Creating a buyer persona is the first step to any marketing or research campaign. One must be very sure about the target audience for a product to guide the development of strategies.
Table of Contents
- How to create great user personas
- Attitudinal segmentation
- Behavioral segmentation
- Everything you need to do before building a user persona
- Collective knowledge and social segmentation
- Understanding the problem
- Decide involvement
- Marketing automation and CRM
- Building a User Persona
- Step 1: Acquiring basic information
- Step 2: Goals and challenges
- Step 3: Miscellaneous questions
- Step 4: Follow-up questions
- Step 5: Messaging
- Step 6: Data analysis for trends
- Some templates of building user personas
- Mapping buyer persona to content
- Key Takeaways
Like they say in the marketing world, “Know your audience.”
What is a user persona? According to Hubspot, “A buyer or user persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer, based on market research and real data about your existing customers.”
In content marketing, a buyer persona is created considering factors like demographics, behavioral patterns, goals, motivation, and involvement with the issue/product at hand. These personas are what constitute the final target audience of your content marketing strategy. A B2B buyer persona will ideally represent your final client or, better still, the final decision-maker.
Creating a buyer persona is the first step to any marketing or research campaign. According to the MarketingInsiderGroup, 93% of companies that divide their database according to buyer personas exceed their lead and revenue goals. One must be very sure about the target audience for a product to guide the development of strategies.
Having an explicit characterization of a buyer helps you generate leads and drive customers to the business while optimizing content creation and, finally, sales.
How to Create Great User Personas
Till a few decades ago, buyer personas were segmented mainly based on demographics. It referred to gender, age bracket, and purchasing power expressly. But, in recent times, with the advent of multiple varieties of every product, marketing strategies have channelized a buyer’s persona into more detailed segments.
It still broadly refers to the divisions mentioned above, namely age, sex, and income, but has now been advanced to include influencers and the ultimate buyers and final decision-makers. For example, for a child’s toy, a child may be the influencer, but his or her parent is the top buyer. Demographics also refers to the place, weather, and living conditions of a persona. For example, a dishwasher or an air conditioner cannot possibly be marketed in small villages or hilly regions.
It refers to the mental make-up of the people you want to sell to. For example, if you’re marketing sports gear, you need to understand which sport is preferred and by which section of people. Psychographic segmentation enables creating clusters of buyers with similar characteristics and then grouping them accordingly. These clusters are formed based on social class, interests, and lifestyle.
– Attitudinal segmentation
Attitudinal segmentation keeps the inner motivation of a consumer in mind. What influences them and what their attitude is towards a particular category of product. For example, whether a class of people prefers home-schooling or traditional schooling will decide the target audience for marketing a new school. For this segmentation, one also considers the kind of media customers are exposed to, what they watch or listen to, and what ideas they resonate with.
– Behavioral segmentation
It refers to the behavioral pattern of a persona with a specific product in mind. For example, if the product is a women’s bag, how often does she use it? Where does she use one? How often does she like to change? Does she prefer high-end bags, branded bags or functional bags?
Keeping these factors in mind can help create great user personas who will be more focused.
Everything You Need to do Before Building a User Persona
Before creating a persona, these are the things one must do, for starters.
– Collective knowledge and social listening
This is an excellent time to brainstorm with the team, as collective knowledge is always better. It allows a wide spectrum of thought processes and mindsets to be explored. Try to involve as many minds as possible. Sticking to single-minded ideas can make your campaign tunnel-visioned and disastrous.
Do internal and external surveys, including questions about the solutions the marketing content concerned wishes to offer. As B2B marketers, the database will execute most of the content and persona-building.
– Understanding the problem
Every content marketing effort targets a problem. Every product seeks a USP in the issues and weaknesses of that sector. For example, a cream for sensitive skin will target people affected with acne-prone, imperfect and damaged skin. A sun-screen lotion will target people who have to be outdoors a lot. Sanitary napkins will talk about leakage and discomfort. Identify the problem to touch the soft spot of an audience and create a perfect buyer’s persona accordingly.
