Creating buyer personas
Buyer personas: what are they?
Essentially, buyer personas are characters. They're fictional people and profiles that you consider to be your customers. Depending on your business, personas can be individual characters or groups of people, with different wants, needs and motivations.
How do you develop personas?
Buyer personas are developed using research, which you can gather from external sources and industry data or your own research and existing customer base.
Why do you need personas?
Buyer personas are a great way of understanding your audience and their buying habits, which is all data that's crucial when it comes to segmentation and creating relevant communications. So what else can buyer personas do to help you develop a more engaging marketing and communications strategy?
Get to know who you're talking to
As we've mentioned, buyer personas are brilliant when it comes to breaking down your audience. Most businesses have multiple audiences they need to reach and yet often rely on generic marketing messages for engagement. But, as we all know, in this hectic digital world where consumers are inundated with content, there isn't a one-size-fits-all approach. Buyer personas can help you identify individual needs and develop content that will resonate.
Build a content marketing strategy
Personas can help you to create an omni-channel marketing strategy, with key messages that resonate with different people on different platforms. By building in details to your personas, like daily routine or preferred devices, it can help you formulate a plan of how to best reach that particular persona. For example, one of your personas may be more active on Facebook compared to another who might only use Instagram. How you talk to these people and the content you create will be tailored to their wants and needs as well as the channel. And if you're creating messaging that's relevant to your audience then you're almost definitely going to improve engagement levels with the service/product you offer.
There's nothing worse than sending out information to your audience that's completely irrelevant to them and their lifestyle. If you do this repeatedly then you might even notice a dip in brand sentiment and loyalty. But on the other hand, if you personalise and target your content and deliver messaging that is completely relevant then you're likely to build brand advocacy and impoorve buyer perception and sentiment.
So, how do you create buyer personas?
- Consider the data you're going to call upon. Do you have existing customer data that you can use to shape your personas? Is there industry research which can help? Or do you need to launch a research strategy to find this information?
- Once you have data in place you can begin to build out your buyer persona. Start by filling out top level information, like location, job title and age.
- Now start to add more in-depth information, taking each part of the persona one stage at a time. For example, if you've identified they live in London, where? What kind of home do they have? Do they own or rent? What's the neighbourhood like? If you've identified they use their mobile device to engage with your brand, how do they use it? Do they engage most in the morning or the evening? What channels do they use? Start to consider every little detail and get as much information as you can into the profile.
- Consider their wants, needs and motivations. Now map out how your product/service fits into this. How can you help them? What problems can you solve?
- Identify buying habits - where do they shop? How do they shop?
Once you've started the process of building buyer personas it's also worth considering that they're likely to change. Consumer behaviour is constantly changing so make sure you revisit your personas regularly and cross reference with your marketing strategy to ensure you're creating content that is relevant and engaging.