Who are you selling to? How to Use Buyer Personas to Focus Your Business
What is a Buyer Persona?
Buyer personas (often referred to as marketing personas) are detailed profiles that represent your ideal customer. These personas will help you attract the targeted customer and get a deeper understanding of who they really are and what makes them tick. Having a deep understanding of your target audience is crucial to your content creation, product development, and sales follow-up.
Why Buyer Personas Matter
An audience persona is much more than a foundation for target marketing. It helps you to better understand your customers’ needs and how your service can be a solution. Once you know who your ideal customer is, you can tailor your marketing message to reach out and connect with them easily. But besides reaching out to your target audience, what will a buyer persona do for your company?
People tend to drift toward the businesses they know and trust. And the best way for you to build that trust is to show an understanding for your customer’s need and a desire to help. Once you have gained their trust, it’s all about delivering on your promise – if your product doesn’t coordinate with your sales message, customers won’t buy from you.
By creating buyer personas and using them as a guide, you can keep your business in alignment with the needs of your customers. And by coordinating with their needs, you’ll become the solution they’ve always needed.
What About “Negative” Personas? Are They Important?
While it’s important to know who you are targeting, it’s equally important to know who you don’t want to target. This is what we like to call creating a “negative” persona. Negative personas (sometimes referred to as exclusionary personas) allow you to better understand who the customers are that do not fit your product or service.
“Positive” buyer personas give marketers an idea of who their target customer is, while “negative” buyer personas give you an idea of who you should steer clear of. By identifying the traits of those you do not want as customers, you can better identify those that might not be a good fit early on. In conclusion, well-constructed “negative” buyer personas can help you tweak your messages and strategies even further, allowing you to complete a well-though-out “positive” buyer persona.
Creating a Detailed Buyer Persona for Your Business
A great way to start creating a detailed buyer persona is by conducting interviews. But there are a few steps to be taken before the initial interviews. To start, how will you find the interviewees?
Start with your existing customer base; they have already purchased from you and interacted with your company. Reach out to both the “good” and “bad” customers. As good as it may feel, you don’t want to speak only with customers who love your product and will spend the interview boasting about your company. Interviewing customers who were not satisfied will allow you to learn new things about the product itself and better understand the challenges your customers are faced with.
Customers like to be heard by companies, and by interviewing them, you’re giving them the opportunity to voice their opinion. And believe it or not, they also like to have an impact on the products they use, so by getting them involved, they will become an even more loyal customer.
Be sure to balance your interviews with people who do not know much about your company or who have not purchased your product. By using knowledge you already have about your ideal target customer, you can figure out who else might fit into your persona.
If you’re reaching out to a new market or do not have current leads or customers, you should rely on referrals. Reach out to your co-workers, existing customers, and social media contacts to find people you would like to be introduced to and interview. Anything you can do to generate word-of-mouth referrals is time well-spent.
If you would like to get a better response rate while trying to reach potential interviewees, here are a few tips to consider:
- Use incentives – Incentives give people a good reason to take part in an interview especially if they have no relation to you or your business.
- It is NOT a sales call – Be sure that the non-customer understands it is not a sales call, it is strictly for research purposes.
- Make it easy for them to say yes – Take care of everything for them but give them options. Suggest flexible times for the interview, allow them to choose their ideal time frame; send them an invitation as a reminder to block that time off for the interview.
Questions to Ask During Persona Interviews
When it comes time to conduct the interviews, questions are always a good place to start. In order to create a detailed profile, there are several categories of different questions to ask the interviewees. The following questions have been organized into said categories, but you can customize the list according to your target customers.
- What is your job role? Your title?
- What is a typical day like for you?
- What skills are required for your job?
- What knowledge and tools do you use in your job?
- Who do you report to? Who reports back to you?
- Which industry or industries does your company work in?
- What is the size of your company?
- What are your responsibilities at your job?
- What does success look like in your job? What does it mean to you?
- What are your biggest challenges?
- Watering Holes
- How do you obtain new information for your job?
- Do you read blogs? If so, which ones? Why?
- Do you participate in certain associations or social networks?
- Personal Background
- Describe your personal demographics. (If they have children, their marital status, their age, etc.)
- Describe your educational background. What level of education did you complete last, schools attended, field of study?
- Describe your career path. How did you get to where you are?
- Shopping Preferences
- What is your preferred method of contact with vendors?
- Do you use the internet to research certain products or vendors?
- Describe a recent purchase. What was the purchase, what was your evaluation process, how did you make a final decision?
Almost Always Ask “Why”
These interviews are to help you better understand your customers’ or potential customers’ goals, behaviors, and what drives them to success. Start with a simple question and spend a good amount of your time digging deeper into that question to learn more about that customer. You will learn much more about that customer by asking “why?” rather than asking superficial questions.
How to Use Audience Personas
Once you’ve completed the research process, you will have a lot of data to be used, but what do you do with it? How can you utilize the information so that it’s easy for everyone in the company to understand?
Your next step is to use your research to identify any patterns from your questions to the given answers. By identifying the patterns, you can develop an in-depth buyer persona for your company to better focus on your target audience with.
While building buyer personas for your business, remember your customers are more than just data points, they are people. Try to make a connection.
Got more questions about buyer personas or how to get started? Here at Cibirix Digital Marketing Agency, we have experience and capabilities in all aspects of branding and marketing, including partnering with clients to create and apply their buyer personas. If you’re ready to get started, feel free to contact us today at (336) 415-3534.
Lauren Tate is a Content Specialist for Cibirix, contributing a significant amount of content creation for our marketing clients. Lauren enjoys writing about lead generation strategies, successful content marketing strategies, how to increase mobile conversion rates, and tips for boosting SEO, among other topics. Her drive for success, coupled with her dedication to help organizations improve and grow their business, has helped to fuel her continued growth with Cibirix. In her spare time, she’s currently working on earning a Bachelor’s degree in early childhood education.