– Decide involvement
Pick a team that will be unconditionally involved in the content strategy. Include frontliners of the organization. They are the people involved with the general public and understand the target audience’s likes and dislikes much better. It’s where real data lies. Have one person represent every key area to smoothen out the various clusters of personas effectively.
– Marketing automation and CRM
Scan through marketing automation solutions and CRM. Persona-based segmented lists are available in the marketing automation system. CRM contains a lot of buyer persona fields like title and industry that you can work with.
This is a significant factor in building a buyer’s persona for marketing content. The spending capacity and loose cash of the chosen segment will determine the pricing of a product. Inversely, consider the pricing of a product to determine who the ultimate buyer will be.
Building a User Persona
According to Boardview, persona-based content raised customer engagement by almost six times when targeting cold leads. Although it may seem daunting to narrow your customer base down to certain ideals, here are some steps you can follow to create user personas. The best way to build these personas is by accumulating data on individuals who are already invested in your product/service. You already know that they possess traits that draw them toward your business. The crux of creating a user persona is to identify these traits and capitalize on them.
Step 1: Acquiring basic information
Start with basic demographic information. Since you’re basing your customer personas on individuals who are already engaging with your product, you should already have their email ids in your possession. Email campaigns are the keys to your insight into the lives of your customers. Via these campaigns, you can send them surveys and questionnaires that allow you to understand them better.
Acquiring the following basic information is integral to the foundation of your customer personas:
- Relationship status
Although some of these may seem irrelevant, it’s important to understand that patterns are often not evident. You’re essentially looking for similarities between customers that allow you to deduce the traits that make your product or service more desirable.
Remember that it’s also important to interview individuals who have faced difficulties engaging with your business. This gives you greater insight into how to optimize both the user persona and the product/service. You might find that certain demographics are not suited to use the product/service and therefore exclude them from your customer persona.
Step 2: Goals and challenges
Once you have acquired basic information, it’s time to dive further into their personality. Ask them the following questions to gain an insight into who they are as people and not just as customers.
- What are their personal/professional goals?
- What challenges do they face in trying to achieve those goals?
In posing these questions, it’s important to ruminate over how your brand can help overcome those challenges and ultimately achieve those goals.
Step 3: Miscellaneous questions
In order to acquire a holistic image of your persona, it’s pertinent to also capture their actual personalities and backgrounds. Questions about their roles in their respective companies such as the happenings of a typical workday and the knowledge required for the role helps to understand their professional behavior. You can also ask questions about their preferred forms of communication, educational background, shopping preferences, and other such questions that will augment your understanding of their personal preferences.
Step 4: Follow-up questions
A crucial aspect of extracting the ideal personality for your customer persona is understanding the ‘why’ behind the customer’s preferences.
Apart from the basic demographic-based questions, every question should be followed with a ‘why’. For example, if the answer to their preferred social media platform is Instagram, you could ask them why. They might say that it’s because Instagram is a more visual platform than most others. This tells you a bit more about their personality and also allows you to craft marketing techniques based on their answer.
The main reason for having to find out the reason behind the answers of the customers is that participants tend to refrain from exercising self-awareness during surveys. ‘Why’ questions will nudge them in a more introspective direction, thus giving you a more accurate depiction of who they really are.
Step 5: Messaging
Coordination becomes simpler when each customer persona is given a name or handle of some kind to help identify them and avoid confusion.
Apart from this, it’s also pertinent to convey something similar to an elevator pitch to assign an intention for the persona. You can refer to the templates provided in this article to gain a better understanding of this idea.
Step 6: Data analysis for trends
It’s helpful to acquire data from as many individuals as possible. This allows you to identify patterns in customer responses and ultimately inspect the data for traits that are favorable to your business. For example, you may find that individuals between 20 and 25 have been keen on purchasing a certain product.
