We’re posing an important question to you this week: Do you know who your business’ buyer personas are? How much do you actually know about them? Take a minute and really think about this.
But, before you dive into this post, know that you have 3 options here:
- Read this post and take the DIY approach to creating your first set of buyer personas.
- Skip to the end (even though there’s some killer info in this post you don’t want to miss) and just send us a message that you’d like a little help with creating your ideal buyer.
- Read the whole post, tell us how much you love it in the comments, and send us a message.
Okay, enough chit chat. Let’s do this.
Tell Me, What’s a Buyer Persona?
Buyer personas—sometimes referred to as marketing personas—are fictional representations of the ideal buyers who make up your target market.
HubSpot Academy elaborates on my simple definition by explaining that, “Personas are fictional, generalized characters that encompass the various needs, goals, and observed behavior patterns among your real and potential customers. They help you understand your customers better.”
Understanding your buyer persona(s) is critical to driving pretty much everything in your business from content creation and product development to sales and follow-up practices. At least, it’s critical if you actually want to attract and retain customers. Just saying.
“Okay, they’re important. I get it. Are you gonna tell me how to make one or what?” We are! But we need to discuss something else first. Just hold your horses.
The good news is that creating a buyer persona is pretty easy. The better news is we’re going to give you the basics on how to create your buyer persona(s). But you have to hold your horses because we need to make sure everyone understand why they’re so important.
Okay, Fine. Why Are Buyer Persona’s Important?
Thanks for asking! I’d love to drop a knowledge bomb on you today. Here we go:
Buyer personas are important because they help you understand your real (and prospective) customers better.
Understanding what makes your target audience click, and the things they’re looking for makes it so much easier on you to create the right kind of content, messaging, product, and services to meet the needs and concerns of the people you’re after.
In other words, you may know that your target buyers are campers, but do you know what their specific needs and interests are? Are they RV campers or tent campers? Do they prefer warmer climates or colder ones? Do they just need something that can withstand the elements of their own backyard or a 7-day trip in the Pahsimeroi Valley?
The strongest buyer personas are assembled via market research and the insights you gather from talking to your real-life customer base. Depending on the business you’re running you could have as few as 2 personas or as many as 20.
Pro tip: If you’re new to creating buyer personas, start small.
Wait, What About Negative Personas?
Negative personas are a thing. Think about your ideal buyer for a second; the people you want as customers. Now think of a persona that reflects the type of buyer you don’t want as a customer. Boom. That’s a negative persona.
How To Create A Buyer Persona
It’s time for the fun part! First things first:
Buyer personas can be created through things like:
- Market research
- Interviewing current customers
- Interviewing potential customers
Easy stuff, right? Right. Now, because we’re here to help, we’re going to dish out some of our favorite tips for gathering the information you need to create a buyer persona:
- When you create forms to use on your website, use form fields that capture useful information for building your buyer persona(s). For example, if all of your personas vary based on the number of employees a company has, ask each lead for information about how many employees they have.
- Talk to your sales team. Nobody knows your customer base better than your sales team. The feedback they can provide about the leads they’re interacting with and the different types of customers you’re already serving is invaluable. Don’t let it go to waste.
- Get on the phone, send out a survey, or start inviting people out to lunch for a little interview. Let your customers tell you what they like most about the products or services you offer and how it’s solved a specific problem for them.
“Hold up, how do I find people to interview?” Try and challenge me next time, would ya?
You have so many options for gathering info for your buyer personas right under your nose that it’s ridiculous. You can contact people in your current customer base, reach out to current prospects, and use your current network to ask for referrals for other people to talk to. Don’t make it hard on yourself and start by dropping your line into those pools.
How Many People Should I Interview to Create a Buyer Persona?
There’s no right or wrong number here but a lot of people around the blogosphere and in the marketing community typically suggest 3-5 interviews for each persona you’re creating. You just have to go with your gut.
After you’ve conducted a few interviews you’ll start anticipating and predicting what the person you’re interviewing is going to say. When you’ve reached this point it’s usually safe to stop.
If you’re not sure what questions you should be asking your interviewees or you’re still a little fuzzy on how to get started building your personas, we recommend reading Buffer’s recently updated blog post: The Complete, Actionable Guide to Marketing Personas.
The guide is pretty comprehensive and will provide you with a lot of actionable tips and templates for building your marketing personas/buyer personas, in addition to providing question examples for interviewing people while doing research.
Talk to Z Coast Media
Told ya we were going to drop some heavy marketing knowledge on you this week. This was a lot of information to digest but if you made it all the way down here without freaking out congrats!
Diving into buyer persona creation for the first time can be an overwhelming experience. If you’d feel more comfortable getting a little help than taking the DIY approach, or you just want to talk about this topic with us, shoot us a message.