In my last post, I talked about why creating and marketing to buyer personas is critical for your business. In today’s post, I am going to walk you through the process of creating buyer personas. Developing buyer personas involves a range of activities that are helpful in identifying groups of customers with common characteristics that you can apply to a common identity aka… persona.
There are six steps in the process. Let’s get started.
Customer Attribute Identification
Any business owner knows that there are two types of customers, those who you want to do business with and those you want to avoid at all costs. You’ve worked with both of them and you can probably list the key attributes of both What you need to do is think of your ideal customer and write down as many attributes as you can. Think about what they care about and what their goals and behaviors are. You should also do this for your those customers you don’t want to do business with and any in between that you can think of.
After you have written down all the customer attributes you can, the next thing you need to do is collect some data on them. The first thing you need to do is identify demographic information. After you have that, you should collect the following:
- Job Title
- Time In Current Role
- What Industry They Work In
- Job Responsibilities
- Job Satisfactions
- Job Dissatisfactions
- Concerns, Needs, Interests Relevant To Your Solutions
- Role In Buying Process & Where They Fit In The Buying Cycle
- Search & Social Preferences
- Buying & Product Preferences
- How They Prefer To Consume Information
After you’ve collected enough data, you will clearly be able to see patterns, trends, and common characteristics of potential customers. At this point you will be able to start segmenting your data. Look at your customers who convert from search, do they hold different job titles and have a different role in the buying process than those who buy from social channels? Are the motivations for purchase different across different job titles, roles, responsibilities, and interests? For example, a marketing manager might engage in SEO to help build brand awareness or protect their online reputation, versus a sales manager who needs more leads for his/her sales team. Properly segmenting your data will help you with your next step.
The next step in the process is actually building the buyer persona. Depending on the company and how many products or services you offer, you will most likely have around 3-5 personas… maybe a few more. You should create a profile for each persona that includes the key data points that help you truly understand who your target audience is. It is recommended that you name your persona and reference the personas name throughout your marketing plan. This will help you create and keep consistency in how you implement and measure the success of your marketing efforts to that particular persona.
Keyword & Topic Identification
Once you have created each of your buyer personas and understand EXACTLY who they are, you can start to develop target keyword groups, content topics, and messaging for each of them. Through the entire process, you will come to learn that certain personas are drawn in to different topics, types, and forms of content. Persona guided content, optimization, and social engagement helps create a better experience, shorten the buying cycle, increases satisfaction and increases your chances that your content is spread even further via social media and increases your chances for harvesting referrals in the future.
The last piece of the puzzle is to pull it all together and align it with the customer buying cycle. It doesn’t matter if your customer’s buying cycle is four hours or seven months, you can and should address each of their pain points and motivations to purchase in a logical order that is aligned with their unique buying cycle. You should then use optimization and promotional strategies to get the content into your personas hands based on when they need it most during the different phases of their cycle.
There you have it! The six steps you must go through to create buyer personas. You can expect two more posts on the topic in the next few weeks. In one, I will be discussing how to collect your data to assist you with step two, and in the other, I will be discussing how to create, optimize, and promote the content created for your personas.
If you have any questions, please feel free to continue the discussion in the comments section below.