At each step of the process, it’s important to offer the customers an incentive to take the surveys and questionnaires. It makes surveys exponentially more interesting to them. Small discounts, coupons, gifts, or free services should do the trick.
It’s also important to remember that there may be several ideal personas based on your various products. At the end of the day, it’s about finding the right audience to market your products to.
Some Templates of Building User Personas
‘Keep it simple’ is the key to a good and effective template. The survey should not be tedious to the demo group. The template sketch depends on the complexity of the service or product on offer. Determining the number of personas is also important. A standard rule of thumb is creating 3 to 5 buyer personas.
A simple standard template includes:
- Basic information
- Decision-maker: yes or no
- Detailed information to be included in buyer personas:
- How we help
- Messaging strategy
Example #1: Decision-maker at a small advertising agency
- Basic info:
- Name: Priyanka Juneja
- Title: Sales director
- Decision-maker: Yes
- Industry: Advertising
- Age: 36
- Salary: Rs. 60,00,000/year
- Education: Masters in Advertising and PR
- Detailed info:
- Goals: Increase content with an increasing client base.
- Challenges: Wasting time vetting freelancers.
- How we help: Connect Priyanka with experienced, efficient writers.
- Messaging strategy: Focus on saving her time by supplementing her with a pool of efficient writers for client projects.
Example #2: Non-decision-maker at an enterprise tech company
- Basic info:
- Name: Arijay Ray
- Title: Marketing manager
- Decision-maker: No
- Industry: IT
- Age: 29
- Salary: Rs. 36,00,000/year
- Education: BS in Marketing
- Detailed info:
- Goals: Delivering prospective leads to the sales team for the growth of the user base and achieving targets.
- Challenges: Improvement of conversion rates on portals with relevant content.
- How we help: Connect Arijay with technical writers.
- Messaging strategy: Providing subject matter experts to write B2B content for Arijay.
Mapping a Buyer Persona to Content
Once you define your buyer personas, it’s time to plan your content around them. This is crucial when setting a content marketing strategy. You can map your personas to various types of content: from blogs to website copy, ad copies, and even your videos. Storytelling can be a great tool in the hands of marketers to create an immediate connection with your buyer persona.
Content mapping uses the marketing funnel and various content types to define a visual flow of content between two user actions. Defining your buyer personas is the first step towards building this map.
There you have it. A comprehensive guide to augmenting content marketing by building customer personas. It will help efficiently grow your customer base in the right direction and ultimately maximize business growth.
- Creating a user persona is very effective in augmenting the marketing strategy of a business.
- Incorporate demographics, psychographics, attitudinal and behavioral segmentation to maximize results.
- You can create more than one customer persona to cater to various customer types, products, and services.
- Use surveys to gain insights into ideal customer behavior.
- Communicate the surveys by addressing email campaigns to past, present, and prospective customers.
- Provide offers and discounts to incentivize participants to take surveys.
- Include basic demographic information, challenges, goals, and miscellaneous information to gain a holistic understanding of customers.
- Enquire about reasons behind participant responses.
- Compile and analyze acquired data to curate customer personas.
- Use messaging to simplify internal communication.
A customer persona is a fictional character that possesses a combination of all the traits of an ideal customer. One that is most likely to engage with the brand or business.
Building a customer persona allows businesses to identify the most responsive traits in customers and cater to their needs, thus magnifying growth.
Customer personas should ideally be based on surveys of past and present customers. It can also be extended to prospective customers and referrals.
Although conventional means of communication such as cold calls may be effective and persuasive, they are less efficient in eliciting information when several participants are required. Email campaigns laced with incentives such as discounts and offers are highly effective and maximize efficiency and documentation.
Basic demographic information such as age, occupation, industry, gender, and income are imperative to understanding customers. Apart from this, it’s also pertinent to understand the goals and challenges of participants and how your business can help them.
Once you have acquired the information, it must be compiled, analyzed, and assessed to determine which traits are most pertinent to the business. These traits must be combined into singular or multiple personalities so that marketing strategies can be crafted accordingly.