do they have in life, and where they go to find information. All of these things will help you to understand the lifestyle of the people you are marketing to.
Your Buyer Personas will evolve over time as you learn more about them. Keep them flexible but still based on research. Personas tend to change, and need new things as their journey continues. The more information they get, the more you will need to stay keen to what their needs are throughout the buyer's journey. You don’t want a buyer persona to get to the end of your offerings and not need anything else from you. The goal is to be top of mind for their needs in the industry you serve.
5. Determine Their Demographics
This section is what businesses have traditionally used and is most commonly know as the target market. This information is useful in understanding your personas lifestyle. Find out their age range, income level, education level, gender, and any other info that would be helpful (married, kids, empty nesters, single, etc…). Even though traditional marketing methods don't work any more, this information is still helpful and can be used as a part of your buyer persona.
There is a lot that goes into creating buyer personas for your business. This is just a general outline to get you started on your inbound marketing campaign. Knowing how to create buyer personas is arguably the most important part of any inbound marketing campaign. So take your time and do it right. You will be happy you did.