How to Make Your Buyer Persona Speak To You

Jun 26, 2019

Article ImageOne of the major changes in marketing over the last 20 years revolves around the audience to whom you are promoting your product. This shift was built on data and a better understanding of customers’ behavior. The old-fashioned grouping by demographic, and specifically generation, has, in many ways, lost its meaning. My daughter and I wear the same clothes, and my son and I watch the same movies, series, and shows. What counts today, more than ever, because we can measure and understand it, are our behavioral patterns, needs, motivations, and fears. With buyer personas, we can create target groups of diverse people with only one trigger in common that makes them act a certain way.

A buyer persona is a fictional profile of an ideal representative of your target audience. This “person” is the decision maker and influencer you are trying to reach. The idea behind building a buyer persona is to turn the multitude of data we have about our existing customers and market in general into something we can understand and relate to—a person, someone like ourselves, with their own goals and dreams.

What Does a Buyer Persona Consist Of?

If you google the term, you will be able to find many buyer persona templates varying in the amount of detail they go into. Whichever you choose, I suggest you treat them as a starting point for your own and using only what you need. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  1. Key data: Who is the person? What is their name? Where do they work? Provide information on the company and their role. Perhaps you are a B2C company focusing on individual decision makers, but even as a B2B, you can still benefit from creating a buyer persona for an ideal prospect. And yes, it helps to have their name as well, even a picture if you can make it, because that can go a long way to deepen your understanding of who you are addressing through your content marketing efforts.
  2. Demographic data: How old are they? What’s their gender, educational background, annual income and location? Are they in a relationship or married? Do they have children? Each one of these answers helps you understand the purchasing power of your customers, so you can adjust your pricing strategy. Their gender, age and educational background might indicate their interests and hobbies. And certainly, people with children, for example, have different purchasing patterns than those who are single.
  3. Goals and challenges: Now, something a bit more difficult to define—the key pain points and personal aspirations of your audience. What issues do they care about most?  What are their personal and professional goals? These can help you align your offering to what they need and want. Then, you can include a section that outlines how you will solve their issues with your products or services and how you will help them reach their objectives.
  4. Values and personal characteristics: A 2018 Edelman Earned Brand study showed that 64% of consumers decide to purchase from or boycott a company based on its standing on a social or political issue. So, values are important. How do your products and services relate to these values? Are there any characteristics that make your product a great fit for people who hold particular values? Focus on what makes this person different.
  5. Online habits: Want to know how to reach you audience? Then you should know something about their online habits. How do they communicate with their friends and family? Where do they get their information? Do they belong to any online communities? What do they do online and, equally important, how and when?
  6. Selling proposition: Now that you have a profile of your ideal customer, next up is summarizing all the reasons your product or service is something they need. Think about it as an elevator pitch that will draw in your audience, address their key concerns, and hit all those key selling points that will help you turn them into a customer.

How Do I Get the Data I Need?

When it comes to demographics, these are the basics of any persona profile and something you probably have already (even if you did not collect it with this outcome in mind). After all, any ad setting will be based on these targeting options. To get demographic data, refer to your social media and website analytics. Audit the people who are visiting your website and engaging with you on social media.

Using the Audience report from Google Analytics, you can get the age and gender of your website visitors, but also information on their language, location, the devices they use, and their broad interests. If you already have some articles or webpages on the key issues your audience may have, you can see how they react to them.

However, analytics will not be able to tell you everything, so to truly get to know your audience, you will have to conduct some market research as well. Start with interviewing your existing customers. You might be surprised why they ultimately decided to purchase your products or services. HubSpot shared a helpful interview guide to ensure you ask the right questions.

As for the future, there are many ways you can gather information on your customers—from website forms to email surveys. Just make sure you are collecting only the information you need and treating it with respect once you have it.

By the end of this exercise, you should have a clear image in mind of the person for whom you are creating content. You should know enough about them to tell jokes they’d laugh at, share articles they’d read, and have conversations they’re happy to join. A mother and son may not always see eye to eye, but they may laugh at the same things and read the same stories, so ultimately the way you market to each could be more similar than you'd imagine.

Related Articles

Taking a content-driven approach differentiates you from your competitors. Here are three examples of companies that took a content-driven approach, which resulted in increased revenue and improved the customer experience.
Consider these four key elements to build a dynamic content marketing program. This includes developing your brand voice, understanding your audience and channels, assigning roles within your team, and taking calculated risks.
Combining machine learning, sentiment analysis, and facial tracking offers one promising way to decipher crucial variations in response to ads across different demographics.