Despite the continued rise in content marketing, it’s surprising to discover how many marketers don’t use buyer personas to guide their activities. This is a missed opportunity.
Understanding your prospective customers’ wants, needs and goals are critical to creating an effective content marketing strategy. This knowledge should form the strong foundation on which all other activities and materials are built. Developing a buyer persona is the best way to understand your target audience at a deep level and get them to complete a purchase/transaction with your company or business.
What are Buyer Personas?
Think of a persona as a fictional character that represents your target customer and gives you a detailed look at who they are, what they want, and what drives them.
For many businesses, of course, a single buyer persona doesn’t work. Different segments often require different personas—though you don’t want to get carried away, either. For most organizations, creating two or three detailed buyer personas is sufficient to help guide the marketing process.
What are the Key Elements in a Buyer Persona?
So how do you go about creating an effective buyer persona? While there are a lot of potential areas to consider, here are five key elements of a strong buyer persona:
Who are you talking to?
The best way to tailor a marketing message is to know who you’re talking to. Ask yourself, “Who is my buyer?” For buyer demographics, you need to consider two core areas: personal demographics, such as a job title or role and age range, industries of interest, hobbies of interest, and geographic location.
Knowing who you are talking to can help you shape messaging and promotional efforts to reach them.
What do they value?
Psychographics looks at what a person values or holds of importance, which might influence their buying decisions. Spending habits, patterns, lifestyle choices, aspirations or interests in your area of business, are all part of psychographic details.
Knowing what your ideal buyer values, is important in making sure you can deliver in a way that speaks to their values.
What does the buyer want to get or achieve?
The buyer is often looking for a solution to their challenges, which gives them the motivation to pull through on a purchase. Evaluating how your product or service addresses the need, can help present your company or brand in a way that says, “Hey, we can get you exactly what you need”, in a way that removes obstacles.
Knowing what your buyer wants, helps you to highlight what your offer is to meet their needs and achieve the outcome they are looking for.
What forces affect your buyer in making their decision?
Quite literally, an influence on a buyer can be a paid influencer on a social media platform, or it can be as simple as a colleague, family member or boss that might influence their decision. Humans tend to seek validation when making purchases to know they’re making the “right decision”.
Knowing who these influences are, gives you insights into where your buyer is getting information from and what they are thinking about.
What might hold them back from the purchase?
Sometimes, this stems from an influence. Other times, it can be because of a competing company they’ve heard of that offers something incredibly similar to yours. It could even be because your offering isn’t as reputable as more established brands.
Knowing these objections and their root causes gives you the information you need to address concerns in your marketing messaging.
Using Buying Personas in Your Marketing Process
The process of creating personas is valuable. To create a detailed and believable persona means looking deeper for answers, seeking patterns in past customer behaviour, and viewing your products or services with a more critical eye.
However, the long-term value comes from using the personas. Buyer personas create a structure for your marketing strategy and influence your messaging. Personas also operate as a “true North” document for your team. By revisiting the written persona while creating communications materials, team members can ensure that they stay aligned with the strategy and hone their messages for the right audience.
The result is better marketing materials that are aligned with your target customer’s true goals.